1. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff.
This handy dandy lil cliche’ applies to life in general, but especially when you’re traveling! No matter how many hours you spend researching and meticulously planning your trip, things will happen that don’t go according to plan. Flights will be delayed, or hotels won’t look anything like their photos on Trip Advisor. The first place my boyfriend and I stayed at in Costa Rica looked gorgeous and immaculate online…in person, it was a depressing scorpion den in the jungle. We stayed a few nights while we figured out a new plan, and believe it or not, these are the memories I’m most thankful for. Go with the flow and smile-I mean, at least you’re not at work, right? 🙂
2. Break Out Of The Bubble.
If you’re going on vacation, of course you want to be comfortable. In almost every vacation destination in the world, you can find Westernized hotels and resorts that feel like just like home! While that sounds great to some people, my question is-why bother to travel if you want to feel like you’re at home? Just save yourself the money and stress and stay home! I’m not suggesting you forgo a safe place to spend the night, or that the luxuries you’re used to are bad. No way, I’m as high maintenance as they come, and proud of it. What I am saying is-while I’m sure the restaurant at your hotel is delicious, I bet the ones outside the resort grounds that the locals go to is better. Take a walk, and get a little lost. Don’t be afraid to explore.
3. Embrace The Culture.
This goes along with #2, but totally deserves it’s own point! My favorite thing about traveling is learning about new cultures and traditions first hand. My boyfriend and I are total foodies, so our favorite way to experience new cultures is by trying the local food. Sure, we had great french fries and pancakes at our hotel (not at the same time, although I totally would :)) but we specifically devoted a few hours one day to hunting down authentic Costa Rican cuisine. It was yummy, but what made it even better was that it was literally a piece of culture-everything from where we ate, how we ordered and what it tasted like was so organic to Costa Rica.
On this note, if you’re traveling to a foreign country, attempt to learn the language. Honestly, I’m such a perfectionist and I hate sounding stupid, so I was pretty shy when speaking in Spanish. Soon I began to realize that the only one who thought I sounded stupid was me, and I needed to get over it. The local people are so appreciative when you just try to communicate with them, and hand gestures are very helpful as well..but only nice ones, of course!