Many people plan to get out of Dodge to relax, without ever focusing much on the setting they visit. The focus is on the escape, but when you live in the present, you get more out of your experiences while traveling.
Enjoy the full potential your trip has to offer. From hiring a guide to interacting with local culture, here are six ways to get the most out of your travels.
1. Hire a Guide
Planning gets stressful, but that anxiety doesn’t have to ruin your trip. Go through an agency or tour company to plan your getaway. They will help you select the places to stay and the specifics you want to learn or try, whether traveling solo or with loved ones.
You won’t have to dig for more information and gain subpar or incorrect information. Instead, you show up and get the most out of your trip.
2. Don’t Over-Plan
You burst with excitement at the thought of your getaway. You want to fit everything in, so you spend a ton of time researching and planning all the details for what you’ll do while you’re in your dream destination — after all, who knows when or if you’ll be able to return for a follow-up visit?
At first, you’ll feel proud of mostly sticking to your plan, but exhaustion and reality will catch up with you. Let yourself watch a little TV in your hotel room while you recover. It’s OK. You don’t want to pack your agenda so full that it leaves you unable to live in the moment if something interesting to see or do sparks your interest. Don’t stretch your time, money and energy too thin. You want to be able to ease in and out of your travels to feel well-rested and ready to explore and experience. Leave room for spontaneity, and focus on the present instead of what to do next.
3. Try Something New
Think of your trip as an opportunity to try something new, expand your horizons and step out of your comfort zone. Try a local dish, even if it looks or sounds weird. You may be pleasantly surprised. Go on a guided tour to expose yourself to a new experience with other folks.
When you try something new, you learn more about yourself and are more likely to create a memorable trip for yourself.
4. Create a Travel Journal
Writing about experiences helps you process and remember them in detail. When you revisit your writing, it’s like reliving the experience, but with added perspective and appreciation.
Create a travel journal by purchasing a physical book or starting a blog. Choose a small, portable journal you can use to store postcards and other lightweight memorabilia. Make sure the book lies flat on the table, so you can focus more attention on recording the details while writing. You can press flowers into your journal and stickers along with your writing.
5. Choose Experiences Over Possessions
Souvenirs serve as touchstones of memory to recall your travel experiences, but too many souvenirs quickly clutter your bags and add on extra fees if you have to check more bags. Spend your money on experiences instead of possessions that will collect dust at home. Memories are far more valuable than stuff, and you can pass on these memories through the generations.
Learn a new skill to take home with you, instead — it’s especially rewarding when you learn a skill with your family or friends. Take a cooking or dancing class. Ride horses on the beach, and pick up a seashell as your touchstone. Extend your time to enjoy experiences longer, rather than searching for possessions as you move from location to location.
6. Interact With Local Culture
Don’t live within a tourist bubble. Immerse yourself in the environment and your five senses. Get to know the local culture and interact. Enjoy the food. Speak the language.
Talk to folks and learn more about them and where they live. Don’t be afraid to ask for tips on what to try or do next. Your getaway will be a richer experience.
Looking forward to getting away? Your excitement builds as the date approaches, but don’t stress yourself out with seeing to all the details. Focusing on enjoying experiences and writing about them, instead of collecting more clutter and rushing to your next itinerary item.
Experience your travels with your five senses in the present. You’ll enrichen the details of your travel memories and find your getaway all the more freeing for it.