Ready for your next travel adventure? These travel tips will help you make the most of your next trip abroad!
Travel Tips to Help You Make the Most Out of Your Next Trip Abroad
1. Learn from the Locals
Travel blogs are amazing and truly a lifesaver when it comes to planning trips, but don’t overlook the locals who write about the place they live.
Find a local blog, follow local Instagram accounts, subscribe to Youtube channels, and podcasts. Not only will you get some insiders tips, you’ll learn what to expect in the daily culture. Don’t overlook practical sources like government agencies as well.
For instance, when I traveled to Scotland, I followed the Official Police Scotland Instagram. Not only were they a hoot to watch, I also learned helpful tips about safety in the area.
Another way to get more insight about your destination is to find comedians from the area or the country and follow them. It’s especially helpful if you’re going somewhere with a significantly different culture.
Although Ireland isn’t a huge culture shock from my own upbringing, it gave me much more context into the subculture because so much of comedy is satire and based on truth. It was not only helpful, but it made my trip even more enjoyable to be in on the inside jokes at times.
There was one comedian who did a bit on the “rural features” of the airport I was going to be flying into. It gave me a good giggle and helped me manage expectations.
A helpful side note would be that if you are going on a trip in a group, be sure to share these resources with your whole group so you can all be on the same page.
2. Learn How to Assimilate
Travelers shouldn’t pretend to be too cool to do the touristy things, however, they should learn how to successfully participate in society.
Whether you’re going for a few days or a few weeks, make an effort to prepare to be a “good citizen” of your temporary home.
Learn things like the rules of the road, taboo behaviors, and necessary language, among other things. Not only will this be a goodwill gesture, it will enhance your experience as well.
A good example of this would be to literally learn about the actual rules and signs of the road. I know it sounds silly, but when my sisters and I were determined to drive across Scotland and England, we knew they drove on the left side of the road, but the road signs and their highways systems were something we didn’t even think to familiarize ourselves with. Even if you don’t plan to drive anywhere on your next trip, you’ll need to learn about the public transportation system, acceptable tipping habits for taxis or Uber drivers, or the bus systems.
I grew up in rural Oklahoma, so I would have struggled to navigate an intricate system in a big city like London without preparation and when you only have one or two days in the city, you don’t want to waste precious hours missing connections.
In Dublin, the common transport system is a train hybrid called the Luas. In Edinburgh you’re going to want to take the buses for the most part. For Vienna, the underground metro is the most efficient. In Salzburg and Zurich, those who don’t care how fast they are going can easily rent a bike.
Every city, every country, every place has their own system and it doesn’t take but a few minutes to learn enough to navigate it.
Doing this ahead of time will save stress when you want to relax.
3. Learn to Be Flexible
After all the researching and planning, this may seem like counterintuitive advice, but once you’re on the actual trip, you need to learn to go with the flow at times and just enjoy yourself. This is where you learn to turn lemons into lemonade and stay open to a new adventure.
A prime example of this principle was my first trip to Ireland. It was the trip I had been waiting for my whole life and I had planned every detail around seeing the entire country in 10 days.
On our last full day of sight seeing, we arrived in a small port town near the southern most tip of the island only to find everything we planned to see was closed down for the day because it was Sunday.
After spending a few fruitless hours trying to re-create a version of our original itinerary, we saw a sign for a little beach strand and pulled off the road. We spent the last few hours of the day sitting on the sand dunes of a quiet beach watching the sunset. Taking some time to just sit still and enjoy something simple ended up being one of our favorite memories.
In travel, sometimes things take longer, sometimes places are closed or under construction, and weather doesn’t always cooperate. Don’t ruin what could be a great day by focusing on the disappointments.
When you do this you may end up somewhere even better than you planned.
What are some of your insights for getting the most out of your trip when you travel? Share your comments below.