Clearly I’m not talking about things you haven’t heard before. This is how I like to travel.
1. When in doubt, do without.
This goes especially for when you’re flying. You really don’t need a lot of ‘stuff’ when traveling. Basically all you need are some comfy shoes, clothes that can go from day to night, and a camera.
2. Document. Document. Document.
I’m not only talking about photos (and photos are an awesome way to do this). Write in a travel journal or a blog about what you’re up to on your trip. Write down the fun, quirky, or interesting things and people you discover. You’ll want to remember your trip and you’ll forget things if you don’t write them down. I tend to write in my Moleskine at night about my daily experiences. I draw from that when writing this blog.
3. Its about people.
Meet them. They’re interesting. They have cool stories. They might direct you towards a neat cafe down the street. If you are the type of person who strikes up conversations in the grocery line, this is easy for you. If you have trouble with it, talk to your waiter or waitress at the restaurant. Speak to the baristas or shopkeepers.
If you know someone where you’re going, you should probably get in touch with them. Alternatively, update your online profiles to show where you are. However, if you want to meet up with someone, you should make the effort — don’t think all of your friends are checking these mediums all the time.
4. Eat Local.
Don’t go to big chain restaurants, cafes, or shops. You are traveling to experience new things. How can you experience new things if you are going to the same old place? I’m not going to lie, after being in Korea for 3 weeks, on my day off, I went to an Outback Steakhouse but that was on an extended trip. I had been eating like a real Korean for 3 weeks. For short trips, I definitely recommend eating local. When I’m out and about, I’ll check my Yelp.com app for recommendations nearby.
5. Try your best to not be a tourist.
I mean, you definitely are going to be a tourist. Technically, if you don’t live there, you’re a tourist. Just don’t be a tacky tourist. Know that you’re going somewhere different. Try to fit in a little bit. Don’t offend the people you’ll be around with your disregard for their culture (this goes for US travel too).
6. Walk around.
If you’re in a city, you have no excuse. Just see what you see. I’ve found that this is one of the best ways to experience a new place. It is a great way to ground yourself. You’ll find landmarks and how to position yourself there. The sights, the sounds, the smells — walking around will give you a full experience.