1. Keep a diary. Even the smallest things can seem significant when you’re reflecting on your trip. Writing in a journal keeps you from forgetting precious moments that you’d likely otherwise forget. I like to write a small recap before going to bed and I can’t tell you how special it feels to read years on.
2. Engage with locals. The best way get to become accustomed to a place and it’s history is through the people that live there. Listen to those who want to share stories with you and ask as many questions as you can. Make an effort to talk to people around you. Having friends around the world is invaluable and it’s always nice to hear perspectives of a place from the people that live there.
3. Take public transport. Live like a local and experience their city as they do. Catching public transport is the best way to take a peek in everyday life and even spark up some conversation with
4. Eat where the locals do. One thing I always advise people to do when they’re traveling is move away from the tourist hot-spots when it comes to food. For example, if you’re in Paris, try not to eat near the Eiffel Tower or city centre as it’s not only the most expensive, but the restaurants are the least authentic. Parisians don’t eat there because it’s essentially for tourists. Ask a local to share their favourite spots (it’s usually where you find the most delicious food anyway).
5. Take the path less traveled. Visiting all the main attractions and following a guide is all well and good, but the best part about traveling is the stories and unexpected adventures. You don’t want to come home with the same story as everyone else. Do something that isn’t written in a guide book. Get lost. Explore. Step outsize your comfort zone.
6. Forget souvenirs. Most people would agree souvenirs are a total waste of money and space (unless you’re my grandmother who just can’t seem to get enough of refrigerator magnets). Traveling is the perfect opportunity to find items with sentiment and uniqueness. There’s nothing special about an Eiffel Tower key chain, and you’re certainly not the only one who will come home with one. Head to the markets and local stores to find something you’ll really treasure.
7. Lean the language. It’s imperative when you’re going to a new place to make an effort to learn essential phrases. It’s being respectful and even if you don’t say it right, the gesture is enough to be appreciated by locals.
8. Go to McDonalds. This is a weird thing I like to do every time I’m in a new place (permitted there is a McDonalds). I don’t usually order anything, I just love to see how the menu has been personalized for the country. For example, in the Philipines they McRice sticky rice buns, in India there’s McCurry, in Greece there’s McPita, and in Israel there’s McKebab!
9. Get up early. When you’re in a new and beautiful place, make the most of it! Spend less time at your hotel and more time exploring. If you’re planning on sight seeing, it’s a great idea to get there early to beat the crowds, find the best light (you’ll have the best photo opportunities) and you wont have to worry about lines.
10. Get lost. If time allows it, put away your GPS, your phone and your map and go exploring. I’m a serial planner and can’t live without my calendar but traveling is about breaking the rules a little. It makes for seriously memorable (and hilarious) moments and a few life lessons.
Is there anything you do each time you travel?