Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Contrarian Travel Tips

Do all of your travels end up being unremarkably similar? Do all of your vacations involve staying at a hotel, taking guided tours, eating with other tourists and coming back home with photos that look just like your neighbor's photos from their vacation the previous year?

Here are some of my contrarian travel tips which will hopefully add a little variety and adventure to your next trip.

1. Booking an all inclusive vacation?  Instead, wing it.  Book your flight, upon your arrival, locate a hotel or hostel near the city center and take local transportation (not taxis) to get around. Make it up as you go.

2. Taking an organized city tour?  Instead, take a walk and wander. Try to ask locals about the places, things and people you encounter.

3. Just relaxing?  Instead, schedule an activity that might push your limits. Go bicycling, horseback riding, canyoneering or just go for a walk and get lost.

4. Doing something?  Instead, relax, spend the day in bed, read a book or just meditate.

5. Packing for every possibility?  Instead, intentionally leave out some items so that you are forced to shop for those items and interact with people in local stores and markets. Trying to buy a toothbrush, sunglasses or underwear could lead to some great interactions.

6. Staying within a daily budget?  Instead, go under budget by seeking out free activities or go over budget by splurging on a once in a lifetime activity. It all evens out in the end.

7. Eating street food?  Instead, go to a supermarket, buy what the locals are buying, and ask someone how to prepare it. Or ask a local you meet if you can prepare and share a meal with them.

8. Creating an itinerary?  Instead, Learn to walk in another persons shoes. Upon arrival, ask a local to create a list of ordinary things you should do. Do not give them any of your preferences or ideas. Allow them to share their ideas. Follow their suggestions irregardless of how ridiculous, expensive, dangerous or boring the suggestions might sound. You will probably have the most epic experience ever.

9. Buying a souvenir at the local market?  Instead, bring something with you from your home town and try to sell it at the local market or on a street corner. The interactions and conversations you may have should be amazing.

10. Taking lots of pictures?  Instead of capturing memories with a camera, make real memories. Leave the camera in the hotel for a day. Wherever you go and whatever you do, try to intentionally create a mental picture of that experience and you will probably remember it for always.

2 comments:

  1. Troy,
    Good travel tips! We've done a couple all-inclusives in Mexico and enjoyed it. However, the real fun and adventure began when we explored outside 'The Compound'. The Resorts want to keep you on premise spending money there. Heck, you can do that in the US with other Americans. The real fun starts when you enjoy the local culture. That's what we do now. We find a fairly nice hotel in the heart of town and travel out from there using scooters, busses, bikes or walking. Every excursion is an adventure. You never know what you will find. (Use discretion with the food and water... had campylobactor once...no fun).
    These trips are usually cheaper in the long run too. Thanks for the additional travel tips!
    ~Joe
    "It is our differences that make life interesting...not our likenesses".

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    1. Joe, thanks for commenting and following along. I like the quote in you've included in your signature.

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