You’re either one of these two people when you take a trio: you’re traveling, or you’re on vacation. Now, one is not necessarily better than the other; travelers are seeking adventure, trying new experiences, and learning more about their area; vacationers are there to relax and enjoy what their destination has to offer. Both types are there to create memories, but they just do it differently. No matter if you’re a traveler or a vacationer, there are five things you should absolutely do while abroad and enjoying your new experiences. It doesn’t matter where you go, they are essential to getting the most from your trip.
1 Stay in Multiple Locations
Think about your hometown for a second. Is everywhere the same? The short answer is no, and the same goes for when you’re traveling. You can’t say that you’ve seen the entire country if you’re only staying in one part of it. Every direction you take will tell a new, exciting story to take home. You’ll see new faces, see unique buildings and architecture, different cultures and ways of life, the list goes on. One of the best examples is Indonesia. The country is made up of separate islands, each waiting to be explored. Some will be perfect for snorkeling and taking in the beauty beneath the waves, while others will have mountains that offer some of the most stunning landscape views on the Earth. Even Western countries like Spain offer something completely different when you travel around. Barcelona is a tourist hotspot, but if you venture South towards Andalucia, you’ll notice a completely different climate, food, and a variation on the language.
It’s so important that you explore as much of the country you visit as possible. Your money will go a lot further, as will your overall experience.
2 Get Friendly with the Locals
There’s literally no better way to understand the country you’re visiting than getting to know the locals. It could be as simple as learning short phrases like “good morning” and “thank you” in their own language to be polite and show you’re interested in their culture. Just showing a little bit of effort on your part goes a long way. Locals are much more likely to open to you about themselves and their country when you respect their way of life. It’s often typical of a Westerner to assume everyone speaks English, expecting people to understand what they’re saying, even when they’re abroad. Don’t be that person. Author James A. Michener sums it perfectly in this quote: “If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay at home.”
3 Use Public Transport
This next travel tip is to avoid hiring a car, even if you have a driver’s license. Public transport is one of the best ways to get around while you’re traveling. Sure, the experience can be a bit daunting if you don’t know the language (trying to understand timetables, etc. can be tricky), but not doing it takes away the true essence of traveling. Imagine how proud of yourself you’ll be when you get to your destination after figuring out where you need to go and trying to explain this to a complete stranger who has no idea what you’re saying. No doubt, you’ll create a memory that will last a lifetime.
Another reason to use public transport is you’ll start understanding the area a bit more. You’ll be encouraged to speak to the locals, and you’ll find out the price of certain essentials. It’s nice to have Google Maps as a guide but don’t use it every chance you get. Spark up a conversation and see what happens next!
4 Go On An Excursion
By excursion, we mean going on a holiday within a holiday. While you plan your trip, think about leaving for a few days and then returning. It could be to check out a bucket list item, to party, or you just want to go off the grid for a while. Go check out an island where you’ll have to rely on your wits, scale up and down a mountain, or surf some of the best waves in the world. Whatever it is, make sure you book something nearby, so you don’t waste your excursion going back and forth.
As noted by Pouted, if you’re traveling for a while in the same spot, this is a great way to inject some extra excitement into the trip. It also ensures you get the absolute most out of your time there before you leave. Again, you may wish to ask the locals for advice. For example, you may need a different currency, or there may be a faster train than using buses. This leads nicely to the final thing you must do while traveling.
5 Bring Books For The Road
Globetrotting is amazing, but boredom can start to sink in if traveling for hours at a time on a bus or train. Looking out the window can only provide entertainment for so long. So, make sure you bring a book or two for the road. It’s up to you what you choose. You could bring something educational that will help you along the way, like how to speak the local language, or you could just read your favorite fiction to keep you entertained.
Why books, though? Well, reading has many benefits. For example, reading helps to improve your memory, meaning you’ll be more able to remember all the little nuances and colloquialisms used in the local culture. It will also help you strengthen your critical thinking, a valuable skill while traveling, especially if you get lost.
Traveling is more than just taking a photo at the key exhibit or going out for a meal; it’s about going somewhere completely different and making memories to share with your closest friends and family. Everyone travels differently but if you do the five things, you’re going to have the best time, no matter what you have planned.