I love planning for upcoming trips. The anticipation of the adventure, learning about a new city or country, where cities are located, travel time between them, what to do in each place, funky places to stay...I love it all. I also love seeing some fun and unique things when I travel. I look for active adventures that get me outdoors, enjoying the local city & culture and often into areas and neighbourhoods I would've overlooked.
There is nothing wrong with going to Paris and checking out the Eiffel Tower, but wouldn't you love to know about the Fromagerie that the locals shop at and has cheese so good it will bring a tear to your eye? Or discover the hidden coffee shop in Hanoi that makes a coffee with egg that tastes like creme brulee (seriously, if you are planning to go to Hanoi you MUST try this coffee!).
Not everyone thrives in pre-trip planning, or knows where to look for slightly more unique experiences, so I am sharing 5 of my super easy travel tips to help make your next trip absolutely unforgettable!
- Obviously a go to for everything now, but instead of just googling your destination or 'What to see in Lisbon' or try googling 'Unique things to do in Lisbon' or 'See Lisbon like a local'. Using these searches you might come across tour companies such as this one, which will give you a more unique experience.11
- If you haven't utilzed Pinterest for travel planning you are missing out. This is a fantastic resource, particularly for people who are very visual learners (like myself). Type in the country or city you are traveling to in the search box and scan through the stunning photos until something peaks your interest. Then you can research where it is and see if you can fit it into your itinerary. The same thing goes for Instagram, search a hashtag related to your destination city/country and see what comes up.
3. Ask your guide
- If you do end up taking a tour ask your guide at the end of the tour for suggestions. They are a wealth of resources and are likely in that job because they love talking to and meeting new people. They might point you in the direction of their favourite watering hole, a cool place they like to go relax at on their day off, the best place to grab lunch for under $5 or the coolest spot to see the sunset. If they are friendly and you seem fun, they might even invite you along with their friends. That's when the best adventures begin!
4. Travel by yourself
- Sure it can be a bit scary or intimidating if you have never done it, but I promise it will be one of the best things you will have done. Traveling by yourself forces you to step outside of your comfort zone, meet new people & try new experiences. If you are worried you won't meet anyone and will just end up walking around a city by yourself, I can reassure you there are SO MANY solo travelers out there, as long as you are willing to smile and say hi, you will meet lots of new people. If you always travel with a partner or crew you might not have realized how many other people are by themselves. Independent travelers are often happy to grab a bite together, check out a neighbourhood or city or chat with you on the train on the way to your next destination. Not only will you likely meet other solo travelers, but if you go out to eat and grab at seat at the bar and chat with the bartender, guaranteed he will give you some amazing tips on what to see while you are in town.
5. Bring comfortable walking/running shoes
- Some of my absolutely favourite moments when traveling have been when I was out for a run or on an epically long walk, lost in back alleys and twisting streets. Don't let painful blisters, cramped feet or sore soles take away precious time from your vacation. Pack comfy shoes, hit the streets as much as possible and I guarantee you will have an amazing experience that you would've missed if you had taken transit or a cab.
If you have a tip that you use in your trip planning process share it below in the comments!