Travel is awesome. Seeing new places, experiencing new things, meeting new people, there’s really nothing better. When it’s time to return home, make sure you’ve gathered plenty of pictures, maybe some souvenirs, and collected enough travel memories that will last a lifetime. Here are some tips to make your travels even more memorable.
- Speedrun the must-sees
- Use your camera creatively
- Digital tools are your friends
- Try to meet people
- Music helps you make memories
Check the must-see places quickly
Every destination has its unavoidable ‘must-sees’. You can’t very well visit Paris for the first time and not get a good look of the Eiffel tower, but get ready for swarms of tourists, swindlers, and disappointment. Consider the timing of your visit: there will be fewer people around at sunrise, at night, or in the pouring rain. Plus, it makes a great story to tell, and a memory to cherish.
We suggest checking all the obligatory stuff off the list, and then go explore. Wander around, get a bit lost, that’s the real adventure. The thrill of discovering something interesting yourself is much more memorable than posing in front of a tourist crowd anyway.
Get creative with your media
After you’ve taken that picture of yourself standing in front of the panorama to show your mom, take another one and get silly with it. Pose like nobody’s watching (you’ll probably never see those other tourists again anyway). Or if you’re the artistic type, try a different angle, experiment with the shot, focus on an easily overlooked detail, …
Creative pictures stand out in your memory (and on social media, scoring you some sweet internet points) and the act itself can be a very nice memory too.
Just make sure that you don’t destroy anything while you’re being eccentric. Don’t trample on flower beds, harass bystanders, or desecrate anything. As much as we encourage out-of-the-box craziness and kooky nonsense… a war memorial might not be the best place for it.
Technology is your friend
This is the digital age, and you’d be a fool for not taking advantage of that.
Besides the obvious Google Maps, one of our favorite travel resources is WikiTravel. It shows all the transportation options (how to get in, get out, and get around), cultural differences you might want to be mindful of, and pointers on how to stay safe during your travels (including LGBT+ friendliness).
If you like some more direction, AllTrails is an app that shows walking routes nearby and categorizes them by difficulty, time and length. A great way to find both relaxing nature trails and exciting city walks.
A more barebones approach would be looking for .gpx file online. These little fellas are GPS data formats that describe waypoints, tracks and routes all over the world. You can often find these on the websites of tourist centers or other specialized travel websites. Google the place you are visiting and include .gpx in your search, you may find some interesting results! All you need now is a .gpx viewer like ‘GPX viewer for android’.
There are so many travel apps out there, we could just keep going. So instead of giving long lists of apps, here are some links to others who did just that: check out these articles from Digital Trends, The Points Guy, Nomadic Matt, and The Queen of Recommending Stuff: Oprah.
A word of warning: Tripadvisor, once a reliable go-to resource for any traveler, has a rating system that can be abused. They started marking suspicious information in red, but watch out for any shady business (good tip for anything online really).
But you know what the best app is? DJEO!
Connect with locals
Nobody better to show you around than a local. They can take you to the most beautiful sights, the best spots to eat, the coolest places to party. In more exotic destinations, they can act as a translator and explain the local customs (to spare you some embarrassment).
A human connection can stay with you for a long time. A hilarious guide, a random encounter that turns into an unlikely friendship, a vacation crush (maybe even fling), … those are travel memories that last.
There are sites/apps that help you connect with local inhabitants who can give you a tour, or provide more information before you travel to their home country or city, such as Like A Local Guide. Another personal favorite is CouchSurfing, which lets you contact locals who might have a place for you to stay, free of charge. If you do, be a kind guest and bring a little something to give your host as a thank you, that’s always appreciated.
Music Makes Memories, incl travel memories
Have you ever listened to a song you haven’t heard in ages, and all at once you are transported to a very specific time and place? Music does that to us, it’s a very common experience, and it’s another way to make your travel memories last.
Before you leave, you could compile playlists with specific moods that fit the destination. Will you be lounging on a sunny beach, hiking through the mountains, or visiting a bustling city? You’re in charge of the soundtrack to your travels, so choose fitting songs to enhance your experience.
And when you’re on location, keep your ears open for some new tunes. Hear a song you like? Shazam it! Look up artists from your destination, maybe attend a concert, ask locals to add to your Spotify playlist, buy that second-hand record with the weird album art.
Keep collecting songs and by the time you get back home, you’ll have a playlist that will forever remind you of your travels. Any time you feel like going back, close your eyes and put on your headphones (and maybe shed a little tear because travel memories are nice… but they can’t beat the real thing).
TL ; DR
If you’re lucky enough you can travel, do it as much as you can, it really is amazing. Get the obligatory stuff over and done with fast, so the real fun can start. Try to connect with locals, even if you’re an introvert. There are many digital resources to help you out, so take advantage of those. Don’t hold back and get a little crazy taking pictures now and then, it’s worth it. Never underestimate the power of music, they can make travel memories last forever and ever and ever and ever.
Want to make your travels hella memorable? Try DJEO!