Make your vacation getaway memorable & unforgettable by immersing in the local culture.
Travelling is often cited by many looking to rejuvenate their emotional, mental, and spiritual reservoirs. Immersing yourself in a foreign culture enables you to momentarily forget about your troubles, and shift focus to other wonders of life that have been obscured by routine. Here’re 10 ways to enjoy a foreign culture for a truly unforgettable trip.
1. Travel smart
Travelling smart is about planning the most important details beforehand. So that you don’t have to worry about them once you begin your travels. This allows you to focus on totally enjoying yourself during the trip. While it’s impossible to plan for a perfect trip, you can minimise the stress that comes with travelling.
Anticipate potential glitches such as flight or traffic delays, lost documents, or sudden sicken enables you have contingency plans for resolving them.
Pack with convenience in mind—the less things you have with you, the easier it is to carry them and hop onto public transport or deal with sudden changes. Heavy baggage will only slow you down.
Get travel insurance, one that best suits your requirements. Read comparative reviews on reputable consumer and travel websites or ask for recommendations from well-travelled friends. Given the uncertainties that come with travelling, a well-chosen travel insurance plan can prove handy if needed.
Learning how to manage your expectations well can change the way they define your travel experience.
2. Choose accommodation with local ambiance
Where you stay during the trip adds to your entire vacation experience of local experiences.
While hotels provide familiar comforts, many often lack personal touches that reflect the uniqueness of the town or city. However, if you still prefer staying in hotels, look for smaller and well-known family-owned or local hotels. These places often offer a more personal experience with local hospitality. Rental apartments also offer personal touches of home.
If you don’t mind interactions with your hosts, look to homestays, couch-surfing or AirBnB rentails.
3. Manage expectations
Learning how to manage your expectations well can change the way they define your travel experience. One simple way is to expect the unexpected when on vacation—set reasonable expectations on important things, like safety and security, and be flexible with the rest.
Learn a little about the local customs before your trip to prepare yourself for what is in store. This knowledge can help with adjusting your perception and reactions to things that may be different from what you’re used to at home.
Every destination is different from each other—comparing them just sets you up for needless disappointments.
4. Do not compare
Every destination is different from each other—comparing them just sets you up for needless disappointments. But that’s the beauty of travelling—it’s the differences, the good, the bad, and everything in between that make places memorable. Take everything as it comes, go with the flow, and you might be surprised to find something better than you hoped for.
Your attitude towards a place and its people can influence your experiences. Many travellers fail to connect with local people in meaningful ways because of negative views they have about the place.
5. Adjust to the local pace
Buses and trains are not on time, service in shops are not as fast as you experience at home, shops are closed at midday for siesta. Having difficulty adjusting to the local pace? However, the point of taking a vacation is to enjoy a break from your daily routine. Do make a conscious effort to slow down, and do what the locals do.
Adjusting to the local pace can save you from a lot of stress. It also allows you to pay attention to all that’s going on around you—you may notice things you could otherwise miss if rushing through your planned activities. It may even create more room for spontaneity, as you explore the things that may not be on your itinerary.
6. Dine at hole-in-the-walls
Eating street food or local cuisine at hole-in-the-wall restaurants enhances your travel experience. Some of the best-tasting foods are sometimes found along the streets or in seemingly nondescript restaurants.
Many top tourist destinations are known for their street stalls that offer some of the tastiest foods in the world. You can be adventurous with food, without putting your health at risk—patronise places that are most likely regulated by local authorities. So if you haven’t done so already, head to these food places where locals go.
7. Visit a farmers’ market
You don’t need to do food shopping to visit a farmers’ market—it’s one of the best places to go for an authentic local experience. A trip to the market gives you a glimpse of the myriad of colours and flavours that make up the place’s culinary scene. If you’re staying in a place equipped with a kitchen and basic cookware, it’s your chance to get the freshest ingredients at the market and whip up your own meal.
8. Learn something to remind you of the place
Learning a skill while travelling is a lasting souvenir you can take back with you. It could be as simple as cooking a traditional dish, pottery or painting. This not only expands your repertoire of talents, it can also be a great gift to be shared with family and friends at home. Imagine the surprise and delight of you dishing up an exotic meal that you have learned to prepare during one of your travels. It puts a twist to the souvenirs you bring home.
9. Make friends with fellow travellers
Travelling is a common interest that could forge lifelong friendships. Some of the friends you meet while vacationing abroad could be your future travel buddies. Others become one of the reasons you visit a place again. If you want a deeper experience on your trips, pay more attention to people you meet along the way, make time for conversations and learn from them. Talking with the local people also gives you a better grasp of the local culture.
10. Dine at someone’s home
This is a great way to enjoy a local meal, with the locals, and have an interesting conversation with them, in their homes. Think of all the things you can talk about with the people who will open their doors for you. This will create memorable experience not found in run-of-the-mill vacations.
It doesn’t take much to make the most of your vacation. When you immerse yourself into the local culture, you discover things that many others may have missed. The bonus is leaving a place knowing that you’ve experienced more than what you planned for.