How to make the most of a holiday

Make sure you keep note of where each photograph was taken before they all start to look the same. Image: fotopedia.com

There are times when the beach seems like just a place with sand and water and the people are all foreign to you. If you feel like this on a holiday you must remember two things: this beach is different and you are the foreigner. Here are some tips on how to ensure that each trip is special.

Culture: If you are only going to a single destination, especially if you’re not using a tour guide, open up the tourism board website for that place and have a quick glance through it. By doing this, you will be more aware about why some things are done in certain ways or if you should stock up on food because all the shops are closed on Sunday.

Museum: Whether it is a small island in the Pacific or a major city in Europe, most places have some sort of cultural centre where you are able to visit and learn about the people whose home you are visiting. Never underestimate the importance of knowing the history and culture of the places that you visit as they will certainly enhance your experience and differentiate that beach from the one you have at home.

Locals: I’ll be the first to admit it; walking up to someone and saying G’Day is not something that I am comfortable with. If like me you reserve your G’days for family and friends only, try talking to a tour guide or the host of an event that you might be participating in. These people expect questions and are very knowledgeable, so use them!

Activities: Try something new. Make it unique to the destination that you are visiting if you can. Perhaps climb the tallest tower in each place or take a helicopter tour over a volcano, participate in a festival or go scuba diving if you haven’t before.

Food: Try as much as you can. Food is generally highly representative of what a person and a culture stands for so when you are offered food, take it as though you are literally being offered a piece of culture on a plate. If swimming with the sharks is not your idea of fun then this is your time to experiment!

Walk Around: Just walk. Doesn’t matter where (so long as it appears to be safe and in a relatively friendly neighbourhood). Step into shops and look into nooks and crannies – you never know what you will find.

Time Out: This is when you reflect and actually consciously say to yourself, ‘Wow, I’m in ____’. Not only will this make your experience more real but it should also get you excited about the fact that you’re not sitting at your computer doing work.

Social Media: Whilst most people would say that a holiday is a good idea to step away from social media, I say go for it! Making friends jealous may not be ideal, however when you document the fact that you are finally standing atop the Eiffel Tower, you just feel such a sense of achievement and appreciation that you may not otherwise get if you only took a tired picture of yourself.

Scrapbooking: After you come home, create an eBook or have a physical copy of an online scrapbook sent to you. Not only will this provide you with a lasting memory, but it will also keep you in the holiday mode until you have sent a copy to everyone and repeated each detail several times … which could take months.

Memories: Our memories of a holiday are generally much more positive than what the actual experience was, so remember to have a look at all those scrapbooks every once in a while to get a jolt of happiness and maybe even let the travel bug give you another bite.

How do you make each holiday special?

Click here to read this on e-Travel Blackboard.

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