I have always thought of travel as an essential part of life; no different than eating or sleeping. It shapes who you are and your outlook on life. It makes you more accepting of cultures, and instills excitement that I truly believe can never be matched. Travel is not only what you make of it, it’s also who you share it with. So how does someone maximize their travel experience? Actually it’s pretty easy! Here are just a few things to consider once you book your vacation:
Find the perfect travel partner! If you seek adventure, travel with someone who wants the same thing. If you are afraid to try new things, go with someone who will push you enough so you don’t back down from an experience. If you hate planning? Go with someone who is willing to get lost with you. Don’t travel with someone who will hold you back. It’s not about boarding a plane, flying across the world and just standing still.
Step out of your comfort zone: Had I never embraced this way of travel, I would have never stepped foot on a cruise, hiked up a 10,000 ft mountain, driven an ATV, taken an overnight train, or shared a room with complete strangers! You have to embrace that life is not about being comfortable. It’s about challenging yourself to try new things and to be open to it.
Talk to locals: Don’t shy away from making friends. I still keep in touch with people who I’ve met on my travels. It’s incredible to have a network of people on the other side of the world. You get to swap experiences, talk about your travels and develop genuine friendships. We are on this planet for a reason, don’t be scared to find out what others think their purpose is.
Eat, drink and do it again: If there is one commonality in travel, it’s food! Go to restaurants, stop off at the local market, pick up something from a street vendor, or eat at someone’s house. Food brings us together. Try it all or at the very least try it once. Who knows when you will get the opportunity again!
If you can walk it…walk it:If there’s one thing I’ve picked up during my travels is don’t drive a car if you don’t need to. Walking the streets allows you the most freedom to discover. You can find hidden alleyways, paths and shops that you would miss out on had you been in a vehicle. Walking through a city is much more fulfilling.
Try: You don’t have to speak the language, you don’t have to agree with the culture, you don’t have to like the food. But try. There is something to be said about those who are miserable and dismiss any type of experience. Don’t be that person. If you go to France and don’t speak french, try. People will appreciate it, and to be honest it will help you enjoy your experience even more!
Don’t bring kids:I know what people, especially parents will say when they read this. I’m not saying you can’t travel with kids. I’m saying travel is not as enjoyable with kids. Be honest, do you think a 7-year old wants to tag along to see the Louvre? Do you think a toddler should be out until 2am at the local bar or hip restaurant? Just think about it.
There you have it. Just a few things that can help you out when you travel. It’s very important to not only travel, but to enjoy it. You’re already lucky to be able to take a break from life, don’t waste that time on not enjoying the adventure that is in front of you. Safe travels.