We millennials are the first generation to value experiences over owning things. Even if it means it’ll take longer to break six figures in our bank account, we’ll go on that backpacking trip where we live on $5 a day if it means we can bathe an elephant. I personally love this shift of value and have some tips to help you take advantage of it.
Become a Regular
If I’m lucky enough to be in one area for extended periods of time, I make it a point to frequent a local, intimate spot. You can become a regular for a week, glimpse and hopefully even become a part of the day to day lives of the people that call that place their home. I’ve experienced so many kind offers, whether it’s simply conversation, recommendations, or even taking me somewhere to show me around!
Get out of the City
Every city has a similar bustling quality, so try to go to the quieter fringes, whether that be the countryside or mountains.
Do Some Flirting
There’s something romantic about knowing you’re going to leave soon and what you’re experiencing is kind of a suspended period of time. Everyone dreams about meeting a dreamboat, but thanks to handy dating apps you very easily can! Of course proceed with caution on this one, and make sure you focus on staying present in YOUR trip. My group and I had a great time, always using the buddy system. Even if the dates didn’t pan out, it was a fun bonding experience and we got some great stories out of it.
Often times we’re so busy when traveling that it’s hard to make a deep connection, especially in such a short period of time. This is something that’s best when you let it happen naturally, but I promise, a dried flower that caught your eye or an oddly beautiful menu from the restaurant near where you stayed will somehow trump the average plastic keychain or postcard.
Lose the Itinerary and (Sometimes) Skip the Landmarks
Try to go places where you can sit and absorb, not just be shuffled around in a huge crowd for your turn to snap the shot that proves you were there. And please do not go to the hottest nightclub in the area for that 2 for 1 shot deal – you can party anywhere! I’m all for a good time but there’s something magical about visiting a place and really soaking in what makes it unique, not famous.
I went to London for the summer and was bombarded with offers to go clubbing or to bars since I was a college kid. At first I was bummed I didn't really have the budget for that kind of fun, but it was a blessing in disguise. I'm all for a good time but I'll never forget how I felt when we went to the famous Regent Park and read books that very well could have been written there. Or when I went to the Spaniards Inn and got a tour of the upstairs saloon where people shared ideas and fought out differences, sometimes to the death. Or when I frequented a pub and asked the cute bartender if my friends and I could please take home the giant glass pints that we to this day consider the highlight souvenir of our trip. Did I still go to some tourist spots? Of course, and they were lovely, but they're not what I remember, even if they were what I posted online.
Cover Image by Hana Haley