Every person has their own personality and it influences you when travelling as well. Every person has a different style of travelling and things they like to enjoy more when exploring a new place.
Over the years, and every new trip, I noticed there are certain things I am always into, and realised that those things were becoming a ”travel tradition” for me; it doesn’t matter where, I will be doing the ”same” stuff.
Not necessarily in this order, but in every trip I try to do at least one of these 5 things; the things I care about most. And, for me, they always make my trips special and unforgettable.
1 – See places from above
My love of mountains and to reach their tops gave me a big passion for seeing places from above. It doesn’t matter if it is from the top of a mountain or in a big city, I want to always, when possible, see a place from another view. And we all have to agree here that views from the top are amazing; they never disappoint. And, any place looks beautiful from above. Right?
2 – Meet natives or new people
If there is something that I care about most when travelling, it’s the opportunity to meet locals. I think it makes the trip even more special if I can explore and live that place through a native’s eyes.
I believe that a travel experience is not only limited to seeing places, but also to knowing more about the people of that country. It is an unique opportunity for us to have the feeling of how to live in that place, rather than only visit it merely as a tourist. I like to go back home not only with a camera full of pictures, but also carrying the stories of the people I met there with me. When we learn more about others, their customs and traditions, I truly believe we learn more about the world and, even more so, ourselves.
If I don’t have the chance to meet any natives, I always try to meet other travellers. There is nothing better than making friends from all over the world.
3 – Go to the supermarket (grocery store)
This is like an attraction for me during my travels. I LOOOOVE going to the supermarkets when I am in a different city.
Firstly, talk about living the experience through a native’s eyes; going to the supermarket makes you feel as if you are living there and you have to go buy groceries, as if you were back at home.
Secondly, it is always fun to discover new products and new things to eat. I always try to find different things that are common in a country but, totally new for me.
Finally, it also helps you save some money. As I am vegetarian, I can’t just go and eat everything. So, I don’t really bother to eat in restaurants or try traditional food, because in most cases they are not meat free. I always prefer to go and buy my own food at the groceries. As I am also a budget traveller, it’s a win-win.
But, I am trying to change this; searching if there is any local food that I can eat out. Sometimes, they kindly change the recipe to make it vegetarian. So, I will try to find veg restaurants to dine in on my next trips, let’s see!
4 – Stay in Hostels (or Couchsurfing).
Since I started planning my own trips using the wonderful world of hostels when I first went backpacking in 2012, I didn’t want to know about any other way of accommodation! A lot of people complain about it and say they don’t like it; that hostels are for young people. Not necessarily. I don’t think there is such thing. It is more your personality than your age, I would say. In Iceland, I met a guy who was in his 50’s.
I love hostels, and it makes number 2 in this list happen – to meet new people! Also, if there is a kitchen, it makes it a lot easier for number 3!
Besides that, the cost-benefit is great! For me, and my travel style, it doesn’t make any sense to pay more to stay in a hotel (most of the times they are more expensive) just to go there and sleep. I prefer to spend my money on other experiences during the trip.
Some people might think hostels are dirty. Or, they are the perfect scenario for a horror movie. But, nowadays there are so many different options, and lots of really nice hostels to stay in. After backpacking I only stayed once in a hotel, because I was invited to a wedding trip and they payed everything (Of course, I had to follow the wedding plans!). Recently, I had and amazing experience couchsurfing and I just loved it. It’s such a humbling feeling to be invited to stay in the home of a friendly stranger who wants to talk and travel as much as you.
So, I would always prefer these two options. Unless the hotel is something totally different and it will give me an unique experience, then it can be missed!
I never tried Airbnb yet, but it’s on my list! Have you?
5 – Walk with no set plans in order to go off the beaten path
Visiting touristic places is nice, and I also do it. But, to be honest, if there is something I really like, it is to simply walk around and explore places that are not overly touristy. Don’t always follow the mouse trail; that you have to do something, you have to go to a certain place because that’s what everybody else does. Walk with no particular destination can be surprising, and it also makes you see that place with a different perspective. And, once again, see the place with a native’s eyes.
It’s so good when you go off the beaten path and find hidden gems where you are exploring. Another thing I also love is to go to the country side, and not only explore capital cities. Most of the time capitals don’t represent the true nature of that country. Always when I am travelling, if it is to a city, I try to also go somewhere rural, even if it is not that far from the capital, to go off the beaten path. And trust me, it is always worthwhile!
Do you guys have any of these things in common with me? What is your favourite thing to do when you are travelling?