It pains me when friends and colleagues come back from vacations saying that it was too rushed, they didn’t get to experience the culture, or that they were always exhausted. So, here are 6 ways to make your next trip more enjoyable.
Take Your Time
Always assume that you’ll return to a place another time. Don’t try to cram too many sites or activities into a single visit. You will only end up exhausting yourself.
I recommend that before you travel to your destination you make two lists of sites you want to see and/or activities you want to do: A “need to see/do” list and a “would like to see/do” list. Pick no more than 1-2 items from the “need” list per day of your trip and take your time with them. If you have some extra time after that then pick some things from the “would” list to do, but only if there’s time.
Don’t Follow The Pack
Organized tours are great when it comes to convenience and peace of mind knowing that everything is planned for you, but you’ll find that most organized tours all visit the same sites and the time you can spend there is strictly controlled. That means that when you get to these sites they are incredibly busy and you are rushed because of the schedule.
Whenever possible I recommend making your own schedule. Find out in advance when the sites you want to visit are at their busiest and don’t go during that time. Also, do things that are not necessarily on regular tour itineraries. The best feeling is when you find those hidden gems that most tourists don’t know about.
One organized activity that I do highly recommend and have had many great experiences from are walking tours. They’re usually a couple of hours in length with a break in the middle, are directed by very knowledgeable guides, are a great way to see some sites at a leisurely pace, and many are free of charge (just tip the guide at the end of the tour).
You can do a search for walking tours in the area you’re planning to travel but FREETOUR.com is a great resource for walking tours worldwide.
Get Up Early
One of the best times to explore a city is early in the morning. Get up early and just go out and explore. Not much will be open except for maybe some cafes, but you’ll have the streets to yourself.
Also, if you’re like me and you don’t like lots of people in your photos then the morning is the best time. You can take all the pictures you want without all the throngs of people around.
Take In The Culture
When you travel you’re not just visiting a place, you’re also visiting a culture. One of the joys of exploring the world is experiencing how other people live.
Whenever I travel somewhere I always like to check the local calendars to see what kind of events might be going on in that area and make sure to take in a few while I’m there.
There will always be a lot of events catered to tourists, and those can be nice too, but try to do something that is unique to the area you’re visiting.
Try New Things
Travelling is all about getting out of your comfort zone and trying new things. If not, then why would you leave home in the first place?
Try some of the local cuisines, go on hikes and explore some of the nature of the area, or learn some of the local languages and try to interact with the locals. In other words, don’t just live your life the way you would if you were at home.
You want to make memories when you travel. Stories that you can tell to friends and family. Experiences that will last a lifetime.
Take Memorable Photos
Last but not least of the 6 ways to make your next trip more enjoyable is to take memorable photos.
You often see packs of tourists going to the same spot to take the same picture of the same thing. That doesn’t make your photos unique from anyone else. When taking a picture of a particular site think of both the foreground and the background. For example, say you’re taking a picture of a cathedral or historical building across a city square, ask yourself what could in the foreground of that picture. A statue? A flower or tree? Maybe a local reading a book or having a coffee?
Put thought into the pictures you’re taking and how they will tell a story to those that will see those photos.
For more information, or if you have any questions please feel free to contact me.