Travel is at the core of what we do and we are fortunate that we get to venture to and explore new parts of the world each year. We make it our mission to help you fulfill your travel dreams but we recognise that for many of you, travel is something you wish you could do more of and that bucket list of must visit places grows each year. So why is this? For the best part, we understand that family and work commitments often get in the way.
In fact, looking at the below worldwide paid average holidays in a year, we know they do.
With less time to travel and less paid holidays it is important to make every trip a life changing experience. Here are some of our favourite things to do on our travels to take them from an amazing trip to that adventure of a lifetime.
1. Be a conscious traveler
We have tips you can follow on steps you can make to be a more conscious eco friendly traveler. You can check that out here. Small changes such as re-using hotel towels, avoiding the use of plastic water bottles and opting to explore the sites on bike or foot over transport can make a huge reduction to your global footprint.
Research where you are staying as well as where you are traveling. Does the hotel run a sustainable program and look after its surrounding environment. We often promote sustainable hotels on our social media feeds. Get in touch for advice on our favorite eco friendly hotels across the world.
Becoming mindful on your adventures can really enhance your overall travel experience. Many destinations you may visit, especially run down economies that rely hugely on the travel industry for economic growth, leave an impact on you that lasts forever. You realize how much more you can be doing to help support local economies. Albeit a short trip, you are living amongst that community, getting a firsthand experience of the way they live, which really makes you care.
2. Research your travel destination before you go!
You don’t want to come away from your trip hearing about those iconic sites you never knew about. Get the most out of your trip by having an awareness of those must see places that you’d regret not visiting.
It’s not always those places you hear about online. Read nonfiction books based on where you are traveling. It’s an amazing experience to visit places you have previously read about.
Learn some of the language to communicate, or at least attempt to, when you are there. It goes a long way with the locals if you speak some of the basics of their language, and can lead to a far more fulfilling experience.
3. Bin the itinerary
As mentioned, it’s always great to have an idea of what you want to see and where to go before visiting a new place. By all means see them, but we suggest avoiding a strict itinerary. There is far greater adventure in exploring for yourself, asking around, other travelers or locals who will offer the best advice.
Some of our best memories from our travels have been when you explore on foot, with no agenda or idea where you are going. You are almost guaranteed to come across hidden gems in the tucked away side streets of Barcelona, or come to a secluded lake you’re sure you alone discovered when hiking through forest in Canada. More often than not, you’ll stumble across that tourist attraction you planned to see anyway.
4. Make solo trips
Most of your greatest experiences in life come from being outside of your comfort zone, which traveling solo often does. This doesn’t appeal to a lot of people, and fair enough, it’s completely understandable and amazing to cherish adventures with friends and loved ones.
Even so, try and venture to a new site or a new place alone. Being on your own forces you to interact with locals, to ask for advice, direction, and to really absorb yourself in the new culture.
5. Write about your experiences each day
Ever come away from an amazing trip trying to piece together what you did each day? We have. It’s scary how fast our memories can fail us.
We suggest buying a journal, preferably, from a local store on your travels, and spending a short amount of time at the end of each day summarizing the day. What new things did you see? Who did you meet? What was your favorite experience? What didn't you like and how did you feel?
Journaling has proved to really help with our mental wellbeing and will dramatically increase your mindfulness whilst on your travels. That aside, it’s lovely to put it down after your trip and read at a later date to reflect on your trip and learn from your experiences.
6. Watch the sunset and the sunrise
This may sound obvious and we advise watching as many sunsets and sunrises as humanly possible. But, there's something magical, about seeing them in a new destination, creating memories that will last a lifetime.
“Never waste any amount of time doing anything important when there is a sunset outside that you should be sitting under!” - C.JoyBell C.
7. Absorb the new culture
It can be far too easy to explore a new place without really learning much about the culture. Try to avoid that. Learning from a new culture makes our travels far more meaningful. Speak to the locals whenever the opportunity arises, ask them about the business, how they learnt their trade and even their favorite place to eat.
Try a new dish each day and expand your culinary palette. For us, there is so much joy in trying out new local dishes when you travel.
People watch. It’s one of life's greatest ways to learn about a new culture and environment. Watch the locals set up when they open the markets, get up early and grab a seat outside a deserted cafe. It’s a great way to help you be in the moment, relax and unwind.
8. Be in the moment
We can be as guilty as anyone for getting snap happy when on your travels, for not giving up until you have those perfect pictures of your trip. It’s important for a lot of us, how can you have had a perfect holiday if there’s not said photo evidence of it. Whilst it's tempting to picture every moment (we do!) try and put down the phone, the camera, and enjoy the moment. Take in the beauty with your eyes of what you are actually seeing.
Be it the cherry blossom of Japan, or the ancient ruins of Rome, stop and look around and appreciate the moment.
9. Be the best version of yourself
Such simple advice, of course you’re the best version of yourself, you’re on holiday. Isn’t everyone at their happiest when they can escape their normal daily routine and explore! But by this we mean make the most of every moment. Let go of your life stresses, if only for a short while.
Have you ever actually gone for a run in the rain, on a beach? It’s life changing! On our travels in Thailand, after hiking steep mountain hillsides in rain season you grow to love and laugh at the moments when the downpour is so strong it feels like you’re in the shower. We were enjoying a well deserved cocktail or two in Chang Mai when we were caught up in the torrential downpour of rain that is so common in rain season. The music continued on as we danced outside, and sure enough, soon others joined. It was a memory that we’ll never forget.
10. Do something, a new experience, you’ve never done before
A lot of the above points will help you experience something completely new, something you’ve never done before and something outside of your comfort zone. You may see and explore many new beautiful sites, try new local dishes and learn a thing or two from the new culture but it’s usually a memory you didn’t expect that stays with you forever. Make it a good one!
*Please note, there are strong side effects to traveling more meaningfully and with purpose. Holiday blues are twice as strong and you will long for your next adventure. Let us help you through by planning your next break with our complimentary Personal Travel Concierge.