Traveling is on almost everyone’s bucket list. If you asked ten people what they wish they did more of, all ten would say they wish they traveled more. The thing is, many travelers get hung up on the touristy stuff and miss out on the things that would really make the trip amazing.
We don’t want that to happen to you, so we put together a list of ways to make sure you get the most juice from any trip you are lucky enough to go on:
- Try out the local restaurants.
There is nothing wrong with those chain restaurants or fast food spots that are all over the country. There’s not even anything wrong with going to a chain restaurant when you’re on vacation. You know what you’re going to get. There’s no risk that you’re going to get something that you don’t like. However, there’s also no chance that you’ll experience something that you can only experience in the place you’re visiting. And food is one of the best ways to get a taste for the local scene (pun intended).
We know you have to take a chance that you might try a place you won’t like. However, if you play your cards right, you can hedge your bets. Start by turning to the technology machine and simply Googling, “Where to eat near me” and let your GPS lead the way. Once you have a list of possibilities, you can read reviews from other people who have tried the restaurants you’re considering and avoid the ones that don’t have a rad reputation. If you want to really feel the winds of adventure, try driving around the hip part of town and let your nose do the talking. The restaurants that smell good usually taste good too. This is a great way to try local cuisine and to get a feel for the area you are visiting. If you ask any avid travelers what they do to experience a new place, almost all of them will recommend trying out some local cuisine.
- Make a bucket list.
As they say if you fail to plan then you plan to fail. Part of experiencing a place requires spontaneity, and we recommend that you don’t go on your trip armed with an iron-clad schedule. However, having a few lists of fun things that you’re interested in will help you make the most of your time, and help ensure that you don’t miss out on anything amazing just because you didn’t know about it.
Before you ever check your bags for a great vacation, just take some time doing some research. Read the local message boards, just a Reddit, about what the people who are familiar with the area recommend. Jot down the stuff that piques your interest (no one but you know what you particularly like doing, don’t feel like you have to take anyone’s word for what the “must see” places are). Prioritize what is most interesting to you, to make sure you fit them in the schedule.
It’s not even a bad idea to map out the location of interesting things. This way, you’ll know that number two and four on your list of interesting things are only a few miles apart and you can knock them out in one outing. It’s also advisable to get familiar with the local transportation. The city rail system is a great way to get the bang for your traveling buck.
- Don’t make a schedule.
While it’s a great idea to have an outline of the stuff you want to experience on your trip, don’t restrict yourself by booking all your time before your feet ever touch the ground. Give yourself the freedom to be spontaneous. Maybe once you arrive at your destination, you’ll find a local who offers beach-side horseback rides, or a ferry that will take you through the city in a way that nothing on wheels can offer you. If you give yourself the room to make plans on the fly, while also holding a list of things you’re interested in doing, you have the greatest chance of getting the most out of your vacation.
Do you have anything to add to our list of ways to experience a new destination? Please share below!