“Travelling is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
And I completely agree with this. There is something about travelling the world, experiencing things you have never seen or done before, interacting with people across the globe, exploring streets and markets of a new place, watching sunsets and sunrises, walking around the town and relishing local cuisines. The feeling is something I can never describe in words, but feel every time I visit a new place and, I am sure each one of you might have felt the same while you travel.
My hubby and me recently went for a trip to Scotland and Northern Ireland from Southampton, UK, where we are based from past three months. I remember there was a time when we were planning our trip to UK from India and I desperately wanted a Schengen visa, because I wanted to see Paris and Switzerland and Amsterdam. But fate has something else in store for me, infact for both of us. Our UK visa came just in nick of time and we had no time to apply for Schengen. Not to mention, I was unhappy. But today when I came back from this fabulous trip to Scotland and Northern Ireland, I must say I have absolutely no regrets. Infact I am thankful that we couldn’t get a Schengen, else we would have missed huge in life. My love for Paris and Amsterdam still continues but Scotland and Northern Ireland is something beyond I ever thought of. Beautiful highlands, lochs, coastal routes, mountains, castles, white beaches, rocky shores, blue waters, tempting food and warm people. There is nothing you won’t love about these places, they are just dreamy and straight out of fairy tales.
In my upcoming blogs I would be writing about each and every place we visited and my experience, about this lovely voyage of ours. However there are few things, which we always do to make our travel more comfortable, memorable and prolific. I would like you all to know and may be incorporate all those tips next time you travel. They might help planning a more fruitful vacay next time.
First, we always discover the city on foot. That way we never miss anything native like food, markets, architecture or anything. There is no point in taking a cab or using public transport inside the city, as you won’t be able to experience the real vibes of a place. While you walk you meet people, talk to them, sightsee places, which might not be in your agenda but find on your way strolling through busy streets and quiet boulevards. Also this is an excellent to know about local restaurants, pubs, bars, markets, what they are famous for and what’s the best. For us it has been like this right from our honeymoon days in Italy. And we never regretted. It’s one of the reason we still remember roads and corners of every city we visited there. So next time you want to be a part of the place you travel just pack your bag, tie your laces, grab a city map and you are good to go. You will have the best time of your life.
Secondly, try to be more open to food. Come out of your comfort zone. Don’t try locating a restaurant serving your kind of food wherever you land. Find out about various local cuisines and try them. The real essence of any place lies in its food. It will help you understand their culture, their customs, and their place in a better way. Many of us are strict vegetarians, which leave fewer options open, but still every place has something vegetarian to offer as well. Just pop in and ask them.
Build your itinerary in such a way that you make most of a particular place or country. There is no point visiting number of places or countries but exploring nothing. Spend time at each place, discover, experience and interact with people around. Even if it means visiting one country or place at a time.
Whenever we plan a trip, we always make sure to do a preliminary research about places we plan to visit. We make sure to book any important and not to be missed things beforehand, so that we won’t regret later. We make a to do list or a bucket list of activities we want to do or places we want to visit. We make a note of all important travelling dates and schedules in a diary, which we carry all the time. We also note down important bus numbers, bus routes and taxi contact numbers, so that we can easily commute from airport to home or hotel. Sometimes we don’t have an internet connection as soon as we land and we end up panicking, running around and wasting time in searching options. So it’s best to do a little research before you travel and save on time and energy.
Try being a part of any kind of cultural festivals or fairs ongoing in the city. Try visiting a restaurant or a pub where they have local bands performing. Try attending theatres if you like them, as in abroad you have really nice plays and dramas going on every time. And believe me they are awesome. Not just enjoyable, but informative and a chance to soak in the culture of every place you are visiting.
Never hesitate in spending some more money on guided tours. Sometimes we might reach the place, but won’t be able to see just everything that place has to offer. In such cases guided tours are really good. They not only help you reach some of the difficult places easily, but also provide information, which you won’t be able to find anywhere else. Like on our trip to Scotland, we took guided tours for Cairngorms National Park and Isle of Skye. And we actually came to know about things, which we had no idea of. Our guide told us everything from the history of the place to modern day amendments. From local food habits to their language people speak. He told us where exactly to find what. He played Scottish music on the way, which was so much fun. And told us about famous Scottish bands. So there is no harm in booking a tour for some places, hopping on a bus and discovering much more than you know.
Airbnb is a fantastic option if you are on a budget travel or want some place to stay close to local people. You might find homes well within your budget right in the heart of city. If you are sharing the house with owner, you have a great chance of knowing the local stuff and if sharing with other tourists, great chance to interact with people all across the world. We shared our bnb with a lovely elderly Italian couple, and they were so warm and kind. Also in bnb you have the facilities for cooking, incase you are carrying an infant or elderly person along.
Make sure you check weather updates every day before you leave from home or hotel. Weather here is really unpredictable, it might be sunny now and pouring another moment. In that case checking weather reports will help you pack your bags accordingly and carry all necessary things like umbrella, sunglasses, hats, sunscreens, water bottles and so on.
And the last thing!! Wherever you go, don’t forget to buy a souvenir. Doesn’t matter what you buy, and doesn’t have to be really expensive and huge. A small magnet or keychain will do the trick and you will have something to keep your travel alive forever.
So just these tiny little things will surely make your trip awesome and the way you wanted it to be. Comfortable, happening, lively and unforgettable.
After all what you gain from travelling round the world is real knowledge and wisdom. And you want it to be just prefect!!