We love travelling and we have our own travel styles. Depending on the way we travel and the things we do while travelling, we have our own experiences and memories. People have different expectations and outcomes from their travels which are mostly good and sometimes not so good but they are experiences no matter what.
Here is a list of things that we can all do while travelling, irrespective of our travel styles and can expect to provide us with a more enriching experience.
1. Interact with the locals
The world has over 6000 languages and learning even one new language is an extremely lengthy process. When we travel and especially when we do it ourselves i.e. without a guide, the need to ask people for information is inevitable. With more and more people speaking English, it is much easier to get along with the locals nowadays. Even with language barriers, you’ll be surprised as to how interesting and sometimes amusing an interaction can be.
There might not always be a tourist information centre and you might encounter some grumpy people or sometimes you might have to interact with more than one person but in my experience, things always work out in the end. Most locals seem to like having tourists around and even seem to enjoy a conversation with them. Just approach someone and talk/ask.
2. Start traveling in public transports
I agree that public transports in all places or countries are not the same or very comfortable or the fastest. However, they can provide you with some of the best experiences of your trip. You get to know first hand about how the locals travel everyday and what are their experiences. You might also meet some interesting people and end up having a good conversation. It saves you a lot of money too. You’ll be surprised as to how cheap the public transports are in some places as compared to private transfers. So next time, give it a try.
3. Deviate from the itinerary and make spontaneous plans
Itineraries are good as they help you plan your time efficiently. They should be made and followed. However, if you can spare some of the precious time and are up for adventure then forget the itinerary for some time and make plans then and there. Maybe you found new friends, heard about an event taking place, came by an activity you have never done but want to try, found out about this awesome place which you did not know about. Just go for it. Maybe you’ll have one of the most memorable moments of your life.
4. Get out of the city
Cities are unmissable. Without them you wouldn’t have airports to land in after long trips, hotels with great deals, tourist information centres with people speaking your language, etc. Most cities have perfectly planned transport systems, historic old towns and lot of other facilities to enjoy the perfect vacation. So you’re there, seen and experienced all these, what next?
Head out of the city. Look for and find out about whats beyond that. Beaches, mountains, forests and lot many beautiful wonders are waiting for you. Just ask about them and get going. If you feel adventurous then step out to explore the unexplored and see the unseen. These are the memories which will be with you your entire life.
5. Learn more about the place, people and culture
Mostly when we talk about a place, we know it by the attractions in it. Some places are well known because of their monuments, some for their natural beauty, some for their delicious cuisine. However, the essence of a place is brought about by and almost defined by the people living there. People all around the world are different with various languages, cultures and beliefs and that is what makes a place unique from another.
Take some time to know more about a place and learn about its past and present, the way of life of the people, their culture, their music and you’ll be surprised as to how differently you’ll be able to see the same place that you thought you knew.
6. Explore beyond the tourist spots and see the real place
Most people at hotels and tourist informations points will circle out the city centre for you on the city map and also mark the tourist spots as soon as you approach them. What about the places beyond that circle? Is a place characterised by just the city centre and the tourist spots?
Maybe the places beyond that point won’t be as glamorous, there won’t be shopping centres, there won’t be huge market squares but that is the real place which has not been transformed for tourists. Take some time to explore beyond the usual. You never know what wonderful experiences are waiting for you.
7. Try the local cuisines
Trying a new food is an adventure in itself. All the anticipation and excitement to try out a new cuisine may end up great or maybe not that great. Local food is one of the factors which define a place. Tasting the local food takes you one step closer to knowing the place much more better. So next time, keep the usual burgers and steaks aside for some time and go for the local delicacies. Maybe you’ll start loving a food for life.
8. Take time alone to feel and reflect
Its great to share the travel time with friends and family and create beautiful memories for life. It is also good and necessary to take some time out for yourself. Gaze towards the setting or rising sun or the snow capped peaks and reflect upon your thoughts and feelings. Live for and with yourself those few moments. Wonder if you found the answers to those questions you often asked yourself.
9. Behave appropriately and be respectful
You might say “Oh..of course I know that” but you’ll be surprised to know as to how many people act and behave in the most inappropriate manner when travelling. Most people we’ve seen when travelling behave properly but many don’t.
Always keep in mind when travelling to a different country or place that you are the outsider there and it is you who needs to find out about the place and the culture and behave accordingly. Don’t expect people there to act in the way that you do. If you’ve unknowingly offended people, own up to it and apologise. Always remember that if you respect people and their culture they will do the same to you.
People are not obliged to be good to you, it is you who have to make the effort.
10. Above all, experience and enjoy
Bucket lists and itineraries are great. However, don’t let yourself be handcuffed to them. Don’t miss out on the experience in an attempt to “complete visiting this many sites in this many days or hours”. Look up from the map or tourist guide book and look out of the camera viewfinder. See whatever is in front of you and capture them in yourself. Remember that it is only the memories that you’ll take away with you. So above all, experience and enjoy the travel.