There are 2 types of people that plan trips– travelers and vacationers. Although the two may sound like the same person, they’re actually quite different. Vacationers take trips to relax, unwind, and reset. It’s all about escaping the monotony of day to day life with them and enjoying the beauty of a new destination. 

Many also vacation because they can afford it. Travelers on the other hand are a different breed. Travelers want to see as much as possible, try new experiences, sample new foods, learn about the history of the area. Travelers want to take it all in- to them, that’s the only logical way to experience a new locale.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with either because both travelers and vacationers still get to enjoy the benefits associated with travel, but just in different ways. If you hadn’t guessed by now, I’m a traveler by nature. I just like to sample as much as I possibly can from one area before moving one to the next. 

That’s the only way I’ll feel as though the experience was worth it. At times I just feel like being spontaneous, leaving everything behind and just set off on an adventure; any adventure. However, I know and you know that a little bit of planning, research and preparedness can go a long way.

Not only will planning save you much-needed funds during your travels as it will give you an idea as to how much everything will cost. But doing a little bit of research will allow you to pack the right gear so that you can have everything that you need during your travels.

As I have been traveling for some time now, I can honestly now say that I have mastered the art of traveling, which has allowed me to pick up a few hacks and tricks along the way that ensure that I get the most out of my time and adventures.

Regardless of whether you intend on traveling solo, as a couple or in a group, here are 5 things I always do while traveling so that you can implement them in your own adventures:

I always try and check corresponding festivals, events or public holidays

One of the best things about traveling is that it enables me to immerse myself in an array of cultures. As such, one of the things that I like to do before or during my travels is to plan my stays around regional festivals or public holidays being celebrated in the area.

For example, when I visited Beijing for the first time, I ensured that I planned my visit during the Chinese New Year. The Chinese New Year is everything that you’ve heard about and more. I can liken it to Thanksgiving, Christmas, the 4th of July and New Years all rolled up into one event that is celebrated all over the region.

I always go for the free walking tours

It doesn’t matter whether you’re traveling on a budget or not, but taking a free walking tour of the area that you are visiting is one of the smartest and best things that you can do during your travels.

Taking a walking tour allows you to learn the ins and outs of a region from the locals themselves. It also gives you a good grasp of the city and its energy, which is important especially if you intend on staying for a few days.

Most cities with a vibrant tourist scene offer some form of free or affordable walking tours. Just ensure that you wear the right walking or tennis shoes so that you can protect your feet. Also, whenever you take a guided tour anywhere, it is always kind to tip at the end.

I try as much as I can to make time for reading

Although not all travelers find time for reading, it is a great way to keep your mind off things especially during long journeys. Reading while traveling means resting your head against the window as you let the pages of your favorite book consume you. 

The stories, distant worlds, and the characters can help your journey feel a lot more meaningful and allow you to face what lays in-store with a renewed sense of energy and enthusiasm. If you are looking for a list of great books to read during your travels, CoolThingsChicago has a comprehensive one that will set you off in the right direction.

Mingle with the locals

Once you’ve arrived, are well-rested and settled down, consider going down to meet and interact with the locals. There are many places where you can meet the locals- restaurants, pubs, clubs, museums, and so on.

It can be all too tempting to lock yourself in your room and only visit the top tourist sites and attractions. However, it’s always good to challenge yourself to do something different when traveling. Not only will this make your experience richer, but you’ll become a better person for it.

Use the public transport available

This can be really risky to do especially if you are a novice traveler. However, one of the things that I like to do during my travels is to use public transport whenever I can. Of course, you will need to prepare yourself adequately before you can do this because there is no need to expose yourself to a potentially dangerous situation when you can avoid it.

While keeping all safety parameters in mind, challenge yourself to travel from one place to another through public means. There is no better way to get a feel of a city than by doing it this way. Just remember to bring a map, stay alert, and be aware of your personal belongings at every turn.

Final Words

It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been traveling the world for years or have just now started, it is surprisingly simple to make the most of your adventures. The Key doesn’t lie in exclusivity, although it certainly doesn’t hurt, but rather in intuitive small behaviors that can help you experience the cities and areas in its entirety.

Lauren Sanchez - Author

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