How to Easily Get the Best Out of Your Next Holiday

It is probably stating the obvious, but most people love to take holidays. They plan them months or even a year or more in advance, then dream about them and anticipate their getaway as the time gets nearer and nearer. This is totally understandable, as unfortunately many people are not always doing the job that they love, or even worse, they downright hate their work.

Holidays are a way to escape from the norm and are the perfect opportunity to forget about the humdrum boredom of normal day to day life such as the daily commute, sitting in a miserable office for eight hours, dealing with workplace politics and having to the listen to the same monotonous conversations with colleagues.

Málaga, Spain

Even if you truly love your work and are generally enjoying life, a vacation to see and experience somewhere new is never a bad thing. The very best jobs can become stressful from time to time, so getting away is a chance to reset, free your mind from worry and also de-stress.

In fact, there are a number of significant scientific reasons why vacations are good for your health that cannot be ignored! They are also a great opportunity to reconnect with family or friends or to discover a new place solo and meet new people.

The problem is, holidays sometimes fail to live up to expectations. The trip flies by and before you know it you are back at your office desk trying to recall what you even got up to! This is because too often people waste their week or so abroad, lounging by the hotel pool topping up their tan and reading a book, eating at the hotel almost every meal, sitting in boring bars or even worse, glued to their mobile scrolling through Facebook or watching Netflix.

Of course, by all means, enjoy the accommodation you’re staying at; you paid for it after all. On the other hand, wherever you have decided to travel to, there is undoubtedly so much more to see and experience outside of your room. So to save you from an unmemorable trip, here are some tips on how to easily get the best out of your next holiday:

Find Out Which Local Excursions or Activities You Can Do

Holidays are great for relaxing and escaping from the stress of work and everyday life, but you probably want to have experiences to look back on that made the holiday stand out. If not you run the risk of wondering why you spent all that money heading abroad, when you could have just gone to your local spa or spent a week relaxing at home. 

It always feels good to have a bit of a tan after your holiday and get some much-needed vitamin D from the sun (especially if you are on a winter getaway from freezing Northern Europe), but spending all day everyday roasting in the sun on the beach or by the pool is unhealthy and a guaranteed way to make your skin age quicker, plus of course once you get home the tan will quickly fade.

Instead, why not go for a mixture of relaxation by the pool, at the beach or at the hotel spa, combined with other days spent trying out local excursions or activities. These can either be adrenaline-fuelled such as paragliding or parasailing, energetic like sea kayaking or hiking through beautiful scenery, or even a sedate but interesting guided tour such as a wine tasting tour, a visit to a location of interest like an amazing historical building, or a sailing trip out on the ocean waves to see the amazing wildlife!

If you decide to stay at a hotel or resort, these will often work with different excursion companies so they can recommend which ones to take and even book them for you. Alternatively, if you decide to find your accommodation through a site like Airbnb, you can browse from a huge number of different experiences, or make use of one of Airbnb's latest features: Airbnb Adventures! Added to this it is very easy to research online these days through sites such as TripAdvisor which are the best local activities to try so there really is no excuse not to try something different on your next holiday.

Rent a Car or Take Public Transport and Go Exploring Yourself

As well as booking excursions with companies, another great option is to rent a car or hop on public transport such as the local bus service and go off and explore the local attractions around your hotel. With a car, you have the freedom to discover so much more about the area where you are staying, by heading wherever the road takes you.

By doing a bit of research online on travel blogs, TripAdvisor, search engines and social media you can easily find some amazing local attractions to check out. The reception staff where you are staying or owner of the accommodation you have booked will more than likely be able to point you to some of the best places to go, including hidden gems that aren’t necessarily on the typical tourist trail.

If you are a bit nervous about driving abroad, most countries across Europe have excellent public transport, especially local bus services. You will be able to reach many of the top attractions by taking the bus which will also be a lot cheaper than renting a car, a little less stressful and of course, much more sustainable.

Even just by walking out of the place you are staying, you will often be able to discover some amazing things, many of which are not advertised. It can often be just by going off on an unplanned walk that you find the most interesting sights which turn out to be the most memorable parts of a holiday such as a hidden beach cove, an amazing local restaurant down a small side street or wonderful shop selling incredible hand-made items. The main thing is, go exploring because you never know what you might find! 

Try the Local Restaurants, Food, and Drink

With many hotels and resorts offering such great quality at their own restaurants, it’s understandable why many people choose to eat the majority of their meals on-site. Alternatively, many self-catering accommodation options offer fantastic cooking facilities within the apartments, so you can also prepare a fully home-cooked meal within your apartment, like your own home away from home.

While it is great to do this some of the time while you are away, it’s also great to try out some of the local restaurants serving local food and drink. Cuisine forms a massive part of local culture, so to really connect with the country you are staying in you should definitely sample some of the traditional delicacies. 

It may seem strange, but it is so common to see in many holiday destinations, that different nationalities stick to their own cuisine. So even for example if British people do go outside of their resort to eat, many of them end up in a British owned bar or restaurant and eat what they would normally eat back at home.

This isn’t exclusive to the British either with Germans, French and many other nationalities doing the same thing. While change can be a scary thing, I definitely advise trying some of the delicious local cuisines you will find in other countries. You never know, you may discover your new favourite dish on your next holiday.

Learn Some of the Local Language

Another simple change that can really enhance your holiday experience is by learning even just a little bit of the local language. I'm not saying you need to become an expert in another language before you can enjoy being abroad, but at least try to learn words such as hello, goodbye, please, thank you, the names of some of the food and drink and other basics. 

This really goes a long way with helping to connect with the local people that you come into contact with while on holidays such as shop assistants, reception staff, and waiters and waitresses. A lot of the time, especially in highly touristic destinations, many people will speak multiple languages such as English, German and French as well as their own language, but being able to say a couple of the basic words will often please them by showing you’re not just like every other tourist. 

Many people when they go abroad, especially those who speak major global languages such as English, assume they go up to almost anyone and just start speaking in say English and everyone should be able to understand them. This is both fairly ignorant and rude and makes you stick out much more as a tourist. 

Because of this, your connection with locals will be on a much more superficial level and they, in turn, may treat you in a less friendly manner. It is great to show you have at least tried to learn a few words as it displays more respect which will likely make local people you interact with feel more receptive towards you. It’s a win-win situation. 

Be Prepared But Don’t Over Plan 

It’s great to be prepared when you travel such as alerting your bank before you go abroad, so they don’t think there is suspicious activity on your card if you use it, making sure your mobile is fully charged before you go out each day, bringing plug adaptors so you can plug in your electronics, taking a local guide book or downloading one on your phone and other similar things. These are all so your holiday goes smoothly and helps cut down on stress.

On the other hand, if you try and plan every last detail and what you will be doing every hour of every day you are on your trip, this is likely to make the trip both boring and stressful. This can also cause strain between couples, families or friends if one person wants to plan every detail and the other would prefer to go with the flow.

While everyone has a different personality, I would definitely recommend being more relaxed and seeing what comes your way on your holiday. Don’t treat it like another work week where everything has to be scheduled. Instead, see this as a great opportunity to enjoy the freedom and the ability to enjoy new experiences every day.

Of course, this doesn’t mean you have to trek off into the jungle with just your backpack, but it does mean not stressing if one day you planned to go and see a certain local attraction but then changing your mind last minute because something better came up. Be flexible and remember that life very rarely goes exactly to plan, so why bother trying to over plan every minute detail of your trip?

Hopefully, this article has given you some ideas on how to get the best out of your next holiday, so you can avoid coming home disappointed by a boring week in which the most memorable thing that happened was forgetting to put sun cream on and getting burnt. 

If you enjoyed this post make sure to share it on social media and with your friends and family who are planning their holidays for next year. Let me know in the comments below what are your top tips for getting the best out of your holidays. Enjoy your next trip and thanks for reading! 

If you are interested in how to travel in a more environmentally friendly way, then take a look at my recent post about how to travel more sustainably

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