Are you already looking for your next big adventure? Vacations are a great time to not just step away from the everyday stress, but it can also be the perfect time to try new things. It’s also good for your health. Research suggests that experiences actually make us happier than material possessions, so spending money on a holiday can be good for your mental health.
Part of the reason experiences make us happier, are the memories that we keep from them. So, want to make your next vacation more memorable? Here are a few tips that can help make it the best trip yet.
1. Do your research
This is important, especially if you have never been to the place you are eyeing. Arm yourself with information, because in some places you might come home disappointed if you do not do your home work. For example, traveling in the low season is a great idea, except if that means the location you are visiting is more prone to hurricanes, or most restaurants and attractions are closed in off-peak months.
2. Splurge on accommodation
Get the nicest place your budget can handle, and really look for the things that matter most to you. Maybe “nicest” to you actually means a simple hostel, but in the middle of the arts and culture center of a major city. Or instead you’re happiest having a swim in the morning, and getting a hotel with a pool makes all the difference. Staying in accommodation that is different, or has a story, can also add an entire dimension to your holiday that you’d otherwise not get. A strong example of this was my trip to Marrakesh, where I stayed in a Riad. Instead of booking a regular hostel in Hong Kong, why not stay at the Disneyland hotel, for example. Or if you are visiting Japan, instead of a hotel, choose a traditional Ryokan. Or in Kenya, instead of choosing camping or cheap places, go for a kenya lodges 5 star, and enjoy a safari lodge. There’s nothing better than enjoying luxury after a dusty day of touring. Cheaper accommodations may also add stress to your travels, if things go wrong. The typical “you get what you pay for”, often holds. In short, spending a little more on accommodation can assure a far more relaxing experience. I remember one very memorable trip to Romania, where I had booked a very economic hotel. Unfortunately, none of the staff spoke English so even getting something as simple as a knife, or ordering a coffee in the morning, was a huge ordeal. This trip became memorable because of the bad experiences we had, and not for any of the good ones.
3. Try new things
You don’t have to go skydiving to get a thrill from trying new things. Have a chat with the locals at the nearby cafe, and get their insider tips on where to go. Trade some of the tourist sites teeming with people for the places that are off the beaten path, and recommended to you by a local resident. Delve into local cuisine, or even a cooking class with a local chef. Try an experience that goes beyond just visiting tourist attractions, and you’ll come home with stories to tell and memories to enjoy.
4. Take pictures, videos, and memories
This is an obvious one, but photos are your best souvenirs. It is a tangible thing to take home from your trip, and it doesn’t cost you very much. There are countless examples though of people having their cameras or phones stolen while mid-shoot, so be careful. Try to back up your pictures at the end of the day, so if something does go wrong you do not lose all your shots in the process. There are times a video works better than a picture, and with the low/no cost of digital it’s ok to be trigger happy and delete bad shots later. But remember also not to look at the sights through your camera only. Put the camera down, enjoy the moment, and collect a live memory too. It’s easy to get so wrapped up in taking pictures, selfies, and then posting them on social media that you actually forget to just look. Without a screen.
5. Be flexible
You’ve planned the perfect trip to a tee. And now something has gone wrong. Maybe it doesn’t stop raining, your luggage has gone missing, and you arrived after all the restaurants have closed. Tomorrow is a new day, the whole point is that you are away and enjoying yourself. Take a good book for a rainy day, or a fun project you never get time to work on at home. Consider something else you can do if what you’ve planned doesn’t work out. Maybe you never go to a museum, but give it a try anyhow. You never know what interesting things you might encounter when you least expect it, and how much fun you might have even if you thought you wouldn’t.
What is your ideal of the perfect holiday? Do you like lounging by the beach, exploring a new city, or trying new food? Looking forward to seeing your idea of a perfect trip in the comments!
*Picture at the top by Manuel Moreno on Unsplash