10. Become spontaneous and book a trip with no planning.
There is something really empowering and exciting about being impulsive. Instead of reading for months about a specific country or destination, rely on your senses and become part of local culture while you are there. This way, preconceived notions won’t influence your perception of your travel destinations. What’s the worst thing that could happen – having to ask a local for directions??
9. Travel to countries that speak another language than your own.
True backpacking involves language translation. Break up your travel routine by hitting up some countries that barely speak your language. You will get an interesting perspective from the outside looking in. You will always remember that hilarious conversation where you never understood a single word that the person was saying. If you need a computer, phone or tablet to translate restaurant menus or street signs then you are in the right spot.
8. Pick your destinations from a hat.
Select five or six destinations that you have never been to before and commit to whichever one you randomly select. Frontier travellers will really get a thrill out of this approach to travelling.
7. Don’t arrange accommodation before you arrive.
Let’s admit it – booking accommodation online is super convenient, but it takes away from the experience of finding that perfect little guesthouse that suits your preferences. Finding accommodation on foot can be really rewarding in terms of saving money and immersing yourself into the local bidding circle. It’s amazing some of the promotional tactics that you will encounter during your search for a suitable place.
6. Leave your guidebook at home.
Guidebooks can really help when it comes to transport connections and pinpointing the prime sites to see. However, if you always rely on guidebooks to navigate cities then you may miss some of the most authentic corners that truly display the day-to-day life of the local people. Once you leave your guidebook at home you immediately have to interact more with the locals in order to actively research what you need to do next.
5. Set a budget goal for your trip.
Tourists always wonder how expensive their next country will be in comparison to the ones they have already seen. Try to see how long you can last in a country on a set budget. For instance, “I’ve got five days in Laos, let’s see if $120 US is sufficient?” Setting a budget will force you to actively seek out un-touristy restaurants with local dishes and promote you to choose homestays with local families. Ultimately, you will save money and the money you do spend will go to the people who need it most.
4. Meet 3 new locals per day.
It’s truly shocking how many tourists go to foreign countries without even conversing with a single local other than waiters at restaurants. Ask some of the locals what their favourite local foods are? Were they raised in the same city that they are presently working in? What are the underrated tourist sites to see in the vicinity? Make a habit of speaking to local people on every trip and you will be surprised how much more rewarding your trip will suddenly become.
3. Travel only with Public Transport.
I know it’s easy and super convenient to rent a car or arrange a guided tour during your holiday. Fewer decisions equates to less stress. If stress and time are not issues for you, then hop on some local buses and other forms of public transport like jeepneys, tuk tuks and ferries. Besides saving some serious cash, you will appreciate what the local people have to do on a daily basis in order to get by. In developed countries, local buses provide an excellent way to get the feel for a city for a fraction of the cost of a guided tour.
2. Try a new adventure sport or activity.
Bungee jumping, diving, jet skiing, rappelling and deep sea fishing are only a few of the various activities out there than can get your adrenaline pumping. Just be sure to bring along a reliable video camera to capture this out-of-character experience.
1. Only order food that you haven’t heard of before.
Select a restaurant that is much different from what you are accustomed to eating at. Then select a drink, main and dessert that you have never heard of or tried before. If you have allergies or strict food preferences then you may want to ask a few questions if you know what I mean. If you really want to be extreme, specifically select a small, local restaurant that has no photos on its menu. This way, your taste buds won’t be the only things that are surprised!