In other words, should you stay, dine or shop local or stick with brand names you know? When traveling outside of your own country – and sometimes just out of your own city/state – this is always the question. You KNOW you like Chili’s and Best Western, but does that mean you should seek them out when you travel or try something new? When faced with lists of new restaurants, stores and hotels, it’s sometimes hard to not gravitate toward familiar names that you already frequent, but travel is a great way to break the habit of familiarity and get you out of your immediate comfort zone. That doesn’t mean you’ll be anxious and freaked out the whole time you’re away. Likely, it will be the opposite. You’ll find that one-off accommodations, dining venues and shopping experiences can be very comforting and rewarding, too. In many places, chains or “big brands” can save you money, but I find that it simply isn’t true if you travel widely. You also don’t get the feel of the country as much if you stick close to home with your choices.
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Choose carefully, just as you would any other lodging. You aren’t going in blindly, though. There are so many review sites to read up on hotels worldwide that it’s almost impossible to not find any reviews of almost any accommodation. Ask your friends and extended social network where they stayed when they went and then check out sites like TripAdvisor, Venere and Travelocity for traveler’s comments.
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- Help the economy
- Get to know the locals
- Find more authentic food and merchandise
- Get immersed in the culture
- Try new things and find new favorites
- Eat where the locals do
- And, as always, save money
- Eucalyptus ice cream? Not good, but we tried it.
- Dancing with strangers? Surprisingly fun.
- Perusing the animal market in
? A total once-in-a-lifetime must-do experience. Otavalo, Ecuador
- Taking the city bus from Disney/Orlando area to Universal City Walk? A complete time-drainer and SO not recommended.