Travel is special. Often, it’s “once in a lifetime” special. And if COVID has taught us nothing else, it’s taught us not to take the freedom to travel for granted. So we want to make the most of it right? Here are my favorite ways to do just that. From planning to actually being there, here’s how to get the most out of your next trip!
Okay, so this sounds terrible, but hear me out! You’re not researching for a paper, you’re researching for real life! Find out what the currency is. Figure out the best way to get there and get around. Google the signature food you need to try when you get there!
Bloggers (like myself!) have made it so easy for you. Just do a Pinterest search and start a travel board for your destination. Google it. Search the name of the place you want to visit as a hashtag on Instagram. Leave comments on blog posts or Instagram posts and ask questions! We’re here to help you travel better!
More here: How to Plan a Trip
Try the Food
You’re not going to experience enough of German culture if you only ever eat at the German McDonald’s. You’re not going to get the nuance of Japanese rice if you don’t try the sushi (and you can get cooked sushi!). Food is such a huge part of any culture, based on availability, geography, or practice (did you know Japanese kitchens traditionally don’t have ovens?).
Eat where the locals eat. Ask for the specialty. Point to a picture of what you want. Ask questions. Go to the grocery if you want to try a few ready-made local dishes in the privacy of your room! You’ll get more out of your trip, and you might learn a few things about the local culture, too.
Keep eating on my World Foods Page!
Read Books Set In or About Your Destination
This is a favorite way to prepare for my trips. Any time I start planning a trip somewhere new, I try to find novels set there or non-fiction books about the place. Or just for a fun twist, sometimes I’ll read a book and be inspired to go to its setting! It’s a great way to learn a little about the culture, what to expect, and the things you need to see.
Get all my travel-inspired reading lists on my Shop Page!
Have an Open Mind
Your trip will not be enhanced if you do the same things you do at home, eat the same food you eat at home, and come home with same perspective you left with. Make friends with people you meet in your travels. Try something new. Remember that your way may not actually be the best way. Travel with an open mind and a willingness to learn something fresh!
More here: How to Embrace Cultural Differences
Let Go of Expectations
This one may sound like a downer, but hear me out. If you expect everything to go perfectly, you’ll be disappointed. Having specific expectations of a place you’ve never been is unfair to you, but also to the location and the people there. If it’s not what you expect, you’ll be disappointed—even if it might actually be better than you expected! Let go of the expectations you have, and be willing to enjoy whatever comes!
Keep reading: A Few Things Travelers Know
Check the Weather
Don’t be unpleasantly surprised! It’s okay if it rains on your trip, but you’ll want to pack a rain jacket and appropriate shoes! An unseasonably chilly trip doesn’t have to be a bad trip. You’ll just need some warm outerwear! Heading Down Under during the northern hemisphere’s winter? Remind yourself of what summer feels like before you get there—check the weather and pack appropriately!
More here: What to Do on Rainy Day Travels
Walk More than You Drive or Ride
This will help you really get to know a place! It’s location-dependent, of course, but if you can get around without a car, do it! Between the rental car shortage, soaring rental car prices on the inventory that’s available, and the potentially less-than-favorable situation of jet lag in an unfamiliar place, walking is definitely a great option!
Aside from the rental car aspect, walking around a new city or town is the best way to stumble upon places you may otherwise overlook. Being in the natural light will help your body’s clock adjust. Walking will also help you get oriented to new surroundings more quickly and have you feeling like a local in no time!
Read next: The Best Places to Visit Without a Car in the USA
Want more? Check out my dedicated Travel Tips Page!
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