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Try a Scavenger Hunt for Your Next Trip

Grace Lower | Feb 1, 2021

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When I was growing up, scavenger hunts were all the rage. In fact, my own thirteenth birthday centered around an elaborately crafted mall scavenger hunt, complete with ridiculous photo shoots and an ill-fated cosmetic counter makeover. These days, scavenger hunts aren’t limited to grainy flip-phone pictures and 10-second videos. Hilarious content can be captured in real-time with the mere tap of a phone screen. Throw in Google Maps, and the scavenger hunt possibilities are endless! 

What I love most about scavenger hunts is that they force you to be spontaneous: to break outside of your comfort zone, and to pay attention to what’s around you. And when you think about it, isn’t that what travel is all about? With summer travel season fast-approaching, I’m planning to reignite my childhood love of scavenger hunts by incorporating challenges into my itinerary. Not only will the hunt keep me on my toes, but I’m bound to capture a few great photos and make lots of memories along the way. Here’s are the challenges I intend to tackle when I’m on the road: 

Easy Challenges

1. Take a set of silly photos in front of a well-known landmark.
2. Send three postcards to three of your favorite people.
3. Visit an art museum and take a photo with the piece that looks the most like you.
4. Ask a local resident for a dining recommendation.
5. Take a picture on top of the highest point of the city — whether that’s a skyscraper, a church tower, or a really big hill.
6. Buy something from a local artist, then ask them to take a photo with their handiwork.
7. Stop by a very specific museum, like a Sponge Museum, a Sign Museum, or a Museum of Magic.
8. Memorize one new and very obscure fact..
9. Toss a coin into every fountain you find, and make the wish of your choice.
10. Go to the grocery store and pick up ingredients for a picnic. Enjoy your meal in a public space — preferably with family or friends.
11. Order junk food from a street-vendor.

Intermediate Challenges

1. Capture a video of yourself trying an unusual food.
2. Request a well-known song from a busker, then take a video of their cover (make sure to tip them generously).
3. Travel by four different forms of transportation.
4. Visit a cultural event or festival, and learn one new thing about the residents of your destination.
5. Spend 24 hours without using your phone: no social media, no GPS, and no games.
6. Go on a ghost tour — or any other activity that features local folklore.
7. Film the highlights of your afternoon and narrate your experience as if you were on a travel TV show.
8. Snap a selfie with an unusual local animal (safely, of course!).
9. Order some type of food that comes on a stick.
10. Go on a tasting-tour. Whether that’s wine tasting, cheese tasting, dessert tasting, or barbeque tasting, the choice is yours!

Advanced Challenges

1. Capture a video of someone local teaching you a phrase in their native language (or, if you’re in an English-speaking country, try to learn a new piece of local slang).
2. Find a sporting event to attend, and for the time you’re there, become a super-fan.
3. Go to a concert at a small, local venue, and get an autograph from a member of the band.
4. Try an adrenaline-pumping activity, like bungee jumping, parasailing, or skiing. 
5. Visit a spa, a salon, or a barbershop, and treat yourself to a bit of pampering.
6. Find a way to give back to the local community through volunteering.
7. Spell your name with photos! Find the letters in signs, menus, or books.
8. Write and perform a song about your destination.
9. Bring your own art supplies, and sketch a building or scene that inspires you.
10. Ask someone local to tell you where you can find the most beautiful part of town —then add it to your itinerary, no questions asked!

If you’re planning to incorporate a scavenger hunt into your next set of travel plans, save the spontaneity for the hunt itself. In other words, plan ahead to make sure everything on your list is both feasible and low-risk. Before diving into the game, make sure you’re traveling to an area where you can safely try new things or even draw a bit of attention to yourself. No matter how much fun you’re having, stay aware of your surroundings at all times. And if you plan to try anything risky, like a new sport or high-intensity activity, buy a solid travel health insurance plan to protect you. With all the necessary precautions in place, you can focus on having fun. 

Scavenger hunts can be a fantastic source of competition, but what they really provide is a creative way to explore a destination. Travel cannot, and should not, be done in a vacuum. Use your challenges to meet new people, venture off the beaten path, and embrace the possibilities that await!

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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