Whenever I travel, it always amazes me how distant we can feel from others around the world. It doesn’t matter where you go: it’s common to greet strangers with niceties like “hello” and “thank you”, but traveling can still make you feel isolated, unsettled, and small. Here’s some tips as an experienced traveller that struggles with feeling disconnected during the first few days of a trip. Try these tips to help you find a sense of comfort when you’re abroad:
Find What the Locals Like to Do
Sometimes when you go to a place you’ve been dreaming of, it doesn’t feel just like you’ve imagined. If that happens, don’t fret or be disillusioned. Instead, go where the locals go. Some locations are filled with too many tourists. That’s when you’ve got to start sniffing out the local population. It’s okay to head off the beaten track to find what you are seeking!
If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can consider a car hire. It’s the best way to find the hidden gems. Hire a car to discover the charms of Italy or the best dumplings in all of China. Even without a car, you can find the best-kept secrets simply by speaking to someone who lives in or has visited where you’re visiting. An “insider” will be able to give you some great insight into the local hot spots.
If you don’t know anyone in real life who can help, just search some online forums. Sites like Reddit will sometimes have country or city-specific forums. These help locals and tourists alike find fantastic restaurants, events, and promotions happening across a city. If you can discover what the locals love, it may surprise you how quickly you can connect to the atmosphere of a once distant city.
Go on a Guided Tour
While a guided tour may seem contrary to my first tip, it’s a great way to get accustomed to a new environment. Sometimes, the reason we can’t connect to a city is that we simply can’t get our bearings in it. A guided tour in a language you understand can quickly rectify that feeling. It’s awesome to venture out on your own, but if you’re feeling overwhelmed or disconnected from your destination, there is no shame at all in linking up with a touring company. In fact, some of the best trips I’ve taken have been through a tour company.
Another fun tip is to try to tag onto an alternative walking tour, too. Many traditional tours are great for giving you some general sense of direction and establishing a historic understanding of a place. But alternative walking tours show you paths only locals take. Alternative tours are also a fun way to see something unique to wherever you are. Some tours even give you an insight into things like street art in Barcelona or the food culture in Moscow. This little bit of extra knowledge along with a sense of orientation can make you feel like you’re an insider of sorts.
Sometimes, a place doesn’t feel like home when you are traveling because you are worried about doing everything on your to-do list. When you go on holiday, one of the best parts is simply enjoying the destination. But if you are rushing around trying to check off everything on a packed itinerary, you can easily ruin your experience by getting stressed.
Open up to the world around you and remind yourself you can always come back. Simply try to take in everything you see and feel at peace knowing you are experiencing new things. Despite all the novelty, you are sure to feel right at home.