Have you ever been on a vacation and returned home seven days later feeling underwhelmed? You spent all of this money, traveled across the world and felt absolutely nothing? Don’t feel bad, it happens to the best of us.
We scroll through social media daily and we are are instantly mesmerized by the amazing shots shared, our next thought is, ‘I want to go there, I want to do that!” So, guess what, we plan our vacations based on this, we book, and then jet set to destinations we know nothing about, except that we want ‘that shot’, and then have the worst time ever.
Travel is suppose to enrich your life, teach you lessons, introduce you to a different world and push you outside of your comfort zone. If you do it right, you also end up impacting people you meet on the way. The places that we travel to are imprinted on our lives, shouldn’t you want to visit somewhere meaningful?
I know some of you may be reading this and looking at me like, “but I just want to party, and have fun, and Snapchat!” Of course, there’s a trip for that. Not all vacations were made equal but if you want a tranforming travel experience here are a few major tips.
- Visit somewhere unheard of. There are almost 200 countries in the world, and I’m sure you’ve not heard of a lot of them. This year my goal was to forgo the obvious and visit countries that fly under the radar. I know it’s enticing to want to go where your friends have been, or social media influencers, but by going to somewhere you have not heard of or been before can have immense benefits. You can set your own expectations; don’t try to relive someone else’s vacation.
- Take an unplugged trip. There’s a saying that goes, ‘let’s wander where the wifi is weak’. As a travel blogger, I can’t help but document my trip every step of the way. Hey, it’s how I give you so much great content here. I have never taken an unplugged trip, but it’s a goal of mine. We tend to not be present when we are connected to technology, missing the best moments. It’s a weakness of mine, and so many others; start with a weekend trip totally unplugged, then work your way up to something more extensive.
- Practice voluntourism. If you’re not familiar with the concept, voluntourism is simply the act of travelling abroad to volunteer. Many tourists travel to disadvantaged areas and put in work at schools, orphanages, hospitals or teach languages. On my first trip to South Africa with Explore Africa Tour, I had the opportunity to be voluntourist! Our group travelled to two schools in Johanessberg and were able to donate money, supplies and spend time with the children. I’ve been to a lot of places in the world but never had such a meaningful experience. To know that I was planting seeds for the future and helping the life of another was beyond amazing.
- Learn something. If you’re thinking about advancing your skills, why not do it somewhere cool. If you’re still in college, try a study abroad course. You can live with the locals and learn their culture. I have friends who have learned Spanish by travelling to certain Spanish-speaking countries and now have a second home and family.
- Support the locals. While tourism may be bringing in the big bucks in certain countries, many times the money simply does not trickle down to the small town men and women. If you’re staying in a resort, make it your business to leave and go out and eat locally. Buy souvenirs from the market or go a step further and stay in a local-owned bed and breakfast.
- Travel solo. Guess what, sometimes you just need a break, from everyone and everything. Travelling alone gives you more time to work on you and it gives you more time to do more of what YOU like. It gives you more time to explore and experience at your own pace! Have some me time, you deserve it.
If you’re going to travel, why not make it meaningful! Remember, meaningful travel doesn’t have to be drab and dry! It simply means incorporating certain practices (like the above) to ensure that you are fulfilled and getting the most out of your travel investment!
Have you done any of the above? I would LOVE to hear about it! Drop me a comment below.
LET’S KEEP IN TOUCH!