Updated: Mar 30
If you’re anything like me, it rubs you the wrong way to be called a tourist
when you identify more as a traveller.
When venturing abroad, us travellers wander the streets with our instincts to guide us, following local tips, soaking up the uniqueness of the place with all our senses - all the while learning to mispronounce a few words in the native language around tasty food & drink.
As a traveller, I cringe at the thought of being a tourist -
glued to a cellphone screen, depending on apps to suggest where to eat, rushing around and missing the charm, being herded like a sheep on large tours, paying way too much for bad quality food and drinking cheap macro beer.
Most importantly, I refuse to be part of the mass-tourism wave, which holds no interest in protecting the beauty & resources and support a viable long-term economy for the local population. Non merci!
“To travel is to live” – Hans Christian Anderson
Travellers seek the true experience of a place. We LIVE for incredible fleeting moments which can completely take our breath away. The magic of travelling is in the details, the frame of mind in which we make decisions & key factors that ensure that you are ready for terrific moments to happen to you.
Call us old-school or even hipsters; it doesn't matter.
We want to know the place, in our bones. We want the real deal!
Travel has the potential to cultivate one's character, to open one's mind to possibilities, to connect people in unexpected ways, to boost courage and wisdom and to shape individuals into stellar human beings.
Here are tried and tested tips to get your travel-ready
for some of the best moments of your life.
TIPS FOR AUTHENTIC TRAVELS
PART 1: BEFORE THE TRIP
The key is to allow yourself to engage your senses in the real-time moments.
Smell. See. Touch. Taste. Hear. Feel.
These, thankfully, can not be replicated digitally.
1. Get a disposable film camera (or two!)
Pictures are indisputably one of the most effective ways to keep memories alive.
Photo albums, framed pictures and stacks of pictures are some of the most cherished possessions one keeps throughout their life.
It blew my mind, once I started using disposable film cameras, how much more relaxed I became about capturing the moment.
With disposable film cameras, we shift the focus away from being perfectionists & adopt a more soulful approach to keeping a memory of a time and place.
In the end, you’ll have 24+ poses of treasured moments not because you posted them online, but because you hold them in your hands.
Another great thing? The actual film of the camera gives an aesthetic that can not be replicated digitally. It’s analog, a real physical element. It's timeless.
2. Bring a travel notebook
Like many travellers, I like writing down a few notes along the way.
I use mine to write down places I visited, people I meet's contact info, bars & restaurants I loved, the name of the excellent beers I drank, etc. Practical things.
I also record ideas of the mind and soul: inspirations, random thoughts, musings, sketches, things of little or big importance.
Your notebook may become a logbook, a journal or simply a paper companion.
This may also help recount your travel tales factually.
3. Leave the laptop at home
Stress-free about your prized belongings being damaged or stolen.
Lighter weight for bags & luggage.
Keeps you out of non-work mode & out of your daily routine.
4. Collect mailing address
Now, no need to get everyone's address. A handful of close friends &family will do.
Get the full mailing address (postal code and all).
Compile them in a safe place such as your travel notebook or your phone notes.
See why this is crucial to do before you leave in Part Two: During Your Trip
5. Pick ONE music mix & play it on repeat
This tip is one of my personal favorites because it came to me unexpectedly & left me truly surprisingly fulfilled:
During my 3 week trip to Maui Hawaii, someone had lovingly made a playlist playfully called « Hawaii Five O » for me. It was a groovy 20-30 songs mix which I downloaded to my phone (no need for wi-fi or data) which I listened when getting from point A to B; on the bus, in the car, in my room or at the beach. Without realizing it, these songs became the soundtrack to my trip. It strengthened my sense of place & time through sound and music. Now, every time I hear Kinky Reggae by Bob Marley and the Wailers, or Havana Moon by Chuck Berry, I am instantly transported back to cruising a starry sky with palm trees and the sea.
Take the time needed to create a unique travel soundtrack for yourself or pick a ready-made playlist of choice.
Make sure it has different energy levels & that it fits the vibe of where you’re heading to (literally and symbolically).
Needs tips? Refer to the iconic John Cusack mixtape rules from High Fidelity.
6. S l o w . I t . D o w n .
FOMO (fear of missing out) is a real thing my friends. It can cause you to run around without having the time to breathe in what you set out to visit in the first place.
Adopt the wise motto: LESS IS MORE.
Book longer stays in one place & make the most of it.
Plant your roots somewhere accessible & explore with full day or half-day trips.
Resist the urge to try and see all the « top rated » places in a single visit.
Let your schedule be light & breezy; allow time gaps between activities & transport.
Trust the journey and may things unfold as they will.
7. Invest in small group activities & gastronomy tours
Make your entertainment budget count: invest in experiences worthy of your coins.
Skip the over-crowded day-trips, filled with tourists operated by nameless companies solely focused on hitting their sales goals.
Find small-group tours run by companies & people who care.
Support eco-friendly alternatives.
Regardless of social media, focus on the few important activities that matter to YOU. The rest will fall into place.
Must, must, must book gastronomy activities: eat & drink like a local!
Discover non-touristy, awesome experiences like Craft Beer Walking Tours & Street Art Tour. Not only will you meet other international travellers also keen on having a great time but you’ll also get oriented through the city.
On these tours, you're most likely to find guides who are dynamic, passionate, have gusto and the TOP recommendations for your stay. Shower them with raving reviews & tips ( if they did a great job )!
Search for keywords such as "craft beer tour", "food tour", "walking tour", "gastronomy", "small group", "alternative", "eco-tourism" and “non-touristy”.
The delectable moments you will share are worth more than their price. Mm! Mm!
These travel tips have transformed the way I travel. I hope they enrich your travels too!
Follow the sister article: Travel Tips, Vol. 2: During the Trip.
Which tip would make YOUR next trip extra memorable??
Let us know in the comments below!
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See you soon in Crete & Greece with Bonnie and Clyde Urban tours:
Non-touristy tours for young-at-heart travellers.
Until we meet soon,