A Lovely Day in the Neighbourhood

I adore travel, but there's no doubt in can be a stressful experience, even for those of us who travel often. The biggest piece of advice I can offer to reduce your travel stress is this: know your neighbourhood. This "knowing" breaks down into two basic steps.

Research
Location is an incredibly important part of your overall trip experience, so choose the right neighbourhood to meet your needs. Consider factors such as travel times to and from attractions, easy access to food and entertainment, safety and walkability. 

When choosing a neighbourhood, I'm looking for a few key things: the presence of independently-owned shops and restaurants, a few good coffee joints, a (preferably used) book store and easy access to public transportation. 

Explore
If a neighbourhood meets the above qualifications, it's going to be the kind of neighbourhood you can walk around and explore at (pretty much) all hours of the day. For me, the key to being able to relax on a trip means the ability to get out on my feet, take in the fresh air, and just wander.

And when you've chosen the right kind of neighbourhood, it starts to feel like your own. You begin to learn the rhythms of your new and wonderful surroundings. It's simultaneously exhilarating and comforting, and to my mind, the whole point of travel: new and exciting experiences balanced by a sense of familiarity and community. 

This post is in collaboration with Dropcam, a company that relieves travel stress by allowing you to monitor your home while away. This is not a sponsored post. 

All photos were taken while wandering the streets during my trip to Chicago last month.