How to Make the Most of Your Trip Abroad
They say travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer. Most things we buy lose their value over time – clothes go out of style, cars need repairs, the latest iPhone eventually becomes worthless… But travel is made of lifelong memories. It’s your honeymoon trip where you were so starry-eyed you didn’t care that your ATV tour ended with digging tires out of the mud. Travel is watching your three-year-old experience the beach for the first time. It’s your anniversary trip where you fell in love all over again.
Travel is an experience you will hold onto for the rest of your life. But how do you turn this experience from good to great? Here are 8 ways to make the most of your trip abroad:
1. Study the local culture
There’s a few things you can do to prepare beyond making reservations and writing a packing list. Study the local culture and history if you are about to travel abroad. Learn a few words of the native language to ease communication barriers. Understanding your destination will go a long way in helping you enjoy it more!
2. Commit to less technology use
Photos are a great way to remember all the little details that are easily forgotten. But don’t spend so much time behind a lens that you miss what’s really happening before your eyes. Take pictures, but just enough. And most importantly, limit your social media posting to after your travels. Don’t spend time on mindless browsing, you can catch up on all the news back home after you return. Not only is this a good idea to help you focus while you travel, but also for your own protection!
3. Pack light
Are you a classic overpacker? Traveling with too much stuff can add stress, distract from your experience… AND leave potential for you to lose important items.Here are just a few ways to lighten your load:
-Choose clothes that mix and match well with others to create multiple outfits from each item.
-Pare down your toiletries to travel-sized portions.
-Scale back on accessories such as jewelry and hats – focus on utility over style!
4. Wake up early
The early bird catches the worm! And there’s just nothing like seeing the sunrise over a brand new skyline. Plan to wake up early and grab breakfast at a local cafe. If you can get out before the rest of the tourists, you may catch a sneak peek at how local life hums along before the hustle and bustle of the day.
5. Meet some locals
It takes a little getting out of your comfort zone, but it is so worth it! Meeting locals gives you a chance at some insider knowledge of nearby events happening and the best places to truly get an authentic experience. Plus, you might even meet some lifelong friends along the way!
➡️ Related: Why You Should Meet Locals While Traveling
6. Get lost
Ok, that came across harsh. But what I mean is, it’s ok to veer off your schedule a bit! If you have plans to hit 5 great landmarks before lunch, but only make it to 1 because you love it so much… that’s ok! Take a hidden cobblestone path that catches your eye. Opt for the local, family-owned restaurant over the one suggested in the guidebook. Use your common sense, of course. Listen to your gut, and make sure to set up certain safety precautions. But be adventurous!
7. Keep a journal
You don’t have to consider yourself a writer to take a few notes on your trip. Just jot down a few memories or things you did each day. You’ll find when you get home, you will quickly start to forget the little details of your trip. A little notebook filled with some bullet points – what you saw, where you ate, what you learned – will help refresh your memory long after you return!
8. Pay attention
One of my absolute favorite travel quotes:
“The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see.”
Have a travel plan, but not an agenda. Does that make sense? Don’t get so caught up in snapping the perfect beach photo that you miss a realization like, “Wow, these are the sunny shores that inspired The Odyssey.” There is so much to see and learn out there – take it in slowly!
➡️ Read next: 26 Beautifully Untranslatable Word from Around the World