#THEVAULTTRAVELSERIES: 10 THINGS YOU SHOULD DO WHEN YOU TRAVEL
1. KEEP A DIARY
As much as you think you’ll remember every detail of your trip, after visiting so many different places, it’ll be much harder to recall what you did and where you did it. So, document as you go along and keep it interesting. It could be a restaurant you ate at, a funny experience you had, a person you met or simply just a description of the place you visited. If you have it written down, the memories will last forever. You’ll be able to read back on it whenever you like and it will help you be more precise when people ask you about your adventure or when you’re giving advice about a particular place.
2. EAT AMONGST THE LOCALS
Step away from the 5-star restaurants that are recommended to you by the hotel or from your Lonely Planet book. If you want to have an authentic experience, ask a local where their favourite restaurant is and go there. Chances are it will be a hidden gem in a quiet neighbourhood with outstanding food. The locals always know best, so don’t be afraid to ask!
3. HIRE YOUR OWN TRANSPORT
This is the best way to explore – hire bicycles, rent a car or get a boat for the entire day. You’ll see a different aspect of the city and will be able to do so at your own pace. You’ll come across unique restaurants, shops and sights that are away from the main part of town and are much more interesting.
4. BE SPONTANEOUS
It’s good to have a brief idea of the things you want to do in each place, but don’t over-plan! If you keep your options open, you’ll be able to make spur-of-the-moment decisions and it will be a better experience. The best days are always the ones that weren’t included in the itinerary. So try to live in the moment as much as possible. This way, if you’re enjoying your time in one place, you can stay a few extra nights without it disrupting the rest of your trip.
5. BE A BOWERBIRD
Search for a small item (it can be anything) that has sentimental value to you and that will help you to remember that particular place. It might be a coaster from one of the bars you went to or a piece of jewellery you bought from a night market stall. Whatever it may be – opt for something different in each place you visit!
6. GET UP EARLY
Even though you’re on holidays, don’t forget to set your alarm from time to time. One of the best times to explore a city is in the early hours of the morning, when there are fewer tourists about. You’ll get to see things you that you normally wouldn’t – shopkeepers preparing for the day, locals having their morning coffee and children venturing off to school. Oh and nothing beats a sunrise, so don’t forget your camera!
7. SEND POSTCARDS
It may seem like the old-fashioned way of getting in touch with people back home but it’s a great way to let your loved ones know you’re thinking of them. So grab a bundle of different postcards from your local store, sit down in a café and write away! It’s a much more thoughtful way of sending a message and is more exciting for the receiver!
8. RESPECT THE LOCALS
Keep in mind that you’re in a different place that has different rules and regulations. It’s important to act appropriately and even more important to dress appropriately. If you’re visiting somewhere like Turkey or Egypt, be sure to bring a scarf or shawl that you can use to cover yourself when you go into sacred areas. It’s also a good idea to buy a phrasebook so you can at least attempt to communicate with the locals instead of just relying on them to speak English. They’ll appreciate the effort!
9. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF
Most of us who set off on big adventures cant help but worry about our health! But just because you’re travelling and not in your normal routine doesn’t mean you can’t stay healthy. You can still enjoy yourself and indulge in delicious meals, just don’t overdo it. If you maintain a balanced diet, you wont have any problems. You’ll also be walking and moving around a lot, so think of it as unplanned cardio! Win/win.
10. GET LOST
This is probably the best advice you can take. If you want to get the most out of a place, you need to step away from the map. So take off by foot and wander the streets. You’ll come across all sorts of things that you wouldn’t find in a travel guide. And if you get stuck, all you need to do is hail a cab back to your hotel. There’s no excuses, so what are you waiting for?