When it comes to traveling, there are no hard and fast rules. That’s what makes it such an appealing past time. You can do it how you want, where you want, and when you want. There won’t be anyone telling you that you ‘can’t go there’ or that you ‘shouldn’t do that.’ It’s the perfect pursuit for our inner rebels, and an ideal way to spread our wings.
Sometimes, though, that freedom can be overwhelming. The mere lack of structure in the traveling lifestyle could stop some people from ever trying it. Others may give it a good go but fail to feel the full benefits. For those people, we may well have a checklist which can save the day.
The fact is that, while there are no rules, there are experiences. Without meaning to, many hard and fast travelers experience the same things over the years. These are life-changing, one time only experiences which make them the people they are. If you’re having a hard time making the most of your travels, then, keep on reading. We have a quick checklist of some traveling experiences which you should be sure to make time for at some stage. Do each of these, and the chances are that you’ll soon become as much a die-hard nomad as the rest of us.
Experience #1 – Take a road trip
If you hop straight off your plane and into a taxi, you’re never going to get the full feel of a place. And, if you don’t get a feel, it’s no wonder your experiences thus far have left you lacking. Don’t let it happen next time by taking a road trip instead. This is one of those travel experience 101s, and it’s sure to change the face of your trips. Instead, of being all about the destination, a road trip puts your journey at the center of your time away. And, that can be surprisingly invigorating. This is your chance to take the time to look at your surroundings and appreciate the sights you see. That alone can open your mind and ensure you catch the travel bug for good. Where you decide to head on this trip doesn’t matter. You could take a hire car into the heart of Australia, or just travel around your local coast. The point is that you open your eyes and mind, stick on some music, and prepare for a travel experience which will change your life.
Experience #2 – A stay in a hostel
The idea of it might turn your stomach, but a hostel stay is well worth a shot at some stage during your journeys. Hotels are great, but they very much take you out of the hustle and bustle of a place. You could stay in your hotel room and feel like you’re back home if you wanted to. You’ll have a comfortable bed, a private space, and probably even a television which plays channels you love. It’s hardly a setting fit for new experiences, is it? By comparison, hostels are often much more suited to local tastes. They tend to have traditional local decor and host a whole range of cultures. A trip to Italy, for instance, is sure to be improved no end by a stay in classic hostels like Ostello Degli Elefanti. In accommodation like this, there are few televisions to distract you. There might not even be any air con to help you pretend that you’re somewhere else. Instead, you’ll have to actually acclimatise to this new place. You should also find that staying in a hostel encourages you to get out. Most hotels are set up so well that you could stay in them for your whole trip and not suffer for it. There’s no chance of staying in a hostel for that length of time. Most won’t even allow you to remain after a specific time. That means you’ll have no choice but to get out, and that can again heighten any overseas experience. Hostels also have the benefit of being incredibly social places. The chances are that you’ll get chatting to bunkmates from all over the world. You might even end up sleeping next to some locals. Which brings us nicely onto our next experience.
Experience #3 Speak with the locals
When we go away, many of us stick close by our parties. We learn only basic language skills so that we can order food and drink, and keep our heads down the rest of the time. That’s why our next experience recommendation is to speak to locals. This can be a daunting undertaking, but it’s more than worth your time. For one, speaking the language could leave you with a lasting skill which is sure to see you getting the most out of future trips. For the most part, though, doing this allows you to get a full feel for a place. It helps you to understand the culture in a way you never would if you kept your head down while you were out and about. And, isn’t culture the main reason anyone wants to travel in the first place? Speaking with locals also has the benefit of ensuring you see less-touristy areas. Friendly locals will be more than happy to tell you about the places they go to get away from the crowds. And, more often than not, these end up being the places which make our trips. Speaking to the same people often could also see you making overseas friends. That would be beneficial for our next experience, which is to…
Experience #4 Live abroad
If you only ever take one or two weeks to get to know a place, you’ll always feel as though you’re skimming the surface. Some people decide to tackle this by going on extended breaks where they travel for a month or more. But, we’re going to take that even further by suggesting that you should live abroad at least once. In many ways, this is the ultimate travel experience. You’ll never get as close to the heart of Singapore as if you look for a hdb rental there. You’ll never know England better than if you take a six-month lease on a flat. Rather than seeing places through tourist’s eyes, this ensures you get stuck into the realities of day to day life. You’ll become lost in the culture in a way you never could otherwise. And, you’re sure to be a changed person when and if you decide to come home. For some travelers, settling into new cultures becomes so addictive that they keep on doing it. You don’t need to do that, of course, but it is worth giving this a shot at some point. You can bet that new places will have a special place in your heart as a result.
Experience #5 Teach abroad
Whether you live in a place or visit it, our last experience is teaching abroad. This is a sure way to leave some mark on the place you’re visiting, and it can be insanely rewarding. Even living somewhere doesn’t leave as lasting a mark as this could. If you have a skill to teach such as yoga, you could change the lives of overseas students in just one lesson. Even if you think you have nothing to offer, teaching English could see you changing the course of someone’s life. That’s an experience worth having, and one which is sure to see you catching the travel bug for good.
What’s the top thing on your checklist for traveling?