In this day and age traveling to other countries can feel as if you never left home. The buildings may appear different but the corporate logos are the same. Crave a hamburger and you need only find the golden arches of McDonalds. If you are thirsty for a tall latte, Starbucks can fulfill your needs. Miss your jeans and t-shirts wardrobe and you can visit the Gap. Yet why spend your hard earned money traveling to another country just to buy what you could at home. It might be intimidating to stray from the known to the unknown but if you do you will get much more out of your trip abroad.
After you’ve chosen where you want to go, how many days your trip will be, and bought your airline tickets, your next step is to book your lodging. It’s certainly easy to book a hotel chain you’re familiar with, such as Marriott or Sheraton. However, you can use a site such as Hotels.com to discover local hotel chains. These hotels will offer the same comfort you’re used to but give you a slightly different experience. You can also look for boutique hotels or vacation rentals such as bed & breakfasts or apartments, either of which will allow you to experience a local’s way of life. Visit Trip Advisor for reviews on the different types of lodging available.
Aside from sight seeing the biggest travel to-do is eating the local cuisine. Still, fears of eating something you’re not familiar with can lead you to eating at chains you can find at home. If you do then you’ll be missing out on some amazing food. Yet the big question is how to find a good place to eat with the various options available.
Avoid the American fast food chains by using sites such as Trip Advisor, Yelp and similar region specific websites. These websites have tourists and local reviews. You’ll know which restaurants serve good food, not only from other travelers but also from people who live in those cities and eat at those restaurants regularly. Also, if you are staying at a hotel don’t be afraid to ask the hotel staff for recommendations. The people working at the hotel live in the city and will know the best restaurants for any type of budget.
Additionally don’t be afraid to skip the restaurant scene all together. Visit a local farmer’s market or grocery store for a meal you can bring back to your hotel. Just be sure to skip things that need to be cooked or served on plates. A sampling of local bread, cheeses, meats, fruits, vegetables, and candies can turn into one of your most memorable meals.
Chances are you packed all the clothes you’ll need for your trip in your suitcase. Consider the next time you travel to only bring two-thirds of the clothes you need and buy the rest. Use the “find nearby” feature on Yahoo! Maps to find nearby lodging, restaurants, and shops. Pedestrian only areas are great places to find local brands of clothing. Shopping while on vacation is an adventure and it will also help spruce up your wardrobe. In addition, you’ll be wearing clothing similar to the locals so maybe you won’t even be mistaken as a tourist.