7 ways to explore your destination

4:58 AM

Going on vacation is one of the biggest joys of life: You plan it for weeks, you dream about it almost everyday before you go and then...You go away, leave everything behind you and have the best time of your life. It’s the ultimate way to put aside the daily concerns and hassles and to focus on one simple thing: having fun with your loved ones. This is such a good and unique break in our daily routine that most people I know already start thinking about their next vacation on the way back from their current vacation.

As mentioned in the previous blog: How travel planning changed in the last 15 years, a lot have changed in terms of booking your flights and accommodations. In this blog I would like to review the different options you have to explore your destination and the things you can do there.

Please take into consideration, that there is no single correct answer for this question (like most things in life). Some will prefer one option while others will prefer another. My personal recommendation to you, is to take a bit from a number of options, to combine a few ways together in order to achieve the best results.

1. Search the web…
The recommended way for those of us that have both the time and the patience to put into this.

You will need to read a lot in order to find exactly what you are looking for: explore local sites about your destination, as well as online magazines. You will also want to go through informative sites like tripadvisor that also includes reviews from people that have already been to these places before. If you know your way around the net, you will be wise enough to find things relevant for you.

Important to pay attention:
The amount of information you will encounter is unbelievably huge! You must be very specific and focused on what you are looking for or you will simply spend all your time trying to deal with the overwhelming and confusing information you will face.

2. Ask your friends
Nothing compares to a tip from a like minded friend that have been to your destination.
If you can find a friend that knows the location and can dedicate some time to seat and plan your trip with you, its the best thing ever. And in case the friend can’t spare enough time, you can always settle for at least  2-3 recommendations about a good restaurants and places to hang out.

Important to pay attention:
Make sure that your friend’s information is still relevant and that he hadn’t been there 10 years ago...

3. Contact a local
If you can’t find such a friend, you can find a “local friend”.

Today you can easily reach many online platforms that enable you to find and connect with local people that knows the city very well and will be more than happy to give you advices and recommendations based on your field of interests.
If you are looking for a private local tour guide you may find it in sites like ToursByLocals.
If you are looking for customized tips, recommendations and itineraries from local experts you can find them in LocalYoo.

Important to pay attention:
Make sure to read your local friend’s profile and reviews and make sure that this is indeed what you are looking for.

4. Consult with the hotel’s concierge
I like to call this, the “semi local friend”

Hotel’s concierges are usually happy to help and give helpful advices about the place: where to eat, how to get there, what’s going on, etc… If you are not the kind of person that wants to plan in advance, this might be a fairly good alternative for you (assuming you are lucky enough to get a cooperative concierge).

Important to pay attention:
Many times, local business pay the concierges to recommend their business.  Make sure that this is not the case with your concierge...

5. Serendipity travel
I go wherever my legs take me…

If you are the spontaneous type, this might actually work for you. No need to plan or research. Simply get out of the place you stay and start wandering around till you stumble upon a nice coffee shop, park, market, what ever...

Important to pay attention:
Although you are spontaneous , please make sure to do some research regarding locations that are not safe to enter. You wouldn’t like your legs to take you to the poor areas of the city, where you can be subject to unpleasant situations.

6. Follow a travel guide book
This is probably the oldest way in the book :)

Go to the bookstore, find a travel guide that suits you the best, start reading and highlighting the parts you like and then plan your itinerary based on the suggestions of the book author.

Important to pay attention:
1. You must get an updated release of the book as things changes rapidly these days.
2. Make sure that you know the author, his fields of interest and passions, or you might end up with a vacation that doesn’t really fit your needs and desires.

7. Travel with a group
The “lazy way”

This is one of the common ways to explore a place: take an organized tour. All you need to do is go to a travel agent and order the tour that best suits your needs and budget. That’s all. All the rest would be delivered to you on a silver platter. You’ll just need to follow the tour guide and enjoy the ride.

Important to pay attention:
Make sure you choose a tour that actually fit your needs: the age of the people participating in it, the activities planned, the length of it and so on.

These are 7 possible options to explore your destination. No matter which ones you decide to follow, make sure to take lots of pictures during your vacation. This will enable to stretch a big smile on your face while you to recall the amazing time you had at your last vacation :)

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