This is a question travelers often ask – How to make my trips meaningful? What’s considered meaningful. The answers may be different various from personal experiences. I’d like to share some of the lessons we’ve learned on the road. Hope you find they are helpful.
- Try NOT to visit too many places at once
This is probably the most important lesson I’ve learned after the years of traveling. Like a lot travel enthusiast, I started off my journey by hopping place from place during my trip. Simply want to make the most out of my vacation time, I had flight to Paris and ended up in Italy through the stops in Barcelona, Copenhagen, Stockholm, Amsterdam, Shanghai (I know…wow). I’ve done quite a few of those international hopping and weekend getaways from west coast to east coast. At my age of travel thirsty, there are too many stamps to collect. I want to prove with the love of travel, everything is possible. It didn’t stop until one day, I was physically and mentally exhausted. Because of these intense travel itinearies, I was never able to do proper research on any of the places I visited. Someone would call it spontaneous or let it be. But honestly, it’s NOT. I was just visiting one place from another without knowing any of them. It’s not meaningful. It wasted time and money. So when you start a trip, try to limit the number of your stops. Take time to visit more local restaurants and walk in the street. There are so much you can be surprised that how unique each places are.
- Talk to locals / do what locals do
Following the first point, spending time talking to locals is the best thing I experienced after I tried to slow my travel pace. Not only I get the best tips from people who know the place better than me, but I also get surprises, a lot! Local language, perks, gems, food…you name it! Studies show people are generally nicer to travelers. Talk to your waiter/waitress at your meal, your cashier at the way of checking out, bus driver? they are the best!
- Learn something new
I wish I experienced this great feeling earlier. Learning something new on my trip has made my recent trips rewarding and meaningful. I feel it’s a different way to connect with this world. Why not taking a surfing class since you are in Hawaii? Why not mastering my coffee making skill in Seattle? And why not becoming a certified Santa? (yes!) You may have already taken cooking classes from different destinations. What a meaningful experience to start with. Once there’s a purpose in my trip, the takeout become more meaningful than a traditional sightseeing trip. I use GetEdcation.com to find interesting classes for my trips.
- Be spontaneous!
Travelers, most of you do not need tips of being spontaneous. There are so many surprises, uncertainties (sometimes are negative) on the road. If you don’t have a tight schedule (which you have learned from the beginning), let the flow lead you sometimes. No matter it’s a last minute lunch invite, a new workshop to learn something new, a new local friend, keep it open!
Always enjoy! Have a wonderful and meaningful journey!