No matter whether you are on vacation or you’re travelling, there are just some travel experiences you must have every time you travel. Usually, I would like to say that I am going travelling but I do also love to go on vacation. But, what is the difference? In general, you go on vacation to relax and have some down time, I usually picture this as laying on a beach somewhere! Where as, travelling is when you immerse yourself in the life of a place you are visiting.
Neither of these types of trips are right or wrong, they’re just different and really depend on you and what you want to get out of a trip. Either way, whether you are travelling or on a vacation there are just some travel experiences you need to have every time you travel.
- 1 Take a free walking tour
- 2 Go to the grocery store
- 3 Eat at a local/traditional eatery
- 4 Have a local experience
- 5 Visit some of the “tourist attractions”
- 6 What is your Top Travel Experience you like to have every time you go travelling? Comment below
- 7 Share this post to help out your fellow travellers
Take a free walking tour
Free walking tours are an amazing way to get the “lay of the land” when you arrive in a city. Most cities are full of ancient history and cultural influences that have made them the places they are today. I don’t know about you, but I would rather learn the history from a local whilst moving around the city than reading a book.
Most cities (especially in Europe) have free walking tours that run two or three times a day, from the main square. They also run in a couple of languages so you don’t need to worry about the language barrier! It is a great way to spend two or three hours when you are in a new place.
Don’t forget, whilst the tours are free, it is polite and usually expected to tip your guide. As these tours are tipped based, you can (usually) guarantee that they are going to be great and how much you tip is up to you.
Go to the grocery store
I don’t love going to the grocery store at home (in fact, I hate it) but I do love visiting the grocery store when I am travelling. The grocery store gives you a very good insight into how locals eat and typical foods for the region.
I do suggest, loading the local language onto google translate before you go to the grocery store because labels can be very tricky! For some reason, we found it hardest to buy cream, in every single country we visited in Europe! Most other things were easy to find but not cream!!
Grocery stores can also be great places to have interactions with locals. I’m not sure if it was the confused looks or the “do you think this one is cream, or is this one the cream” that gave it away that we were not locals. Most locals were more than happy to help us find something or give us recommendations on the foods that we had to try.
Eat at a local/traditional eatery
Apart from going to the grocery store, one of the best ways to get to know the culture of a place, without having to go too far out of your comfort zone is by eating at a local eatery. This might mean having street food for lunch and finding a local restaurant for dinner.
While, Trip Advisor and Google can have some great recommendations, I suggest trying to get a local recommendation. You can ask, your Uber driver, a local person that you meet at the train station, the bar tender or you could ask at your accommodation. When asking for local recommendations, I suggest phrasing your question like this; “Where would YOU go to eat?” If you ask them the question this way they are more likely to tell you where they eat with their friends and family, rather than where they think tourists would like to eat.
Another way to find a local eatery is to move away from the main tourist streets or landmarks. Generally, if you go three or four streets away from the tourist area you will find more local places. These places don’t tend to have English or pictures on their menus. Quite often, they’re a lot cheaper than eating in the main tourist areas.
Top Tip: If you find yourself at a restaurant with a non-English menu (you know you’re on the right track!) but also, make sure you have Google translate on your phone. This will help you order, or be adventurous and pick something random!!
Have a local experience
In case you weren’t sure from the past two experiences you must have every time you travel, I like to experience the local way of life. There are a few ways you can have these experiences! One of the “easiest” ways of doing this is by staying in an Airbnb apartment as they are usually in local neighbourhoods in a typical apartment or house for that area. Every place is unique and offers something new and exciting. For example; you could take a cooking class in Thailand, visit a local tribe in Fiji, participate in Hygge in Denmark or treat yourself to a Finnish Sauna in Lapland. The trick is to try something new!
Some of the best experiences I have had on my travels have been the local experiences and meeting local people. Even, if it’s just for one day, it can be an experience that lasts you a life time……as cliché as that sounds, we are still cooking the meals we made in Thailand and reminiscing on that day at the cooking school years later.
Visit some of the “tourist attractions”
I hear a lot of ‘travellers’ say they’re not going to a certain place because it’s too touristy. Yes, a lot of places are touristy but……we are tourists. Who doesn’t want to see the Taj Mahal, Tower Bridge or the Eiffel Tower’s lights twinkling at night time? There is a major difference between visiting a landmark and get sucked in by tourist traps. A tourist trap is where something is created especially for tourists to make money off them – you definitely want to avoid these, but don’t miss out on the landmarks. A good idea is to visit them during two different times of the day to gain the full experience.
For the sake of saving money, I don’t do this in EVERY city, but I do try in some cities to go to the highest point, whether this is a hill (these are usually free), a cathedral or monument to get a fantastic view of the city.
What is your Top Travel Experience you like to have every time you go travelling? Comment below
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