If you love to travel, chances are you spend most of your year counting down the months, weeks, and days until you can hop on a plane and visit another place in the world. When you do eventually get away, you want to make the absolute most of your time. There’s nothing wrong with going to a tourist destination and enjoying all of the luxuries that it has to offer, but maybe you’re bored of the same old holidays or perhaps you want to get more from your time away. Really getting to know the place you’re visiting can help you to do this, here are just a few of the ways you can go about it.
Research before you go away
Instead of just turning up and hoping for the best, why not do a little research ahead of time to discover more about your destination? There are lots of things that you might not ever find out just from seeing the place as it is today. Take Dubai for example, now a gorgeous, glamorous and glittering city this was a fairly desolate desert land not so long ago. There’s a lot of culture and religion if you scratch the surface, knowing these kinds of things ahead of time can help you to appreciate the destination more. Find out about how the place grew and developed, the terrain and scenery, the kind of lifestyle and people that live there. A bit of Googling will tell you what you need to know, and then when you arrive it helps you to put your experiences and what you can see right now all in perspective. Instead of doing the regular tourist thing of reading Yelp reviews of hotels, restaurants and tourist attractions, dig deeper and find out what the place is really about.
Check out the cuisine
The cuisine of a place is highly influenced by its surroundings, due to the kinds of ingredients available. For example, coastal locations will often have incredible local seafood dishes and warm climates will have access to lots of tropical fruits. Places in the world with rich, fertile soils often have incredible meat due to the nutritious plant life and food these animals eat. Instead of taking a look at fancy, high end restaurants which you can essentially find anywhere, why not explore the cuisine? You could try out the incredible food from street vendors. You could go to independent cafes and eateries which serve local dishes. You could check out markets and purchase your own ingredients if you’re staying in accommodation with cooking facilities. Find an authentic recipe online and follow it! If you’re a bit of a foodie, you could always research ahead of time what ingredients are commonly found at your destination and the types of dishes they’re made into. It helps you to learn more about the place, how things developed and it gives you a different way to discover and find out about the place you’re staying in.
Find alternative accommodation
Sure, fancy hotels are great. Wonderful even, but if you’ve been on lots of holidays and trips you’ll have already experienced many great hotels. So for your next getaway, why not consider something different? You could go camping, either in a tent, a chalet, a caravan, RV or glamping pod. If the location you’re travelling to has lots of gorgeous scenery then what better way to view it? You could utilise travel hostels or motels, not only will this save you money but it gives you a completely different experience and shows you a new side to the destination. Another option would be to rent a cabin, villa or apartment from a site like https://rumahdijual.com/bogor. This is a fantastic idea if you’re travelling with a large group, as between you it will work out much cheaper than multiple hotel rooms and gives you somewhere to all socialise together. It’s also useful if you’re travelling as a young family with kids too, as you get that ‘home from home’ experience with space for everything you need to look after them. Choosing an alternative option than a hotel will likely save you money, and give a different feel to the trip in general. It’s something to consider whether you’re new to the destination, or have already visited lots of times before.
Explore the waters
If you’re staying by the coast, why not take a trip out into the surrounding oceans? You could book a boat tour, or hire a yacht, sailboat or even a rowing boat. It will give you incredible views of your destination and is just another way to discover more about it. You could go fishing, whale watching, bird watching or keep an eye out for dolphins, sea lions or penguins depending on where you’re staying! If you’re visiting an in-land or landlocked destination, there are often incredible rivers and canals that you can explore, river cruises are a fantastic way to find out more about these kinds of waterways. Lakes and quarries again are interesting places to visit, again depending on the place there could be boating, swimming and watersports on offer. These places help you to discover more about the terrain and geography of a place, and are generally stunningly beautiful and great locations to take in the views and snap some pictures. Research what kinds of waterways and bodies of water will be at your location, and take the time to go and visit these and spend time viewing them in detail.
Meet the locals
There’s no one that will know your location better than the people that live there. So if you want to find out more about it then make an effort to chat to the locals. Meeting fascinating people can really enrich your trip and make it even more memorable, and it’s a chance to discover more about the place you’re in, beyond the tourism. When you take public transport instead of taxis, take a stroll around secret markets, smaller shops and other places that locals use you’re more likely to come into contact with them instead of just other travellers and tourists. Listen to their stories, ask them questions and get an insight into what life is like for someone that lives in a different part of the world, with different cultures and customs. It can really open your eyes, and that’s what travel is all about. Going home with a new perspective on things is an invaluable experience that you can struggle to find in other ways.
Find alternative things to do
Speaking of places beyond tourist attractions, finding alternative things to do is another way to get to know your destination. While amusement parks, zoos, stadiums and casinos might be fun and exciting, they’re never going to paint a true picture of your destination. Go beyond these kinds of things- you can explore the history and culture by checking out museums, galleries and religious buildings. Go on a tour, many of these will tell you more and speak about the hidden past or interesting features of a place that you might not have known or noticed by yourself. Do your research before jetting out to your location and look for things to do that’s a little more off the beaten path. You could hire a 4×4 and go off roading in the desert, or hire bikes and go cycling in the mountains or forest trails. You could go backpacking, discovering new places on foot and so much more. One thing to be aware of is checking your safety. If you’re heading out to a remote location, you need to ensure that you can get back unharmed and have the right safety equipment. Before wandering out into unknown neighbourhoods, check in advance that it’s safe to do so. In some parts of the world, crime and unfriendliness towards outsiders will be an issue. However there are many places where you can simply go and explore and have a wonderful time without a tourist attraction in sight.
Lots of beautiful places in the world are now tourist hotspots, but they of course won’t have started off that way. Many are rich in heritage, culture and religion that you can find out about if you delve a little deeper. Getting to know your destination in more detail can really make a trip special, and help you feel as though you’ve really explored a place rather than just visited.
Are you tired of the same old getaways, or do you want to feel more like a traveller and less like a tourist? If so, are these things you would do to get to know your destination better?