So much of having a good trip happens before you even leave. Where do you want to go? Do you know any friends or family who have traveled there recently? Learning from the experiences of others can add enjoyment to your own trip.
There’s probably also a Facebook or Instagram group for wherever you’re headed. Search online for tips on where to stay, what season of weather you would enjoy and what hotels and/or restaurants previous travelers recommend. It helps to know what to bring with you and gives you a head start on what you might enjoy in the region.
Then there are the “experts” – those lucky individuals that travel the world for work! Over 370K people follow Samantha Brown on Instagram for travel tips. She’s an Emmy Award-winning international travel host featured in more than 400 episodes of TV shows on the Travel Channel and PBS. Brown has visited more than 250 cities, 60 countries and spent more than 26,000 hours traveling.
Early in her career, she discovered the key to a full, enriching travel experience goes beyond the just visiting the sites. “Traveling is about enjoying people’s everyday lives in another part of the world, which is extraordinary,” Brown told Growing Bolder. “That’s such a big theme of ours: how do we learn from other people? Then through that, we learn about ourselves.”
Create a Ritual
While many travel buffs say it’s all about only trying something new every day, Brown suggests doing at least one thing every day. For her, it’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the same coffee shop each morning. She says this gives her more insight into the local culture and allows her to feel the ebb and flow of a neighborhood. It can also provide you the opportunity to have conversations with those that live there.
“Once you get really comfortable in this space, I feel like that’s when you feel relaxed enough to turn to someone next to you and talk. It gives you that moment to open up to others and learn maybe where you should go to lunch or what you should do next, or just have a pleasant conversation.”
Maybe you’d prefer a glass of wine over happy hour. Or a daily walk in the neighborhood where you are staying. Create a ritual and see what you notice, around you and within you.
Get out there!
With the travel limitations we all experienced during the pandemic, many were conscious of missing all that travel gives us: the freedom to move about the world, to explore and learn new languages, try new foods and experience new cultures, the opportunity to grow spiritually and culturally.
Life is short and our time is limited. Travel marks the opportunity for a reset, for a fresh start. It’s something new, even if we are returning to somewhere we have been before, because chances are the place has changed, and surely so have we.
So, where are you headed in 2024? Whether it’s to a familiar location that you can drive to, or somewhere new that requires a plane flight or a train trip, do your research, and make an extra effort to connect with the people you meet, so you can make the most of your adventure.