If you’re more interested in being a traveller than a tourist, here are 5 useful tips to help you get the most out of your holiday experience:
1. Immerse yourself in popular culture
Before you go, read a book or watch a movie relevant to your destination. Weather it’s a historical piece or novel, exploring the arts and literature of a country will help orientate your experience by giving you insight into their culture and a point of connection when visiting a new place.
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2. Travel light
Avoid being bogged down by extra baggage. Do you really need to bring your whole wardrobe with you? No, it will just frustrate and slow you down. Make sure to pack the necessities: good walking shoes, a swimming costume, a jacket for the evening cool. Commit to packing what you need into a small suitcase. Choosing a large suitcase will only tempt you to fill it up!
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3. Learn a few phrases of the local language
Each language has a different way of interpreting the world so the more languages you engage with, the more points of views you have. Learning a few important phrases of the local language will change the dynamic of your whole trip. A good way to start is by asking people for directions or advice on where to go or which restaurant to visit. It’s a great way to meet locals who generally appreciate the effort, and will often point you towards interesting places that are not written about in your guidebook. Even if you can’t take the conversation any further, you never know what magic could happen…
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4. Use public transport
Though intimidating at first, once you start using a new transport system you’ll experience much more of the destination, not to mention all the money saved! Allow one day of your trip to be spent getting happily lost, or plot your routes and lines beforehand to get to the sights and neighbourhoods you want to visit. It’s also an interesting social study to see how grumpy people are in subways all over the world, so bring some joy to share!
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5. Slow down
Sometimes, it’s better to take your time getting to know one place rather than covering a whole lot of ground in a rush. The pressure to check everything off the list is mostly just stressful, and you end off not being able to take in all the strange and wonderful things around you. This also applies when visiting grand museums and galleries where getting to know a few pieces well will stay with you longer than browsing the entire exhibition.
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