Maybe your planning a vacation in a couple of months or maybe it’s the night before and your all set to go, either way you’ve probably got a good idea on what you want to accomplish on your trip. Whenever I go somewhere new for leisure I try to get as much out of my experience I can and sometimes the best experiences have come from abandoning the beaten path. Whether your planning a beach vacation or going to a scenic destination overseas, here are some great ways to make sure you get the best experience possible.
See What’s Local
Some of the best times I’ve had on a vacation came from simple small talk with a local. Never underestimate this advice, since they live near or at your destination, they can often tell you where the best food, shopping, or nightlife can be found. Surprisingly, this often tends to be somewhere other than what your standard tourist guide will tell you is best and rarely includes the regular expensive tourist traps. If you want to know more about food and activities beforehand a great place to start is reading reviews online. Check sites like Yelp to see what locals and other visitors are saying and how each place of business stacks up. I’ve found some of the most amazing food I’ve ever had this way.
Save Don’t Splurge
Vacations don’t have to be as expensive as you anticipated. In almost any tourist oriented vacation spot its easy to find coupon books that allow you to get buy one- get one deals, major discounts, and even free items or services that you might otherwise miss. Before you leave, look up your hotel and planned attractions on social media networks and check out deals or subscribe to their e-mail newsletter for exclusive offers. Businesses will often go to Facebook or Twitter and offer coupons or promo codes that could ending up saving you a ton of money. To go a step farther try choosing to camp instead of using a hotel. Many beaches and tourist towns, my favorite being Stone Mtn. GA, have local campgrounds that are popular and well maintained.
Don’t Pre-Plan (Too Much)
While on vacation, planning out your trip can go a long way towards keeping on schedule but it may have you rush by things that you might have enjoyed. For myself, I find that not having a set schedule allows me to relax with less stress than if I was rushing to get to every planned activity in my schedule. If your a diehard planner then it may be good to compromise. Plan your trips activities but try to leave some time unplanned to try something new. Leaving some time free will also make allowing adjustments easier, reducing your stress level in the process.
Know Your History
The next time you go on vacation try to find historical information and what your destination is known to have as a specialty. You never know what you might learn about the city or even the hotel your staying in that isn’t typically known by the masses. For example, when staying at the Stonewall Resort in Roanoke WV, I learned that the state park turned resort started as a Army project to build a dam, flooding much of the original area with up to 60 feet in water. Another great way to remember your trip is to find a local specialty export and take some home as a souvenir. If your destination specializes in silver or gold grab a piece of jewelry, if it’s wood maybe choose a wood carving to take home.
The common phrase,”you don’t know a good thing until it’s gone” couldn’t be more true than for your time on vacation. Remember, this is your break from the real world and you worked hard to make it happen. You don’t want any excess amount of stress to ruin your good time. Sit back, relax, and enjoy your surroundings. In diet terms a vacation is my cheat day. Let yourself do something that maybe you wouldn’t do at home like indulging in good food or staying up all night.
Taking these tips and applying them to your own vacation will ensure you have the most amount of fun possible on your next trip. Remember, life’s too short to not have fun so enjoy yourself when you can. Enjoy your vacations everyone!