When you’re young, just starting your career and barely making rent, traveling isn’t one of the things you’d normally be putting aside money for. But with seat sales left and right, and with cheap, shared accommodations getting better (and not to mention, cooler), traveling has become something millennials are striving to do more and more.
Now, while you’re at it, here are a few things we strongly suggest you do.
You don’t need to go too far for adventure and wonder.
“Go on a Euro trip” is an entry that you’ll see in many millennials’ bucket lists. While there’s nothing wrong with that, most Pinoys overlook that the Philippines has its fair share of incredible attractions that many haven’t even experienced. Not only are most of these attractions a one-hour flight away, it’s the best way to get to know and love your own country.
Dive face first into the local culture.
Meet, befriend, and argue with the locals. Interacting with a foreign place’s people is the best way to get acquainted with the local culture. Through these new-found connections, you will learn so much about your destination and will have more substantial reasons to go back.
Choose the locals’ drink of choice rather than your favorite beer then trust the locals’ hangover cure the morning after. In a restaurant, ask your waiter what locals usually order, be brave and get the same thing. Or better yet, sample your destination’s street food.
Generally, try your best to leave what’s familiar, comfortable and expected when you travel.
Take in everything.
See the best of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders and man-made cityscapes and architecture. Listen to conversations spoken with foreign tongues. Leave your diet behind and taste all delicacies locals take pride in (even those that scare you). Feel the pulse of your destination’s nightlife. Smell the aroma of your destination’s bakeries, markets and parks.
Keep your mind as open as possible while you take in all of these, and you’ll find that traveling is one of the most enjoyable ways to broaden your horizon. When you make your itinerary, cover as many categories as you can—food, nature, architecture, public transport, shows/films/exhibits, museums, libraries, markets, and other interest-specific features like skate parks, surfing beaches and bike tracks.
Technology can make the experience better.
Millennials know this well: travel apps, online reviews and deal alerts—they are your weapons. Don’t be a lazy planner because you’ll regret it when you’re already in your dream destination with no idea what to do and where to go.
Take advantage of technology to ensure that your trip is as comfortable, enjoyable and efficient as possible. Look for the cheapest (not sketchiest) accommodations, the must-try restaurants and the most convenient modes of transportation. You can’t point fingers if you end up with a less than amazing travel experience. You can maybe blame bad Internet connection for a minute, though.
If things don’t go as expected, take a deep breath and don’t let that ruin your trip. With all your preparation, there’s bound to be some sort of information or application that can help you get out of the travel mess.
But, sometimes the best plan is no plan.
Travel brings you the best opportunity to avoid routine and monotony that usually come with work or school. Don’t bring things that are lethal to your free spirit with you. During your trip, make sure to have at least a few moments when you can let your hair down and get your feet dirty.
So, you might want to skip a strict guided tour. Instead, you can just explore and see where your feet (and map app) will take you.
Travel alone at least once.
There’s nothing like being immersed in a totally new environment by yourself. You’re in total control of what to do, what to see, where to eat and who to talk to. You’ll have no one else to count on for directions and decisions; it will get scary sometimes, but also extremely empowering. You’ll find that your thoughts make pretty good company, and you’ll go home liking and believing in yourself a little more, ready for whatever and wherever life takes you.
Take something with you.
Aside from the usual souvenirs like key chains, magnets, shirts and food allowed in the airport, make sure to take home even more valuable keepsakes. Think about about friendships, skills, realizations and ultimately, an improved, more experienced version of yourself.
To be able to bring home these mementos, consider doing these things on your next trip: gather up the courage to talk to locals and other tourists; maybe even buy them a drink for friendship purposes. Take dancing, cooking or crafts classes. Make it a point to reflect on the new environment, the new people you’ve met and the new experiences.
You should also leave something behind.
Tourists visit a new place with preexisting assumptions about the environment and its people; this is only natural. But, after immersing yourself in the local culture, you must leave any specks of prejudice and intolerance that you may have had. This can be challenging, but the people around you will notice a big and positive difference with your improved self when you get home.
Got some tips and realizations from your own adventures? Share your thoughts for fellow millennials!