Part of the fun of a vacation is to explore places and sights unseen, to learn about new locations and cultures. It’s not always about the destination, but what you do when you get there. But here is a checklist of items to cross off during your next vacation.
Make Your List and Check off Items During Your Vacation
You can do so much more than relax on the beach or visit your favorite chain restaurant while on vacation. Plan a trip that immerses you in the local culture. Find out where the locals hang out and see their town through their eyes. Learn something you will never forget about your destination.
There are a number of things you can do to take your vacation to the next level. First, make plans to get the most out of your trip and the limited time you have. Plenty of people are traveling now and things can get hectic, with the World Travel & Tourism Council expecting U.S. travel and tourism to exceed pre pandemic levels in 2022. Use your online calendar to schedule activities, like visiting special restaurants or riding a bike through town. Try these different activities on your next vacation and give each type their own color code on your calendar.
Schedule Walking Tours
You can see so much of what a place has to offer if you take the time to stroll its streets. Walking tours offer you a great view of any city, through special districts or tourist attractions or even local neighborhoods. It’s a good idea to schedule a tour as one of your first activities after you arrive. It helps you get acquainted with your immediate surroundings and gives you an initial introduction to your destination.
Check for local tour guides who can help you expand your perspective into other areas that may not be immediately around you. Schedule your tours for a few hours each so you don’t get overwhelmed with all there is to see. You may find some free tours offered by different companies or providers in the local area, but make sure you tip to guide.
Check Out the Sites On Wheels
You can also get to know your destination through other types of tours and experience the area more like a local. Consider renting a bike, scooter, or Segway to travel around town. You can usually rent these in local shops, and these tours can be self-guided or there may be audio tours available for some areas. Segway tours are offered in a number of areas to allow visitors a chance to see more sites, including neighborhood experiences.
Pick 3 Restaurants Local to Your Destination
You are on vacation, taking an adventure in an unknown land. Don’t ruin it by going to any chain restaurant you could visit back home. Take advantage of the local cuisine offerings. Schedule your reservations and note them in your online calendar before you arrive for the best experience possible.
You can find ideas by searching online for the favorite local restaurants in your destination. If you are staying at a hotel, ask at the front desk about the top local restaurants, which are not necessarily the best tourist options.
Learn to Cook Like the Locals
You can tap into even more food fun by checking out a hands-on cooking class to learn more about local cuisine. This is particularly important when visiting a destination known for its unique foods. When in Rome, learn how to cook like a Roman.
One option is to check for lessons that local restaurants might offer, particularly those with a reputation for great food. Some classes are taught privately by local chefs, either in their restaurants or homes. Schedule this activity before you arrive and include it in your online calendar.
Party With the Locals
You could choose to stick around your hotel or the nearby food court once you arrive at your destination. But what kind of fun is that for vacation? Commit to leaving your comfort zone by finding out where the locals enjoy hanging out. Is there a favorite brewery? Is there a bakery that locals swear by that you would never see near your hotel?
Find out where these cafes, bars, coffee shops, and dessert hangouts are. Schedule time on your vacation calendar to visit some. It’s just another way to get a great taste of your destination.
Hop On, Hop Off
It’s OK to be a tourist for some of your trip. You have a limited amount of time, so schedule as much as you can to take in the sites. You can use bus tours that allow visitors to hop on and off throughout the day to see the outlying areas of your destination. These are areas you can’t catch on your walking tour, or even on a bike, scooter or Segway.
You can schedule your tours on your online calendar to get the most out of your time. Buy your tour tickets as early as possible to avoid conflicts with other plans.
Book Airbnb Experiences
The same company that helps you book places to stay on your vacation also can help you book local experiences. Check Airbnb for the unique, local activities that you can schedule for your vacation. Locals will host excursions and experiences that are unique to the destination. They can also offer you a different perspective of your vacation city.
Airbnb vets the local hosts and requires registration under their guidelines for your safety. But you can also check out the reviews of the experiences online to see what others thought about it.
Take the Path Less Traveled
If you want time to experience your destination less like a tourist and more like a local, plan activities. You can schedule a picnic in a local park one day, and plan a hike on a local trail the next. Look for activities that locals would enjoy and that you will enjoy during your trip. It’s a great way to see the area in a different way.
Take a kayak into a local lake or sunbathe at the local beach. You can even find the best hangouts for kids that will give them new experiences, like batting practice or spending time at a local playground.
Vacation During Your Vacation
Think of your vacation destination as your home camp, a launching point for other, shorter trips. You can see more of an area by adventuring into outlying areas during a day trip. If you are staying downtown, take a trip into the suburbs or to nearby towns and cities. If you are close to another popular vacation destination, plan a day to visit there as well.
Get the most out of your vacation travel by considering opportunities to take a vacation during your vacation. You can rent a vehicle for this, or take the safe route and travel by local bus, train, or other public transportation. If you are driving your own vehicle, you may be able to take advantage of audio tours that play through your speakers.
Take Advantage of Layover Destinations
There is no reason to dread your layover if you fly to your destination. Take advantage of those stops, especially if you have never visited. Schedule a day or two in your layover city to explore what it has to offer and include it on your online calendar. In some cases, it may be as easy as booking a room near the airport and scheduling local tours on your layover.
No one likes the stress of running around an airport on a layover, trying to make your next connection. Give yourself time to enjoy the area and to catch your flight in a comfortable way. You will never look at non-stop flights the same way, and you may even regret flying over everything.
Image Credit: by Te lensFix; Pexels; Thank you!
Student at UC Berkeley, currently working on a degree in Electrical Engineering/Computer Sciences and Business Administration. Experienced in CSX, productivity management, and chatbot implementation.