Over the last year of lockdown, it has become increasingly apparent how important our vacation time is. Once the world returns to normal, and we can travel freely, making the most of your holiday destination will be even more critical. There are many ways you can make the most of your vacation from remembering to have good manners, say please and thank you and always leave a tip, to harnessing local knowledge to make sure you see the best side of your chosen destination. Here are some great tips for making the most of your holiday next time you are cleared to fly.
Tourist Attractions are Not the Only Way
While it is natural to want to see some of the major tourist attractions in the area, remember that this is not the only way to see somewhere new. Planning your day to visit museums or castles is one thing, but you should allow yourself a day of following your nose and just going wherever the road takes you. Don’t be tempted to book too many guided tours in one day, as you can end up rushing from place to place and not enjoying anything. In many cases, small backstreets and little cafes are actually delightful and beat the mainstream locations hands down.
If you prefer to get far from the madding crowd, the best thing you can do is go away offseason. There are going to be times when a destination is particularly popular; for example, Mardi Gras in New Orleans always pulls a very large crowd. If you can live without seeing things like that, going offseason will afford you a quieter time and give you more time to explore the authentic surroundings.
Buy Tickets Online
Another good tip is to purchase any tickets online as this saves queuing; in fact, many tickets are sold on a queue skipping basis. Again, if you do not want to be too tired to time, you can purchase them from your hotel room the night before you want to go rather than having a fixed itinerary for your whole holiday and finding that you do not enjoy it. Allowing for some fluidity gives you grace if something unexpected happens like an upset stomach or terrible weather on the day you booked to do something outside.
Take Advantage of Local Knowledge
Most places offer tour guides, and these tend to be local, possibly students who will know more about the area. This is a good idea when you are in unfamiliar territory, for example, if you are planning to track or hike through forests or mountains, a tour guide can also ensure your safety. It is also useful if you don’t speak the language you have someone with you who can deal with any problems in interpretation.
While you might be tempted to just get away for a few days, booking for a more extended period can actually give you more opportunity to see the sites properly. Often people book a two-night city break and plan to cram in 10 or 20 tourist attractions which is only going to lead to cross-exhausted people at the end of the day. It is better to have a vague idea of a few things you might like to see if you get there, or book for a more extended period and interspersed days of being tourists who go to popular landmarks with tourists who just wander around and take their time to look at things.
Don’t Let Reviews Put You Off
There are so many online review sites; it can be straightforward for your opinion to be swayed by something you actually don’t know anything about. You will always find people who don’t like an attraction, restaurant, hotel or bar. But in some cases, it’s better to make up your own mind. The most popular hotels will, of course, be the most expensive, and actually, some tucked away bed, and breakfast can offer the best home from home experience. By all means, have a look at reviews for the area but make up your own mind and make your own decisions.
Mind Your Manners
Okay, this might seem entirely obvious, but you would be surprised how many times tourists land in a new country with a sense of entitlement. Remember you are visiting someone else’s home, and it may not be the same style of living as you are used to. Some places are very laid back and slow; others move at a faster pace. It can be tempting to get angry with a street vendor but remember in some places bartering is entirely normal and expected so getting cross isn’t going to make a difference.
There are also some customs and rules that you need to abide by in certain countries, for example having long trousers or covering up the top half, or not wearing swimwear in cafes and bars and you should make sure you understand what is expected before you travel. Nobody expects you to be fluent in the language, but politeness can easily be translated with gestures, smiles, and even the use of language apps on the phone. It is essential that you remember things like leaving a tip, and in general, most places you visit will be full of smiling happy people who are only too pleased to help providing they don’t get their heads bitten off.