Santa Cruz Waves founder Tyler Fox shares his top insights for an exciting, stress-free travel experience
1: Get going: A good travel destination doesn’t have to be some far-flung location half-way around the globe. All that matters is that you’re expanding your horizons by visiting cultures and scenery that are different from your own. Don’t let that long list of excuses get in the way from a life-changing experience.
2: Have a purpose: On my most recent trip to Europe, this spring, my girlfriend Paige and I were drawn by the opportunity to visit our dream boat in La Grande Motte France. I find that my anxiety starts to rear its head when I don’t have any tasty carrot being dangled in front of me. Once you have it, sprinkle in other fun things to do while moving toward that goal.
3: Do your research: Not knowing that the toll booth doesn’t take credit cards or being blindsided by an off-season snow storm can really suck if you’re not prepared. Online research and asking friends for tips can come in handy when you’re far away from home and don’t speak the language.
4: Bring reusable items: With these few small items you can drastically cut down on your on your single-use plastic waste in an industry that is a huge contributor to our ever growing plastic epidemic. To cut down on our waste, we packed a variety of nuts and trail mixes for the plane ride, along with bamboo utensils and insulated water containers. Most places have water refill stations and, if you’re still worried about the water, there are many options for small portable water filtration systems.
5: Reach out to friends: This is a huge plus if you really want to experience the best a place has to offer. For example, friends of ours in France took us out to a new restaurant in Biarritz owned by an ex-professional rugby player that served only the finest local meats and wines. In Germany, we were privileged with a photoshoot in which we got to wear the authentic Bavarian attire with 9,000-foot mountains as the backdrop. People naturally want to show you the best from their home town and it’ll feel good to reciprocate when they come visit you someday.
6: Bring a wetsuit and mask: This one may not pertain to everyone, but for ocean-and-water lovers like myself it’s good to be prepared in case the opportunity to get in the water arises. Places in the Mediterranean like Croatia and Sicily have crystal-clear water and being able to experience the life below the surface—which not everyone gets to see—is a real treat.
7: Rent a scooter: Scooters are just plain fun! You feel like you’ve just entered the moto grand prix when you buckle up the helmet, plus they allow you to get around town quickly and efficiently. No parking? No problem when you have a scooter. Add the insanely good gas mileage and it’s a no brainer.
8: Limit your drive time: We learned the hard way on this one after trying to pack too many countries into too few days. When you’re the only one that knows how to drive a stick and your next stop is six-hours away, the journeys can get tiring. When you finally arrive at your destination the only thing on your mind will be going horizontal on the hotel bed.
9: Bring a good book: I guess you don’t really know if the book will be “good” until you read it, but having some sort of literature to dive into will help pass the time when you’re stuck in a cabin in the middle of the Bavarian Alps. I’ve also felt that I have my best ah-ha moments when I’m completely disconnected from technology and the distractions of social media.
10: Be silly: There’s no better way to break the ice than to be silly or tell a joke. Someway to show that you are just a stupid human like everyone else. Very rarely will a stranger scoff at your silly antics; more often than not it will spark a smile and/or a conversation.