How to Get the Most out of Your Travels

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?

  • It makes me feel SO happy that I’ve already done so many of these things before hahah, made me have a ‘thats riiiight’ moment haha! I loveee eating where locals eat and 100% keep a diary!!!! I always tell my friends to and they think it’s silly, but it’s actually so great to help jog your memory :)

    Katina | http://www.katinalindaa.com

    • Hahaha I love it! Totally agree, there are so many little moments I’d forget if I didn’t write them somewhere :)

  • I always keep a diary! Love to read my memories when I am back home. And I always get up early so that I have a long day!

    • It’s such a sweet thing. Glad you agree! :)

  • These are such great ideas! I love keeping a travel journal, I can’t bring myself to throw away any ticket stubs etc so it’s a really great place to keep it all organised to look back on in the future :)

    Sophie | Dreams and Colour Schemes

    • Yes! I add them all in there too, it’s so nice to look back at it all!

  • Sia Foch

    Some advice was really unexpectable, but I love this post. I’m gonna use some of the tips.

    -xx,Sia

    http://www.siafoch.blogspot.com

    • Was it the McDonalds part? haha thank you Sia!

  • Each time I arrive at a new place (especially when jet lagged) I immediately go out for a run to explore the local area. I’ve stumbled upon wonderful local restaurants, musicians playing in the streets and some great bars this way.
    Lisa x
    lisavillaume.com

    • That’s such a great idea! x

    • Absolutely love that idea!!

  • I absolutely agree with everything especially #8 haha. I went to Mcdonalds in France, Italy, Australia, and England. Although these countries have very similar menu items as the American McD’s, it was still interesting to see the slight variations. I want to go to McD’s when I visit Asian countries, their menus seem more interesting.
    Blue Jazzmin

    • The Asian McDonalds are so intriguing. When I was in Indonesia they gave me rice instead of chips!

  • In the past I have found Time Out guidebooks brilliant for places to eat. I remember a solo trip to Florence where I ate at a restaurant with 5 other people there, most of which were Italian businessmen. Found out that the waiter was Venezuelan and we both spoke Spanish so had a really nice chat. The food was incredible and felt like home food. Had a similar experience in Berlin where we went to a great place to dance. My friend Sarah and I were the only tourists and we met the funniest people there.
    The diary is a lovely idea – it is quite a useful thing to do as a solo traveller as you stop for lunch or a coffee as it makes you feel less awkward about being on your own and reading it years later brings back all those memories of little things that you have forgotten about!
    Lovely post!

    Inma x
    sunshineandglow.blogspot.com

    • Definitely having a look into Time Out guidebooks! That sounds like the loveliest experience. Moments like that make me realize why I love travel!

  • I am India and think the McTikki is the best burger ever. I often go back home (from US) and head to Mc Donalds.

    ∞ © tanvii.com ∞

    • Oh I have definitely got to try that haha. I’m slightly obsessed with Indian food!

  • I feel like the only time it’s okay to eat McDonalds is when i’m in another country! But i would only get what i wouldnt be able to get in my home country! I just want to try the glocalized mcdonald product of the country! I dont know if you should forget souvenirs though. My family loves getting photo frame of the city and place a family photo. I really love the idea! Or magnets, they are always a great conversation starter. But i love the post though!! :)

    Kim
    http://www.vanmenxel.com

  • I always keep a travel journal for when I go places, it’s so lovely to look back on and read all of my memories!

    http://www.littlemisscamellia.blogspot.com/

  • I’ve always thought to keep a travel journal but I haven’t gotten down to it. I will start when I go to Paris in May if not sooner! I know I will travel for life.

    http://www.dressupchowdown.com

  • Sometimes keeping a journal while travelling is really complicated because of the many things you have to do while you are abroad. BUT if you manage to write your diary, it totally worth it (especially when you look back at all the things you have accomplished in your life)

    crlncm | http://www.thesquaredo.com

  • Cute post and great tips. All the stuff that I try hard to do when I travel.

    http://www.itsallbee.com

  • I like the keep a diary and eat where the locals do! I always ask my cabbie for eating reccommendations, I’ve yet to go wrong!

    Angelina Is | Bloglovin’

  • Love this! These are some great suggestions to really get to know a place and its energy, instead of being just a tourist. It makes all the difference for enriching your travels!

  • I’m falling in love with your blog Angela! Your posts, your tips, your photos… Great work!!! :)