When it comes to jet-setting around the world, international lifestyle and fashion blogger Malin Richardson is practically an expert. Traveling over 120 days out of the year for events like fashion week, girls’ getaways or occasional exotic destinations has prepared Malin to handle just about any situation she encounters while on the road, in a boat or up in the sky. Below, she shares her top tips and secrets for planning and executing your own adventure this summer.
Travel has always been such a big part of my work and life. I am originally from Stockholm, but growing up I lived with my family in France, Belgium and Italy. During each school break and during the summer, my parents would take my older sister and me somewhere in the world. These trips influenced me in a huge way! After I turned 18 and started to travel on my own or with friends, I learned to save up money for airplane tickets. I loved spending my free time online, researching my next destination and the places, restaurants and cafés I would visit while there. Eventually I started my blog, A Fashionista’s Guide, and it grew quickly. Three years later, I started my company. Now, the world is my office!
I travel over 120 days per year, so I’ve learned quite a bit about how to best prepare for an upcoming trip. What I’ve realized is that the more you prepare and research before takeoff, the smoother your experience will be after landing. Here are my five best pieces of advice for planning your own summer travel itinerary!
Don’t underestimate the power of research.
I spend countless hours researching before each trip. And I love doing it because I know it will pay off! You don’t want to end up eating dinner at a tourist trap or wasting your money on bad food. Begin by sharpening some pencils and writing down all the places that are getting consistently great reviews online. Try to find travel guides put together by locals—everyone wants to eat like a local, right? You need to become best friends with Google for this task. You’ll thank yourself later, when you’re sitting on that bench in a beautiful park in Paris and eating the most delicious croissant you’ve ever tasted!
Utilize weather reports, and pack intentionally.
The day before takeoff, I always check various weather reports for my destination—this way, I know I’ll be bringing the right kinds of clothing and shoes. (For New York Fashion Week, this is especially key.) I try to pack a lot of tops, blouses, skirts and pants that I can mix and match. You never want to feel limited in terms of outfit options! I also always add one outfit, one pair of pajamas, contact lenses and a bit of makeup to my carry-on bag, because you just never know when the airline will decide it’s your lucky turn to experience lost luggage! I also keep my most precious jewelry in my carry-on bag so that I know it’s safe and sound during the entire flight.
Investigate on Instagram.
I always consult Instagram when looking up all the places that I’m planning to visit. Sometimes a place can look really nice based on its website and online reviews—but these days, you never really know if someone is censoring or paying for certain reviews! Instagram provides a way to see and read live reviews from actual customers, especially as they socialize at restaurants, cafés and bars.
Make a schedule.
It’s really important to create a schedule after you’ve arrived at your destination. This may sound a bit boring, but it will make you feel so much more relaxed during the rest of your trip! Make a definitive plan for each day so you can make the most out of your vacation. Figure out the places you want to see, how much ice cream you want to eat, which museums you just can’t miss. If the weather reports are calling for clouds, plan to explore museums and enjoy indoor activities. Leave the sunny days for those white sandy beaches that are calling your name! I like to allocate the activities of each day to a rough geographical area. When I’m in New York, for example, I try to focus one day on things I want to eat or see downtown, and another day on activities that I want to do uptown. This approach minimizes time spent in cabs and subways when going from place to place.
Keep addresses organized; rely on Google Maps and chargers.
Before leaving my hotel each day, I always put all the addresses of the places I’m planning to visit that day in my iPhone and on a notepad. (There’s always a chance that you could break or lose your phone during your travels, so a backup notepad with important addresses on it is key!) I also never leave my hotel without my phone charger. I use my iPhone even more while traveling because I track my every move in Google Maps. (I would probably be lost in Antarctica without Google Maps!) Of course, this makes my iPhone very tired very fast, so I always charge it at several destinations throughout the day. This is 2015, after all—you can’t leave your house (or hotel) without a charger!
Words and photography by Malin Richardson of A Fashionista’s Guide