Getting away from it all is always wonderful, but some of us fail to squeeze the very most out of our precious vacationing time. Whether you indulged in a few too many cocktails and ended up with too sore a head to go sightseeing for the day, or spent too long on the hotel’s entertainment to properly enjoy the true culture of the place, there are lots of different reasons why you might not get the maximum enjoyment out of your vacation.
However, there are also plenty of ways to stop that from happening. Here are some of the best methods of making sure you get the most out of your time away.
1. Be Selective About Activities
Choosing activities that you just can’t access at home is a great way to make sure that you get the most quintessentially ‘wherever’ experience your destination can offer. For example, whilst many resort hotels offer a casino, a pool, or an American-style restaurant, they’re all the sorts of things that you could likely find in your hometown too.
If you’re in Las Vegas or Macau then, fair enough, spend some time in the casino! Otherwise, it’s possible to play online at a number of sites that will offer all the games you can think of. Live casino games like the kind PokerStars Casino offers can give you an experience that’s just like a real casino and that you can enjoy on the plane to your destination instead of once you arrive.
On their site, you’ll find blackjack, slots, roulette and poker all delivered in a way that’s incredibly realistic thanks to the use of Virtual Reality technology. It’s just not possible to enjoy viewing a national monument or sitting down to an authentic meal through a website in the same way that it is possible to enjoy other pastimes online. So, pick out the must-see destinations and the tourist experiences you’d most like to enjoy on your holiday and prioritise those above everything else.
2. Seek Out Advice from Seasoned Travellers
If you’re struggling to think of the activities that really encapsulate your holiday destination then do a bit of online research beforehand. Don’t think of this as a chore; instead, think of it as a way to get really excited for what’s to come. Get your travel buddy over and do it together. There are a plethora of ways to find information about potential holiday activities.
YouTube is a great place to start as you’ll be able to find a rundown-style video of just about every destination imaginable. Spend a few minutes flicking through the video and select two or three of the activities that appeal to you the most. Next, take to TripAdvisor and see if the reviews for the activities that you chose stack up with the video that you saw.
It might be whilst browsing through the listings that you see something you hadn’t previously considered that catches your eye. Trust these travellers on their word; they’re only writing these reviews to help out the destinations that deserve it. With that in mind, treat destinations with a small number of reviews with a little caution.
3. Consider Staying with a Host
There are a couple of different reasons why you might want to stay with a host. The first will appeal to anyone who’s counting their coins a little to pay for the vacation and that is: it’s cheaper. Hotels have got huge overheads that they have to cover and also aren’t always fully occupied, meaning that your hotel bill pays not just for everybody’s wages and your own stay, but also the stays that aren’t getting booked. If you book through somewhere like Airbnb then your money goes directly to the host. Not all Airbnb stays have a host that lives in the same building that you’ll be staying in, but the other reason might convince you to choose one that does.
Having a host is a great way to get an insight into what life is actually like in your destination. For example, if you’re a Chicago resident, then you might dissuade your guests from visiting some of the traditional attractions in Chicago and, instead, direct them towards a more authentic experience. It could be that they want to visit a certain pizza joint, but you know one that you think is just a little better and where the queues are much shorter. If you translate that to your own vacation, then you’ll realise that insider knowledge can be really helpful. So, if you haven’t booked your hotel yet, consider staying with a local. You might get some tips that really make your holiday extra special.
4. Get Outside Your Comfort Zone
Whilst relaxing on a sun lounger with a piña colada in your hand is certainly a pleasant way to spend a day, it’s maybe not all that memorable. Part of having a great vacation is making memories that you’ll keep forever and one of the best ways to do this is to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
We remember things that slightly frighten or challenge us because they stick out to our brains. So, instead of opting for a hamburger and chips on your Spanish break, why not choose a squid ink paella, with delicious fresh seafood that you wouldn’t usually be brave enough to try? Or, you could trade in your afternoon on the sun lounger in the Bahamas for a tour around the island on a Segway, or even an off roading buggy.
If you’re heading off on a skiing holiday, then challenge yourself to a more difficult route than normal, or treat yourself to a paragliding experience off the top of one of the pistes. These sorts of experiences are one of a kind and will make beautiful memories to look back on in years to come. Remember to take plenty of photos, too, and actually print them out when you get home, so that you can look at them on something other than a phone screen.