Don’t Get Hangry When You Travel

When you are traveling, you are often very busy, on a tight schedule, or lacking access to common conveniences such as restaurants or food stalls. Add a lack of food to the stress of being in a strange country or city can lead to the condition known as “hangry”, which is anger or irritation caused by not having enough to eat. It has probably happened to all of us at one time or another and now we can often see it starting in one another when we start to get short with each other.

Fountain in Park
Eiffel Tower and Autumn Leaves

One of our very first trips abroad was to Paris and we were definitely tourists and not travelers at the time. As is typical for overseas flights, we flew late in the afternoon and overnight to arrive first thing in the morning at the Charles De Gaulle airport. Not wanting to lose any time during our trip, we did what we always do, which is to immediately acclimate to the local time and start our day even though we’d been up most of the night. It happened to be at a time when there was a transportation strike, so we had to walk to all of the sights that we wanted to see that day.

Paris Neighborhood
Park in Paris
Park in Paris

We made the most of the day, had a light lunch, and enjoyed walking along the Seine, seeing the Eiffel Tower, and just walking the streets of Paris. As the afternoon came to end, we decided to head back towards our hotel on the Left Bank to find a restaurant for dinner. This was our first trip to Paris and we didn’t know at the time that most restaurants don’t open until at least 7pm for dinner and most don’t open until even later. To make matters worse, we found ourselves lost as we tried to make our way back to the hotel. The net result was that we started snapping at each other and yes we were getting hangry. Eventually we ate dinner and we were back to holding hands and enjoying one of the most romantic cities in the world.

Notre Dame in Paris
Looking Down the Seine River from the Eiffel Tower

These days we always make sure to carry a power bar or snack with us as there have been many times where we don’t have access to a meal. Whether in the jungle or driving through remote areas, having something with you at all times is always a good idea. That doesn’t mean that we never get hangry anymore, but we certainly try to avoid it as it can ruin part of your day. Have you ever gotten hangry during your travels?

Eiffel Tower in Autumn
View from the Eiffel Tower
The Streets that We Walked in Paris


Don’t Let the Weather Get You Down

When you have spent so much time and money planning a trip, it is always disappointing when the weather doesn’t cooperate and it either rains or snows so that you can’t see how truly beautiful a place is. Everyone wants those travel photos with the clear blue skies and the sun shining brightly on the statues and buildings. Unfortunately, Mother Nature has a mind of her own. We always try to check out the weather trends for a location before we go so that we know when it might be a rainy season and then try to avoid those times. Even so, it is important to make sure that you try to be as flexible as possible and plan some indoor activities such as museums or tours of a palace. During our time in Germany, we had many rainy weekends, so in the end, we just made the most of the time that we had and decided not to complain about something that we couldn’t control. In some ways, photos of a rainy day can be more interesting than those on a sunny day. These are some pictures of our trip to Paris when it rained almost the entire time, but thankfully it wasn’t our first trip to that wonderful city.

Walking in the Rain
Car Lights Reflecting on the Street
Wet Cars and the Arc de Triumph
Eternal Flame Resisting the Rain
Eiffel Tower Shrouded in Rain Clouds
Rainy Intersection
Modern Paris in the Rain
Storm Clouds over the Eiffel Tower
People Walking in the Rain


Every Trip Makes You a Smarter Traveler

When we look back now to our very first overseas trip many years ago and compare it to the way that we travel these days, it was very different. We spent two weeks traveling to Paris, London, Stratford-Upon-Avon, and Manchester, spending anywhere from four nights to as little as one night in each location. It was November, so we knew that we would have a variety of weather conditions, so we packed two full suitcases, one large and one medium, each. We took a variety of shoes to account for outfits, casual, dressy, etc., so that we prepared for walking during the day and going out to a nice dinner at night. There we were, dragging suitcases through airports, train and subway stations, and getting glaring looks from taxi drivers who had to put a suitcase in the passenger seat because they wouldn’t all fit in the trunk/boot. To make things worse, we had to pay overweight luggage charges on the flights and then we bought souvenirs throughout our trip. We ended up buying another duffle bag just to fit the things that we bought. Hard to believe, but true.

Palace at Versailles
Tower Bridge in London

Clearly we were not savvy travelers. We have learned so many things over time. Now we try to get everything into a carry-on bag if we can and we can’t, we put everything into a single suitcase that we share between the two of us. In order to do that, we limit what we take. One or two pairs of shoes at the most, choosing a single color tone so that you don’t need different belts, shoes, make-up, etc. If the weather is going to fluctuate, take clothes that can be layered so that the same clothes can be used multiple ways. We have even found laundry sheets for travel that can be used to wash clothes in a sink and then hung up to dry. We will also take advantage of dry cleaning or laundry services at hotels.

Shakespeare’s Birthplace in Stratford-Upon-Avon
Eiffel Tower in Autumn

We try not to change hotels every few days. Sometimes that means that it costs us a little extra to have a home-base and then making short, overnight trips from that location. Even if we are moving around, limiting the amount of stuff that we carry with us means that we have less to lug around, less to pack and unpack, and less to worry about getting lost in transit. We also roll our clothes so that they take up less space in the suitcase. It makes no sense, but rolling really works, you can pack more in less space. We bought a luggage scale and always weigh our suitcases after packing them to be sure that we never get surprised by an overweight charge by an airline.

Warwick Castle
Westminster Abbey

We have learned a lot of other things, such as how to relate to different cultures, and how to dress appropriately for the country that you are visiting, and how not to look like a tourist when walking streets of a foreign city.  We also ensure that we learn the basics of hello, goodbye, and thank you as well as other key phrases in the language of the country and always try to be a friendly traveler. There are many other lessons that we have learned since that first, comical adventure, but it is fun to reminisce about how naive we were during our first trip to Europe.