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Kathy Young's Travel Tips

Kathy Young,  Odysseys’ solo traveler from Washington state, has taken our European Tapestry and Discovering Portugal small group tours, and shared the following tips she's learned through her travels.

Getting the most out of your destination

  • Don't be afraid to go off the beaten path, to take a wrong turn or pop into someplace that sounds intriguing.
  • Learn some basic phrases in whatever language is spoken.
  • Say YES when offered something new – a food, beverage etc.
  • Tell yourself that today is going to be your best yet and I can almost guarantee that it will be.

Documenting your travels

  • Carry a small journal everywhere and record what you saw/did/ate.
  • Post your photos on Facebook every day and check in as well so your family and friends can "accompany you" and your photos are protected/saved in case anything happens to your phone.

Fitness and Packing

  • If you are not "in shape", start adding steps etc. I am pretty active and as I mentioned, when free time comes, I am GONE, logging close to 20k steps every day. Even the older people were logging about 6,000 steps. Don't risk missing out on something because your feet hurt or you do not have the stamina. This is not the time to break in shoes either!
  • Pack carry-on! And be sure you can lift/carry your luggage on your own. I travel light and use wardrobe capsules ( mix and match).
  • Bring laundry sheets and wash an item or two each night, with the right fabrics, most will dry overnight. I LOVE my travel clothes line. Yes, you can be gone for two weeks with three pair of underwear!
  • I love using contact lens cases for things like moisturizer, foundation etc.
  • Please don't take "throw away clothes". I see this "tip" all the time. People bring clothes they don't care about, or they buy something "better" and so just leave their old clothes or other items when they leave. Try not to create issues for another country's landfill.
  • Under-pack, because you probably will find a top, dress, shoes or a handbag you love.
  • I take a photo of my list of allergies/drug allergies etc. and set up a separate "album" on my phone and also take photos of any prescription med bottles or prescriptions.


  • For souvenirs, I also think small and light. I collect postcards, small travel books on a destination that I found particularly intriguing, or locally made earrings or a ring. The textiles in Portugal were gorgeous, so I bought some lovely linens. Toiletry items are special too. A triple milled soap can be tucked into a suitcase with no worry of breaking.

Make the most of every single second. Each Odysseys trip is something many people can only dream of.


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