No doubt, one of the great joys of travelling is researching your next destination. Getting familiar with the famous sights and making lists of everything you want to see and do extends your travel experience well beyond the trip itself. While getting prepared is always a great idea, it’s easy to become too focused on the must-do’s and four-star attractions that other people have recommended. Instead of spending your trip checking landmarks off your list, how about getting lost in your destination instead? Wander, reflect, and explore deep into the heart of the city, town, countryside, or island you visit rather than simply bouncing off the surface.
Here are six ways to make the most of your next trip, and have the time of your life.
1. Make it about quality, not quantity
There’s no prize for the most sights visited within a two-week holiday. So let’s slow down a minute and instead of rating your travel experience on how many things you can see, think about how you could grow and learn from your time away from home. Spend an entire afternoon in a market that captivates, take in a mountain-top view for the day, or wile away the morning talking to locals in a café.
2. Get out of your comfort zone
Do you have a travel pattern? Do you tend to explore cities or gravitate to the beach? Next time, try something completely different. While you’re giving up the peace of mind that comes with knowing exactly what you’re getting into, you’ll gain so much more in experiencing something completely new — in an unknown environment, among people who likely eat, live, and work in ways totally different from your own. Go ahead, have your mind blown.
3. Start talking
To fellow travellers, locals, guides, innkeepers, you name it. You’ll discover more about a place’s culture and perspective by having real conversations than you can in any guidebook. And chances are, you’ll get amazing tips about what to see, do, and eat from people truly in-the-know. You’ll get immersed into the place you’re visiting, rather than just seeing it from the outside.
4. Use all five senses
Breathe in and smell the spices, flowers, ocean, animals. Taste the local flavours that have never made their way to your lips before. Touch the walls, stones, sand, and trees. Hear the unfamiliar sounds of a place far from home. And see how it all unfolds before your eyes. Taking in a place with your whole being can heighten your experience and help you really feel its unique vibe.
5. Put down your devices
Sure, your phone can guide you through a maze of streets, or be a quick reference for a place to stay or eat; and a tablet can entertain you in your room after a long day. But travelling through a new place with your eyes on your device instead of what’s in front of you can derail your travel experience. Look up, get lost if you have to, and catch a local street performance instead of an episode of Game of Thrones.
6. Seek the road less travelled
See a crowd of tourists? Head in the other direction as fast as you can. Not only can big tours interfere with your enjoyment of a space, chances are it’s commercialized or otherwise adapted for a mainstream audience. Tunnel into the lesser-known areas, get curious about what’s around the corner, and discover the hidden gems that the crowds are missing.
G Adventures runs a number of departures encompassing a wide range of departure dates and activities to cater to different tastes. We’re thrilled at the prospect of showing you this big blue planet of ours — check out our small group trips here.