Travel is one of the greatest parts of life. When you take your family on holiday, you have the chance to tune in to what’s going on around you while forgetting your troubles and responsibilities back home. You can practice mindfulness and maybe even develop a new mindset when you’re surrounded by new things. However, it’s hard to do that if you’re stressed about money or unsure of how to get the most out of your trip. These tips will help.
Consider an Alternative to a Traditional Hotel
Instead of booking a room at a hotel, consider a less costly and more exciting alternative:
- Stay in an Airbnb or another type of home share. Not only will you save money, but your family will live like locals instead of like visitors.
- If you want something that feels slightly more traditional, some Airbnbs are even set up like hotels, with room keys, a connected restaurant, and a front desk.
- As long as you’re okay with following the rules, religious housing, like a convent, monastery or temple, may offer free housing for travellers.
- If you’re travelling somewhere along a waterway, look into local boathouses. You can find luxurious ones as well as humble ones, but either way, you’ll be right on the water.
- If you want to travel at your own pace, consider using an RV, which will serve as your transportation and your lodging. To really rough it, you can always go backcountry camping, which means you’re on your own, no campsite in sight.
When travelling, anything that veers from the norm can feel like an adventure. Staying somewhere offbeat instead of traditional can give you a completely new perspective and help your family enjoy your trip in a unique way.
Stretch Yourself to Try New Things
Remember when you were a kid and summer break felt like it stretched for half the year? Science says that’s because time slows down when we experience new things. Instead of filling up your holiday time with the activities you do at home — sunbathing, reading, sleeping late — try something completely novel during your trip. Take a surf lesson, visit a sculpture garden, sign up for a cooking class — anything you’d normally say “no” to will work (so long as you think you’ll find it enjoyable).
The beaten path is full of tourists, so if you want your family to see a different part of the town or city you’re in, make a point to get lost. Arm yourself with the name and address of where you’re staying, then head out and just walk or drive wherever you want. You’ll be amazed at what you come across, from new restaurants to interesting architecture and shops the locals love. If you can, head to where locals live, which will be removed from tourist hot spots. Don’t be afraid to approach locals directly, either — there’s a good chance they’ll love telling you all the secret hotspots of their city where other tourists never see.
Wake up early
Even if you’re normally a night owl or are staying out late during your trip, make a point to wake up early (you can sleep when you return home, right?). First, you’ll avoid crowds at tourist hot spots if you get there first. Second, you won’t get to the end of your trip and think, “I slept away half of my time here.” There’s a completely different feeling when you experience a place early in the day — you’ll have a front-row seat to the sights, sounds, and scents of the morning.
Don’t Be Wooed by Cheap Souvenirs
Have you ever bought a souvenir that you thought was totally cool and unique, only to see hundreds more of them at stand after stand? Don’t waste your money on souvenirs, especially not during the first few days of your trip. If you get to the end of your trip and still want that thing you saw on day one, then, by all means, buy it. Most of the time, however, you’ll be happy you spent your travel budget elsewhere, like on trying exotic street food or being able to pay for an extra tour.
Take Lots of Pictures
The very best souvenir you can bring back from your trip is a collection of photographs. According to Artifact Uprising, here are three must-know tips for travel photography:
- Challenge yourself to shoot one scene in different ways. Play with the light to capture the scene in shadow and then with normal exposure. Take three different views of the same landscape. Get a closeup of a faraway shot or a faraway shot of a closeup.
- Your family is just as important as the vistas you see. Make sure to get plenty of candids. If you need to, walk away from the scene a bit to see what a passerby would see, then photograph that.
- Always keep your camera handy — you never know when a photo opp is going to present itself. If you’re travelling with a DSLR, you may want to keep your smartphone easily accessible for those times when you need to snap ASAP.
Here’s another reason for getting out of bed early — the Golden Hour, right around sunrise, is the prettiest lighting for photography.
Take Care of Your Health During the Flight
No vacation can be enjoyed if you feel terrible upon arrival. How you handle the flight can impact your first day or two of your trip, and nobody wants to lose a full 48 hours of precious vacation time. Take care of yourself by booking short flights (a layover is another travel experience!), moving around during the flight by walking along the aisle and drinking plenty of water. These tips are important for travellers of all ages, but they’re especially useful if you have varicose veins.
Even with cost-cutting tips, travel is expensive. Make the most of your trip to truly get what you paid for and, if you’re lucky, much more. Optimising your travel experience means making it as smooth as possible with smart planning, being open to all the experiences available and finding ways to recall the memories once you’re back home.