How to best experience a local trip

Carlo Modequillo (The Freeman) - September 22, 2019 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines —  Most people can only afford to travel locally, like to the next town or city. The thing is that local trips don’t seem to give travelers the experience that travelling is supposed to give. Often the nearby destinations simply feel like home.

Travelling, no matter how near, is supposed to give the traveler a different environment. And the traveler is supposed to feel that difference.  If a ‘different’ experience does not come about, it may be that the traveler himself is keeping his distance from the place of destination. 

If a different experience does not come naturally in a place, the traveler may have to go out of his way to search for it. First of all, he has to be careful not to fall into the trap of feeling the same way he feels at home because of closely similar, familiar environments. While a sense of familiarity can be a huge confidence booster when in a new place, too much familiarity can hinder the traveler from experiencing new things.

The best thing about travelling is the different experiences one can get from it. Each destination has its own unique essence and vibe that sets it apart from all the other places. The website www.bonappetour.com shares some ideas on how to immerse oneself in the place he is travelling to:

Travel smart. You cannot plan for a perfect trip, but you can minimize the stress that comes with traveling. Anticipating potential glitches makes it easier to handle them. Pack with convenience in mind; imagine lugging around your stuff using only public transportation wherever you want to go. The less stuff you have with you, the less cumbersome it would be to carry them with you.

Choose accommodations with local ambiance. Homestay is a good option. It is presumably much less expensive and provides opportunities for a more local experience. While hotels offer better comforts, there’s often a lack of the more personal touches that reflect the uniqueness of the town or city.

Embrace the local customs. The whole point of going somewhere is to enjoy a break from your daily routines. Manage your expectations; don't compare the comforts that the place can offer with those at home or in other places you’ve been to. Instead, enjoy the difference and try to adapt.

Visit the neighborhood market and eateries. The local culture is best defined by the displays and people’s behavior seen at the local marketplaces and eateries. A visit to a busy open market can reveal a lot about a place, and it can be one of the best places to go for those who want a more authentic local experience. The local eateries, though, may seem an awkward idea if you consider food hygiene and safety, but street stalls are known to offer some of the tastiest foods there are.

These ideas are just a few of many others that can be tried in order to better immerse the traveler in the place of destination. Other things include learning a handicraft unique to the place, trying one’s hands in a local livelihood activity, or participating in a local game. Things like these can work to expand the traveler’s experience of life.

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