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Five Ways to Shake Up Your Summer Travel Routine

Grace Lower | Jun 21, 2018

girl-in-a- kayak-on-a-lake-holding-an-oar

The word “vacation” usually evokes images of family fun, fruity drinks, and lazy afternoons at the beach. While it’s lovely to daydream about a glamorous summer escape, let’s face it: vacations can be surprisingly stressful.

After months of juggling the demands of day-to-day life, a summer vacation carries a certain necessity to not just be “good enough,” but to be completely relaxing and endlessly entertaining. With so many expectations surrounding a few days away, it’s tempting to stick with tried-and-true travel plans. After all, returning to the same location, or traveling with the same group, can keep the stress of planning at bay. But what happens when what was once a timeless travel tradition starts to feel a little stale?  

My recommendation? Try something new! It can be as simple as sampling a new restaurant or as daring as booking a last-minute flight to a far-off destination. While some summer travel traditions are meant to be upheld year after year, others are meant to be expanded or even broken. Give yourself permission to experiment. To help you get started, here are a few painless ways to rekindle that spirit of adventure.  

1. Learn from the experts 

One of the most underutilized travel resources is local knowledge — and the beauty of travel is that you can find an expert wherever you go. Before embarking on your next trip, consider a topic that you’d like to learn more about, like dancing, food, recreation, or fashion. Next, spend some time researching. Find out whether your destination has classes, tours, or public spaces dedicated to your subject of choice. Once you decide on an option that could be incorporated into your trip, you’re all set to begin learning! 

If you’re not sure where to start, services like Airbnb Experiences allow travelers to tour a city with a local expert and learn more about their guide’s area of expertise. Other expert-driven experiences might include touring an art gallery with a resident artist, attending a tasting session with a local chef or winemaker, or even learning to surf from a pro. No matter what you want to learn, someone somewhere is out there to help. 

2. Add an adrenaline rush 

While there’s certainly nothing wrong with a relaxation-centered vacation, why not push yourself to try something daring? A new, fast-paced experience is guaranteed to make your trip so much richer. Whether you’re zip lining through the jungle, riding motorcycles down mountain roads, or parasailing along the coast, a little bit of adrenaline can create memories that last a lifetime. Of course, for your safety, make sure to do plenty of research beforehand. Understand the risks, choose a reputable service, and look into travel medical insurance plans, in case something unexpected happens. Then hold on tight for the adventure of a lifetime! 

3. Sample local food and drink 

One of the easiest ways to fall in love with a destination is to sample as much local food as you can. Even if you’re not a particularly adventurous eater, ordering simple staple foods will help you feel more connected to your vacation spot (trust me: rice-, bread-, or corn-based dishes are practically everywhere). If you get the chance, take a culinary risk by ordering something you wouldn’t normally try. Don’t let an odd ingredient, an unusual spice combination, or an unfamiliar texture hold you back — you could be one bite away from discovering your new favorite food! If your vacation spot isn’t particularly exotic, don’t despair. A quick visit to a hole-in-the wall restaurant or a beloved local bar will help you discover those elements that make your destination one-of-a-kind. 

4. Switch up your accommodations

These days, most popular travel destinations are brimming with options for accommodations. Before booking your usual hotel, try researching other accommodations in the area — you might be surprised by what you discover. Take a chance by switching up your hotel brand, booking a rental property, or trying a service like Airbnb for the first time. You might be surprised at how a change in scenery can reshape your entire trip. Before you book, make sure to double-check the location, the safety of the area, and any reviews. Once you’re satisfied, go ahead and take the leap! You might just find your new happy place. 

5. Bring someone new

When planning a trip, you’re usually focused on your destination. But you might be surprised by how much your travel companions, or lack thereof, impact your vacation. This travel season, take a chance and invite someone new to join you. This person may be someone you know well, but have never traveled with, or they could be someone you’d like to know better. Ultimately, your travel companions will shape your experience, and if you’re lucky, you’ll benefit from the perspective they lend. While vacations might be called “getaways”, they have an amazing tendency to bring people closer together.  

About the Author

Grace Lower

Grace Lower has a love for all things writing and travel. When she's not exploring new places, Grace enjoys teaching English as a Second Language, making terrible puns, and running incredibly long distances at incredibly slow speeds.

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