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Hotspots, essentials, checklists, must-haves. These are just some of the things wanderlust and jetsetters obsess with when they plan for a trip to their next dream destination. While they share tips on how they ace that travel spreadsheet for their “best trip yet,” I on the other hand could only care less. I find myself being more fascinated with the idea of creating beautiful experiences that I can call my own and feel more passionate towards how I’ll be able to keep them on my Instagram travel diary as a vivid memory.

Sure I find travel advice from globe-trotters helpful, but if you share the same sentiments as mine, just keep on reading. It’s time to cross out travel hacks from their so-called hit list, and break the rules. Here’s a sneak peek of my recent visit to Korea with my girl gang—and here’s to hoping your next trip will be (so) extra and that your Instagram travel diary will be one for the books.

Break Travel Rule #1: The To-Do List

For a change, have no FOMO! For our trip to Korea, we didn’t spend time researching about the “must-visit’ or “cannot-miss.”  Ironically, we actually wanted to skip those. Instead of a rigid to-do list, we all felt (and agreed) we wanted to do something different. To find joy out of the ordinary: enjoy a relaxing brunch where we could talk and people-watch, enjoy the colors of fall, binge eat street food at night, toast with shots of soju under a tent (just like in K-dramas!), take long walks, and experience everything leisurely, at our own pace and time.

I mean, it’s not the amazing race—and we sure didn’t want to rush anything.  Our days were filled with time being close to nature, exploring, arts and culture, window-shopping (sometimes hoarding), and quality time together. Spend your days being present and experience the beauty of each place you visit. Documenting it is just a plus.

 

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ice cream in the cold is a thing 🌸

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brunch idea 🍁

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coffee run ☕️

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Break Travel Rule #2: Pack Light  

I say, pack right! Do not underestimate the power of packing your luggage with fashionably coordinated outfits. Our #ootds weren’t coordinated for nothing! Complement activities with the right look. Some ideas that helped us—a monochromatic ensemble to match the colors of fall, overdone print-on-print for brunch at the hipster locale, color-blocking for shopping day, and the sneakers athleisure trend for our street arts and culture walk.

This way you can also have a little fun by dressing each other up, mixing and matching your outfits together, and getting a totally new look. A beautiful #OOTD and travel experience is immortalized with beautiful photos, and you can’t have them without team effort. Plus, don’t you want to feel pretty for the party?!

Break Travel Rule #3: Travel with Old Time Friends

We did not exactly break this rule BUT, in a way we did. We were the least likely to fly together since we come from different sets of friends. Being in the same barkada doesn’t necessarily mean you’re fit to travel together. In our case, we discovered (coming from a prior local trip together), that we actually make a good team as travelers. We get along easily and it just works—one was good with directions, managing expenses, one with scheduling, and another at giving personal style advice.  Of course one of us had to be great at taking photos! It didn’t take a village, but a squad goals of three, to have a wonderful vacation and to capture it for that Instagram-worthy shot.

 

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안녕, 아름다운 ✨

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always asking: are you up for dessert?🍦💕

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📍myeong-dong

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Break Travel Rule #4: Stick to the plan

Instead, always make room for “anything goes.” Our last day in Korea was reserved exactly for that. We just did what we felt like doing. Slept in, ate at some random place, our outfits didn’t even have to match! As much as we like beautiful things and picturesque photos, we also have to draw the line somewhere. Creating wonderful memories cannot be planned or staged, they’re simply beautiful because they’re candid moments.

 

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pink seoul 💕

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🎈서울 something to keep me happy before i go back to the daily grind. ✨

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dreamland ✨

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Break Travel Rule #5: Follow Expert Travel Tips

If you’re obsessed with all things pretty and beautiful like me, then take inspiration from the travel experts but don’t be compelled to follow them to a tee. There’s a lot of time saving tips and other tricks you can learn, but if you’re like me who likes planning her makeup, trying different hairstyles (I dyed my hair pink in Korea!), loves fashion, like finding visually stunning places on my own and treasure memories through photos, you can always take a different route. Discover your own hotspots, determine your true essentials and dictate your own must-haves. A beautiful travel diary is for your own appreciation, so make sure it’s all yours.

 

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middle of nowhere ☕️

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번역에서 길을 잃었다.

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afternoon✨

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Katie Reyes, a beauty girl marketing luxury skincare and makeup, but fashion-first at heart. More about Katie Reyes on Instagram and her piece of cake for all things pretty, at @katiecakes_r.

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