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Traveling tips to improve your experience next time you’re abroad

September 4, 2018 10:22 am Published by

Packing your bags, getting in time for the plane, having a schedule to avoid missing any important visit at the destination… We rely on guides to learn about every important place to visit but sometimes that makes us lose sight of the trip itself. Next time you’re planning a getaway take a look at these traveling tips to learn how to prepare to make the most of it. 

These travel tips can heighten your holiday experience 

With the world at our fingertips, it is possible to visit somewhere in the virtual sense—to check out what it has to offer—before even setting foot in the place. With Google Maps, TripAdvisor and a host of online resources, we can research just about any aspect of our destination and scout out the lie of the land. From setting off to returning home, we can map out every detail, every day and every moment of our trip. But the world is full of surprises, with an open invitation to explore—by making specific plans, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to see a place with fresh eyes and a searching, inquisitive mind.
So you’ve booked your accommodation and flights, and you’re excited about the forthcoming trip: a place you’ve always wanted to visit and explore, a city you’ve read about or a landscape whose aesthetic beauty has captured your imagination. Try some of these tips as a way of heightening your experience.

 

Use a guidebook as a guide (not an authoritative review)
Here’s the first one of our traveling tips: by all means buy a guidebook and use it as a reference: for recommendations on accommodation, restaurants, neighbourhoods and things worth seeing.

For sharp insights and off the beaten track locations, this writer recommends The Monocle Travel Guide Series, Lodestars Anthology, Lost in The City Travel Guides and Petite Passport.

A physical travel guide—an actual book—as opposed to an app, has a certain gravitas and feels much more reliable (than that 6” phone screen). And it’s always a pleasure too flick through the pages of a well-designed resource, over a morning coffee, finding ideas for things to do during the day ahead.

 

Throw caution to the wind
TripAdvisor is one place that has a review on just about everything connected to travel. And while reviews can be helpful, they are also subjective. Sometimes it is best to throw caution to the wind and try something for yourself. If that feels a little too daunting, ask a local to suggest a good place to eat, visit, sleep et cetera.

 

Get lost
This is, probably, one of the best traveling tips we can give you: surrender yourself. Be curious. Put your phone (and Google Maps) in your bag—or leave it in your accommodation—and simply explore your location at will.

 

Take in the sights and sounds, the smells and flavours of a place. Get away from the tourist traps and wide boulevards, and investigate the side streets and back alleys. It is here where you typically find the beating heart of a city and the locals’ favourite spots.

 

Slow down
Slow down and take time to linger. For this writer, one of the most enjoyable ways to spend a few hours on holiday is by watching people. Over a coffee, a beer or a glass of wine, people watching is the perfect way to get a feel of a place.

 

Always be inquisitive 
When spending time in a different place, you should always be inquisitive. Try to explore and embrace those things that an area is famous for: perhaps a spiritual pilgrimage, craftsmanship and design, coffee growing or wine production.

 

You will feel much more connected with a place and its people by investing time in its local customs.

Hire a guide or find a local walking tour—one that is organised by a local. It’s a great way to get behind the scenes of a city or location, and to understand its past and present.

 

Ration your photography 
Smartphones offer a quick and convenient way in which to snap images and record videos, so much so that we can lose sight of the bigger picture, viewing it through a tiny screen and depriving ourselves of those real time, panoramic moments. Often the pressures of social media, the supposed need to share pictures on Instagram and Facebook, mean we miss the immediacy of our environment.

«Rationing your photography is a key traveling tip if you want to enjoy and make the most of your days away. Forget about your screens for a while and enjoy a place ‘live’ and in the moment.»

 

Try to capture things in a new light—one idea is to ditch the smartphone and use a Polaroid camera. You’ll find yourself curating pictures with a keen and discerning eye.

 

Go with the flow
You’re on holiday, so be relaxed and accept the situation as it stands: perhaps you missed that train connection or were unable to secure that restaurant reservation. Maybe it was meant to be and this is an opportunity to try something else or spend longer in one place. It’s all a part of the journey. 

 

Final thoughts
You will need to do some detective work on your location before setting off. For example, in tech-savvy Japan where you might assume the credit card is omnipresent, cash is in fact the preferred monetary medium (and that includes Tokyo). Moreover, as a visitor, you are limited in the number of places where you can withdraw cash. 

 

When using credit cards on holiday, always pay in the local currency (to avoid excessive conversion charges by paying in your native country’s currency).

A smile and knowing how to greet someone or say thank you can go a long way.

One last  of our traveling tips? You might be on holiday, but staying hydrated, sleeping and getting some exercise will help you make the most of your trip.

 

Enjoy 🙂

 

About the author: Gerard McGuickin writes and lives in Belfast about design, sustainability and emotional design amongst other topics. You can follow the author in Twitter (@WalnutGrey) and his website.

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