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Wednesday, October 10, 2018

10 Things to Do On Every Trip

Sometimes we get so caught up in planning a trip, saving for it, and seeing things that we don't stop to take time to actually experience our destination. Sure, there are plenty of things you should do on every trip that make it more affordable and easier, but what about the trip itself? 

Don't you want to make memories? I know I do. So, here are 10 things to do on every trip:

Take Public Transportation

I try to walk and take public transportation as much as possible when I travel. It gives me a chance to see how people really live, allows me to slow down, it saves money, and you generally get to see more of the city when you aren't just going straight from Point A to Point B in a car. Also, you can look around, because you aren't driving and having to focus on the road.

Ask the Locals for Recommendations

There's no better way to find a hidden gem or keep away from tourist traps than by speaking to the locals and asking them where their favorites are. Chances are good they aren't going to send you to some upscale restaurant that's going to break your budget or the lame activities that everyone goes to because they're in a guide book. 

Walk Through a Neighborhood

It's nice to take a minute to slow down and just enjoy somewhere. I especially love to walk through neighborhoods to see how people live. I like to see their houses and gardens and parks and say hello to people walking their dogs. Maybe set aside a day where you don't plan anything and just explore and see where the day takes you.

Shop at a Grocery Store

Or a marketplace. I find when I can get a feel for new foods from my destination, I learn just that bit more than I would if I didn't make the effort. I love farmers markets for finding fresh foods and talking to people. I found lots of new favorite things when wandering through Sainsbury's in the UK. It's just interesting to see the differences between your life and others sometimes.

Try Something New

I make it a point to try a new thing every time I travel, whether that's a new experience or food. It pushes you a bit out of your comfort zone and teaches you something about yourself, and hopefully your destination.

Learn the Language

At least some key phrases. You'll find that people respond to you better when you try to at least make an effort. There's a huge difference between expecting people in foreign countries to speak English and trying to speak to them in their own language and finding they speak English. It's also a fun way to talk to people in the service industry, who have a more down-to-earth opinion on things to do, where to eat, and things to stay away from.

Take a City Tour

Whether you find one through an app or you join a group, this is a great way to learn the history of a city and all about the cool stories that you'd otherwise never hear about. I love haunted tours, but I've also taken a regular city tour, Harry Potter tours, cemetery tours and more. I've never been disappointed. 

Purchase a Souvenir (that means something)

You could bring home a postcard or a magnet, but why not pick something you love that you might use or see every day and make you happy? I pick up an ornament for my tree every time I take a trip. My holidays remind me of all the awesome trips we've taken and all those memories surround me during the best time of the year. Maybe you want a particular piece of art or a book or something else. Make yourself happy.

Keep a Travel Diary

You can take all those pics and perfect Instas, but don't forget to slow down and remember what you did and how you felt about it. You don't have to keep a tangible journal, though that can be fun. You can make some notes in Evernote when you have downtime, like before bed or while waiting in line or riding the subway. Write as you go each day and you'll find that your trip feels even more real and exciting. 

Eat at a Local Favorite

This goes back to talking to locals. Skip the restaurants in the touristy parts of town and instead look for ones that have lines around the block, people can't stop talking about, or have handwritten sandwich boards out front. A great restaurant will never be empty and sometimes these great eateries are just tucked away out of sight.

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