Travelling can easily overwhelm you by tourist traps, new languages, and unfamiliar ways of life and you can easily feel distracted. Add the internet, and you feel like you need to plan epic adventures to make traveling worthwhile. I tend to feel the same when I begin to plan my trips, adding in exclusive experiences and trying to outdo my last trip but always wind up having the best time when my plans go awry and get lost in connecting to my destination rather than following an itinerary. Here are a few ways I plan my trips to include memorable connections to people, to the cities I travel to, and to the history of area:
- Learn about where you’re traveling to
I grew up with my nose stuck in a book reading about places I wanted to go to one day. I dreamed about walking the rough streets of Pompeii and walking along the Thames River, recreating history scenes in my head. While I don’t suggest that you need to go to those extremes, even glancing at a Wikipedia page about your destination might inspire you to connect deeper to the places you travel to and allow you the opportunity to immerse yourself into local life and culture.
- Step outside the comfort zone
I usually plan my vacations days out months prior to my trip, every detail of where I am going each day, what the weather will be like, how I am getting there, and food stops. I tend to feel more secure in myself as a traveler when I can control many of the elements of my trip. Often, many first-time travelers get caught up in keeping with the itinerary, afraid to lose track of their travel progress (I was the exact same, and in some ways still are). That being said, I try to never pass up an opportunity that may derail my plans for an unforgettable moment. Spontaneity can often be a traveler’s best friend, meeting lifelong friends and discovering new ways to satisfy your wanderlust.
- Take a break
My first ever solo trip was to Paris, and I was petrified. I didn’t speak French and felt as many other foreigners do, a little bit lost, confused, and homesick. I ended up sitting down in a small café, where the waiter (who spoke English and was an absolute gentleman) helped me to navigate how Parisians do cafes. I began to read my book but ended up simply sipping my coffee and people watching. It was amazing to me how these streets that I dreamed about walking down with a casual feel that I started to see similarities to my life and Parisian life. Take a break, breathe a little, and enjoy those small moments.
All in all, experiential travel is the best type of travel in my opinion. Allow yourself to ability to immerse yourself in that travel wanderlust (and understanding that a plan may be derailed) to bring those special moments back with you makes the stress of new travel worth it.