When we travel, we try to discover as much as we can and leave with many beautiful memories as possible. In between seeing all the famous sites and landmarks, make sure you encounter all of these experiences in each new city or country you visit. Follow these tips and you’re sure to have a more unique and fulfilling travel experience.
Eat at a Restaurant Recommended by a Local
The local cuisine is one of the best things that can reveal a country’s traditions, history, habits, and customs. When out exploring, chat with some locals and ask them where their favorite place to eat is and what’s their favorite thing on the menu. This may involve some pointing and charades if you don’t speak the same language but can end with you eating something new in a delicious restaurant that only the locals know about. It also gives you the opportunity to interact and strike up a conversation with people who call the city you are visiting home. Oftentimes locals will take pride in sharing their favorite spots that go unnoticed by the typical tourist crowd.
Purchase a Souvenir
While some people have a tradition of collecting a magnet or mug from a gift shop from every place they travel to, be on the lookout for meaningful souvenirs that you will cherish forever. A great place to start looking for genuine, local crafts that you will use or look often back home are farmers markets and marketplaces around the town. Some suggestions on what to look for: bookmarks, scarfs, small lotions or any handmade art. Just keep in mind that whatever you decide to buy, make sure it can fit easily in your carry-on and that it meets all TSA guidelines.
Take Public Transportation
As long as the public transport system is well developed, there is no better way to get a feel for the full scope of a city and live like local than by taking a local train, bus or subway. You’ll get to see lots of landmarks, residential neighborhoods and it’s also a great way to see the layout of the city. Public transportation is usually pretty economical and it will allow you to explore more than what is just within walking distance, over a shorter period of time.
Keep a Travel Journal
Journals are a great keepsake that you can go back and reminisce about the different adventures that you experienced. Most travelers like recapping their day in the evening before bed, but you can jot down notes any time, like right when you wake up or when you are grabbing a coffee at a local shop. Some writing topic suggestions: meals you loved, the weather, the unique smells, the vibe of the city or just any moment that captivated you. You can glue event and venue tickets inside your journal next to your descriptions of how much fun you had. Tip: Make sure you date all your notations.
Explore a Neighborhood
Go on a long walk through the streets of a local neighborhood to get the true vibe of the city. You can rent a bike or go on a long walk, then relax in the corner street café or on a park bench. Before the day is over, you will surely feel like one of the locals.
Send Post Cards Home
Post cards are full of wonderful pictures and artful quotes that tell the story of the location you are visiting. You can also add your firsthand experience of your trip. Unlike an email or text message that can easily be deleted or put away, a postcard can be displayed like a keepsake. Try sending a postcard next time you travel to either your family, friend, or even yourself!
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