Recently, Matt Long, creator of Landlopers and self-described normal person who just wants to get the most out of his traveling, shared his best tips with Yahoo Travel, on engaging and embracing your destination when you take a vacation. We thought you’d benefit from his sage advice.
Except his first tip worried me a bit. He suggests getting lost. As in, on purpose. Long believes there’s much lost from visiting a place if you seek to remain comfortable, only “exploring” the well-known tourist areas of any given city. So, in order to force himself to experience wherever he is like the locals, he intentionally shuts off Google maps and takes off on foot from his hotel for a walkabout.
“Along the way,” Long says, “I always discover little things I would never have found otherwise and, more importantly, I start to get a feel for the real city away from the tourist bubble.”This leads to his second tip: shop a local grocery store. Besides being economical, Long believes you will learn more about the culture you’re trying to experience if you peruse one of its easiest-to-engage gateways, food.
“Food and travel go hand in hand,” Long wrote, “and it really is the best way to become a part of a new culture, rather than just a voyeur.” You’ll be able to purchase snacks and drinks cheaper at a grocery store than at your hotel, and you could even put together a light meal there to take al fresco.
Long also recommends talking to people. “Whether we vacation as a family or a couple, we all tend to stay fixated on our own packs,” Long said, “rarely engaging other travelers or locals. For me, travel is about personal enrichment and growth, and to do that I need to talk to people.”
If you don’t feel comfortable striking up a conversation, Long suggests joining a local walking tour. You’ll meet other travelers, and you’ll have access to someone with a breadth of knowledge who also likes to talk to people from other countries!
Becoming immersed in a different world is part of the appeal of traveling. What are your suggestions for making the most of your time away from home? How do you engage and embrace your destination? Leave us some ideas in the comments section below, on our Facebook page, or in our Twitter stream.
Would you like to grow your brain, have more energy, eliminate stress, and decrease your risk for a heart attack?
How does travel grow your brain? Paul Nussbaum, a clinical neuropsychologist and adjunct professor of neurological surgery at the University of Pittsburgh, explains.
“When you expose your brain to an environment that’s novel and complex or new and difficult, the brain literally reacts,” he told the Chicago Tribune in 2014. That exposure causes the brain to sprout dendrites — dangling extensions — which Nussbaum said grow the brain’s capacity. Who doesn’t want a bigger brain?
If you had the choice between being able to maintain adequate hygiene or take a selfie while on vacation, which would you choose? If you said selfie, you have good, albeit stinky, company.
According to a recent study by Expedia of 9,642 travelers, 33 percent said they use their phones more during vacation than while at home. Aman Bhutani, president of Brand Expedia Group, said that participants claimed having their smartphones with them “improved the quality of their vacation.”
How? By providing them with the nagging sense that they’re falling behind on their work every time they gave into the urge to check email or voicemail? The device does offer quite a few helpful applications, but at what cost to truly relaxing?
It seems everyone has a tip for how to make the most of the space you have in your suitcase. No one knows better, though, than flight attendants. Many of them use the Flight Crew Series Rollaboard from Travelpro.
Here are a few of their expert packing tips, as shared with Condé Nast Traveler magazine.
Heavy items such as toiletries and shoes take up a lot of space, but where you put them in your Rollaboard will determine your ease of maneuvering the bag through the airport. If you place your toiletries and shoes in the bottom of the case nearest the wheel base, you’ll be surprised at the difference it makes. By doing this it keeps the center of gravity low and it avoids heavier items falling into your clothing when the bag is being pulled upright. Flip flops and some sandals are by far the most versatile shoe with the smallest packing “footprint.” They go with many casual outfits and can serve as slippers in the hotel.
Don’t use a garment bag. Generally, they don’t fit in the overhead bins well, and closet space on planes is reserved for use by first class passengers first. If you insist, most likely it will be checked and then you’ll have wrinkled clothes when you arrive.
Here’s a Technology I’d Like To See (TILTS) thought:
Having to make a tight connection is a source of anxiety for many travelers. When our originating flight is delayed, we’ll spend the entire flight rehearsing scenarios, wondering if our connecting flight was also delayed or what gate we’ll have to sprint to. Many of us teeter back and forth between hope and despair, working our stomach into knots.
With the increased automation available within the travel industry, it’s surprising some kind of app hasn’t been invented on behalf of some airline in order to facilitate a better experience for travelers.
For example, a simple email from my airline, informing me of the gate for my connecting flight or letting me know that the flight I’m so desperate to make has also been delayed would alleviate much of my angst and keep me from pressing my call button to pester the flight attendant for information that he or she can’t seem to procure either.
Most of us file travel days in the “lost” category, thanks to the amount of time squandered getting where we have to go. With the fast pace of business, you really can’t afford to lose days to travel. Here are some suggestions for how to make the most of your time while you’re traveling.
First of all, be smart in how you book your travel. Even if your company has someone responsible for arranging itineraries, it’s worth the extra time to investigate the best options and communicate them to your travel arranger. Don’t let that investigation become a time sink, though. It’s not worth saving $50 if it takes an hour of your billable time to find that savings. Time is money, and your time per hour needs to be invested wisely each day.
Commit to getting to your departure gate at least 45 minutes before boarding begins. This will give you time to check email and stay on top of whatever needs your attention before you’re unavailable for 2 – 4 hours. Running your timeline right to the wire — and showing up to the airport at the last possible minute — creates stress, which makes you less productive. Organize your time so you can have time to be useful to those who need to hear from you.
When traveling, it really isn’t enough just to fly the “friendly skies.” Friendly interactions with the native people of the places you’re visiting are what make the experiences you have the most memorable. After all, monuments can’t speak.
Ben Groundwater, well-known Australian travel writer and blogger, has compiled his own list of favorites. Groundwater looked up an old acquaintance in Scotland and was given a bed in his home, never left a pub alone in Ireland, was invited to play badminton in Laos, received genuine wishes for a great day and helpful directions from Americans, witnessed Fijians’ intense love for children and older people, found Indians notorious for their curiosity and their desire to truly know him, experienced abundant smiles in Thailand, discovered Kiwis of New Zealand completely lacking in cynicism, and felt emotionally and physically embraced in genuine love by Brazilians.
If you’ve ever been in a hotel trying to sleep and the wedding party — or fraternity formal, high school band, college football team, or rampaging horde of invading Mongols — returns from its festivities, you know how frustrating it can be to have your peaceful night interrupted.
Now imagine if the hotel could monitor the decibel levels in its rooms and environments and handle the partiers without you having to call down to the front desk?
Quietyme does just that. Founded in 2012 and currently deployed at the Radisson Hotel in Madison, Wisconsin, as well as throughout the HotelRed chain, Quietyme installs sensors in rooms for $3/month subscription and samples the noise level in those rooms once per second.
It streams the results to the front desk so that management can proactively respond. Through independent studies, Quietyme found that its technology reduced hotel noise levels by 65 percent at properties where it was deployed. It also helped reduce property damage.
According to the JD Power’s 2015 North America Hotel Satisfaction Survey, hotel noise is the second largest problem guests report to management after Internet connectivity. According to Huey Zoroufy, chief technology officer for Quietyme, instead of reporting the problem, customers are going online and leaving poor reviews about their stays. Quietyme gives hotels an opportunity to anticipate their clients’ needs, and solve problems before they become problems.
That anticipation translates into a higher score for the hotel, according to the same JD Power study. Hotels scored 310 points higher out of 1,000 if they strongly agreed that the staff anticipated their needs rather than responded to them.
Don’t be surprised if you see this type of technology spread to more hotel chains in the coming year. It might make you think twice about what kind of “in-room activities” you choose to participate in, or not participate in, while on vacation.
What do you do when you have noisy hotel neighbors or other hotel noise? Leave us a comment here or on our Facebook page.
Photo credit: Ben Chun (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons)
A week or so ago, we talked about how Baby Boomers are traveling more and more, changing the face of leisure travel. But as the largest demographic group in the US, Millennials are making their own voices heard as millennial travelers.
Road Warrior Voices recently published an recent article by Jessica Festa, who self-identifies as a millennial traveler. She notes the image people have of Millennials as young folks is starting to age out, along with Millennials themselves.
Right now, Millennials fall between ages 16 – 27. Older people on this spectrum are getting both families and fancy jobs. Millennials are growing up and earning money to spend on travel.As it turns out, Millennials are also a bit more frugal than other groups. A November 2014 survey by Resonance indicated that Millennials spend considerably less per trip than the average U.S. traveler: about $888 per trip versus the average traveler’s $1,347.
This can be seen as part of the millennial mindset that seeks out happiness rather than focusing just on money. Millennials tend to seek meaningful connections when they travel, which is forcing some companies to offer more meaningful experiences, but for less money, which is increasing the popularity of volunteer vacations and ecotours.
The same survey found that Millennials travel more than other age groups and have a greater tendency to take group vacations.
Although there’s another stereotype that says Millennials use social media to the point where they don’t even enjoy being in the moment, the fact is they often use social media to form closer connections to the places they traveling to. (Which should be a hint to travel destinations to be on social media themselves, in order to grow those relationships and encourage return visitors.)
They also use social media to plan their trips and find deals while they’re out on the open road. They’re also not averse to staying with complete strangers as proven by the couch surfing and AirBNB trend. They’re certainly not the only folks using these technologies, of course.
How about it, Millennials? What kinds of things do you do when you travel? Leave us a comment, or visit our Facebook page on your mobile phone and let us hear from you.
- Millennials Travel With A Global Mindset (abackpackerstale.com)
- Millennial Vacations Are Creating A Travel Industry Headache (businesspundit.com)
- How Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers Travel (travelproluggageblog.com)
The differences between Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers are never more evident than when we travel. Where we go, how we get there, what we do, and how much we spend all vary depending on our demographic. We’re alike in some ways, we’re very different in others.
Shullman Research studied households with an annual income of more than $75,000 to see how each group preferred to travel, and created an infographic to show us just what those differences were.
Here are a few examples of what they found.
- Millennials head to Hawaii more than Boomers and Gen Xers: 19% of Millennials travel to the 50th state, compared to 6% each of Boomers and Gen Xers. Meanwhile, 10% of Boomers prefer Nevada’s dry climate, while 18% of Gen X prefers Florida.
- When it comes to international travel, 23% of Millennials visit Asia, Generation X heads to the Caribbean (22%) or Canada (21%), while we Boomers head to Europe (61%) or the Caribbean (my favorite; I’m part of the 48% who vacation there).
- Flying is the preferred method of travel, with 28% of Millennials, 36% of Gen Xers, and 31% of Boomers taking to the air. But 39% of Gen X also prefers to travel by car, since they can turn this thing around if you don’t settle down back there.
- When it comes to cruises, we were surprised to see Millennials actually prefer them more than their older counterparts — 16% versus 11% (Gen X) and 13% (Boomers).
For more insights and information, you can see the entire infographic at AdWeek.com, and get a better insight into how different demographic groups prefer to travel.
What are your travel preferences? Do you match up with your demographic group, or do you prefer going against conventional wisdom? Leave a comment and let us hear from you.
- How Millennials Killed Travel Marketing As We Know It (visual.ly)
- How brands can tap into millennial wanderlust (digiday.com)
- Wanderu launches Android app for bus and train booking in the U.S. (mashable.com)