For our first trip to Europe we wanted to get the most out of the little time we had there. We had 21 days and a budget, and we could choose anywhere to go. How can you benefit the most from a trip when there is no guarantee you will be able to visit that area again?
Here are 5 ways to get the most out of a trip:
STRIVE TO GO TO NON-TOURISTY PLACES
Obviously, touristy places are beautiful and have some great things to offer. That’s why tourists go there. But there are some major downsides to touristy places, and it mostly has to do with people and price. The crowds of touristy places are inconvenient to say the least. Lines are longer, restaurants are filled, and it is harder to do the things you enjoy. Plus, locals recognize the money making potential and raise their prices, and thieves take advantage as well. In Europe my family and I did go to touristy places like Cinque Terre in Italy and the Oktoberfest in Germany, but my favorite places were the small towns and villages where no tourist was in sight.
EAT LOCAL FOOD
One of the best ways to get acquainted with a place is to eat the food that locals eat. At the very least try it. In European countries food differs even within the country itself. So try to explore a variety of local foods. When my family and I went on a cruise to Sweden, Estonia, Russia and Finland we tried the local food in each country. Everything was so different but extremely delicious. Food is culture, so the more you eat the more cultured you’ll be.
TAKE YOUR TIME
Every person has a different opinion about how to take advantage of a short trip. Some say that you should stay in one place the entire time. Others say that you should go to as many places as possible. After our 21 day vacation in Europe, I think that you should go to different places but take your time in each location. For example, we went to Cinque Terre, in Italy, for 2 days. We were able to see each of the 5 cities connected by train. However, it would have been more enjoyable to stay 1 or 2 days longer and to spend more time doing something we really enjoyed in each city. So, even if it means skipping out on one extra place to go, it’s worth it to take your time doing something you really enjoy.
LEARN THE HISTORY
What defines a country or city is the history. Not all people like history as much as I do, but while on your trip, if you learn one interesting tidbit of history about the place you are visiting you will come to appreciate the place even more. Plus, you will have more things to talk about when you return from your trip. In many cities free walking tours are available. We tried to get a walking tour at each place we went to in Europe.
ASK ASK ASK
The fifth way to really enjoy a trip is to ask questions. The locals know the best places to see and the best places to eat. So, ask whoever you can! Locals know the “hidden gems”, and they know the inexpensive places to go that are still very beautiful.
Some things to ask:
which place should we not leave without seeing?
what place would you suggest we see?
what restaurant has good food at a reasonable price?
If you follow these 5 things, you will enjoy your trip greatly. If you aren’t able to return to a specific location, you will know that you got the most out of it as possible. I hope you all get to enjoy your wonderful vacations and make the most out of them!
Written by Ashley