You might be surprised how even slightly shaking up the way you travel will affect your experiences. It might mean leaving your itinerary in the hands of the travel gods, or your lunch in the hands of a street food stall, but going out of your way to try something new brings plentiful rewards.
1. Facing your fears
Travelling is the time to push your boundaries and try something that hurls you out of your comfort zone. It could be a three-day trek up an active Nicaraguan volcano, swimming with whale sharks on the western coast of Australia, or something as simple as confronting your fear of heights for a great view. Either way, seize these experiences; they may never present themselves again.
2. Waking up (early) to smell the coffee
When you’re travelling, it’s easy to fall into a routine of late nights in the bar and lazy mornings nursing a hangover. Instead, getting up early is a recipe for spectacular sunrises, fewer tourists, and less competition for finding that perfect coffee.
3. Trying the street food
Street food can be the tastiest encounter you’ll have with a country’s cuisine. It could be delicious xiǎochī in Taiwan, salteñas in La Paz, banh cuon in Hanoi, or a gourmet burger from a food truck in LA. Get inspired with our gallery of the best street food dishes around the world.
4. Travelling without a plan
Leaving room for spontaneity is one of the best things you can do when you travel. Sometimes the best-laid plans are those that come together organically and accidentally. Always remember that it’s the journey, not just the destination that counts. Some of the most unforgettable memories come from travelling just to see, hear and absorb your surroundings.
5. Braving a technology detox
With technology to aid us in every stage of a trip, and myriad ways to keep in touch with everyone back home, it can be hard to know when to switch off. Do you really need to post all 300 photos of your jungle tour to Facebook immediately, or would that time be better spent reading a book under that inviting palm tree? Try one of these 19 destinations made for a digital detox for starters.
6. Traveling with the bare minimum
Are your hairdryer and those four pairs of sandals really essential? Travelling with only carry-on is an experience in absolute freedom, and you might just realise how little you actually need. An open mind, a camera, a notebook, and enough clothes to keep you smelling reasonably fresh – what else is important?
7. Accepting that things don’t always go to plan
One bad hotel room does not a bad holiday make. In fact, learning to cope when things go awry is an important lesson, whether you’re travelling for two weeks or two years. Travel teaches us to be flexible and to seize the positives from any moment. So your flight might be delayed by eight hours, but that’s enough time to nip back into the city.
8. Documenting your travels
Even a short, daily diary listing five key events and feelings is an effortless aide memoir for remembering the people, conversations, and moments that inspired you. Photographs also act as brilliant souvenirs; just remember to put the camera down every once in a while to see the world through your own eyes.
9. Choosing to forfeit luxury for an adventure
Sure, lumpy mattresses or the prospect of sharing your room with creepy crawlies isn’t something anyone actively chooses, but staying in a remote village or a local's home will be both adventurous and highly rewarding. A tour of Berber villages in the High Atlas of Morocco or homestay in Myanmar, might not be luxurious but it’ll be an eye-opening experience.
10. Taking that trip – now
It’s easy to persuade yourself that you’ll take that trip soon – but why not now? Travel is all about unsticking yourself from the adhesive fabric of life and finding other places and people to learn about. Get packing that (carry-on) bag now.