DEB’S TRAVEL TIPS – INTERESTING LESSONS LEARNED FROM A LIFETIME OF TRAVEL ADVENTURES

Deb Niven, who co-founded the Divine Destination Collection with Allison Frame, has gathered a lot of handy tips from planning high-end executive travel programs for some of the biggest companies in North America, as well as from her own private journeys.

Like the people who have been drawn to the Divine Destination Collection trips to exciting and exotic locales like Bali, Peru, and South Africa, Deb craves luxury as well as a touch of the spiritual in all her adventures. She also likes to be comfortable and prepared for her trips.

PACKING YOUR BAG

“I’m a roller!” laughs Deb. “If you roll your clothes you can make the most of the space in your suitcase.” Deb says she only uses packing cubes when she is moving from place to place, as this keeps her suitcase organized – otherwise packing cubes take up too much space.

Four things Deb always packs:

  1. Essential oils, such as lavender to put in the bath or on her pillow to help her relax.
  2. A first aid kit that includes natural remedies such as arnica to relieve muscle and joint pain.
  3. A folded rain poncho to slip in her bag – “Cuz you just never know!”
  4. A pair of comfortable walking shoes that can take Deb from touring the sights during the day, to going out for dinner at night. “That means leave the sneakers at home.”

MAKING THE BEST OF A LONG FLIGHT

There is nothing worse than sitting near a crying baby on a long flight overseas. While Deb says she sympathizes with the parents, she blocks out the hollering with noise cancelling headphones and loads up her iPad or phone with podcasts she’s been meaning to listen to, or the latest blockbuster movie.

Although a lot of people seem to think it’s okay to get on the plane wearing their baggiest sweatpants and oldest concert t-shirt, Deb says you can stay comfortable by choosing an outfit with no buckles or zippers, and wearing slip on shoes to make going through security a breeze.

If possible, try to get up and move around once in a while, or do some in-seat stretches for circulation. While there is no definitive research on how much you should move around while on a plane – standing up or stretching once an hour is a good idea. “You can also throw a pair of support socks in your carry-on bag to stop your ankles and feet from swelling, and make sure you drink lots of water so you don’t get dehydrated,” she says. 

BEAT THAT JET LAG

Some people are able to fall asleep the minute the plane takes off, but others find it hard to sleep on a plane. That’s why Deb always tries to get a good night’s sleep the night before she leaves on a trip.

“If you arrive at your destination in the early morning, get out into the sunshine and take a brisk walk to acclimatize,” says Deb. “I find it’s important to stay up until a reasonable hour the first evening to get adjusted to the new time zone. If I need to take a nap, I make sure it is for no more than an hour or so.”

BE READY FOR ADVENTURE WHEN YOU LAND!

Make sure you are ready to start exploring as soon as you arrive by doing your research ahead of time so you have a good idea of what’s available to do and see. Download map apps to find your way around, and speak to the hotel concierge to learn about more interesting places to visit.

“It sounds corny, but I’m a big proponent of the ‘Hop on Hop off’ bus tours,” says Deb. “It’s a great way to get the lay of the land and find out if you want to return to certain spots later in your trip.”

ADVICE FOR BEING PRESENT – THAT MEANS NOT THINKING ABOUT LIFE BACK HOME!

Don’t let what’s going on at work or home get in the way of enjoying yourself.

Make sure you set your watch and any devices to the time at your destination. This prevents you from thinking about home or the office. Then turn data roaming off on your phone so you have to make an effort to retrieve emails by connecting to WiFi. It’s also a good idea to set a time and date that you will connect with home to cut down on interruptions to your trip.

“But most important, truly immerse yourself in the destination,” says Deb. “Explore, connect with locals, try food you have never had before, and practice a few phrases of the local language in shops and restaurants. Take advantage of every opportunity and say YES to adventure!

READY FOR YOUR NEXT TRIP?

Check out the Divine Destination Collection’s upcoming trip to Scotland in October. Called Mists, Mystics and the Whisky Trail, you’ll travel from Glasgow to Edinburgh with stops at a variety of magical places in between. Take a look at the full Scottish itinerary and click on the Book Now button to register!

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