You’ve planned, booked and packed, and now your next trip abroad awaits. But with so much to see and do, how can you really maximize your time overseas? To help you solve this age-old conundrum, we’ve created a list of 50 absolute must-do things, guaranteed to transform your next trip into your best trip.
So, in no particular order…
1. Ditch the map. Wander. (Here’s how to do it right).
2. Be a tourist. Marvel at iconic sites. (You need to scratch them off your list).
3. Jump off the tourist trail. Find your own path.
4. Skip public transport. Walk to find the hidden gems.
5. Refuel the right way. Enjoy the street food with locals. (You’ll make new friends in the process.)
6. Be the first one awake. Seeing a city wake up is magical.
7. Be the last one awake. Witness the city go to sleep. Equally magical.
8. Dance the night away. (The day doesn’t end when it gets dark, does it?)
9. Feel the rhythm of your destination. Spend time doing nothing but people-watching.
10. Treat your taste buds. Eat traditional food to get to know the true (food) culture of the place.
11. Turn strangers into friends. Discover the city together.
12. Stay in touch. Get their number. (Seriously, don’t make that mistake again!)
13. Raise your selfie game. Travel was made for selfie sticks and long arms.
14. Show off (at least a little). Check-in on social media, and don’t forget to ask for travel tips on social media as well.
15. Snap every moment. Pictures last a lifetime.
16. Laugh about it. Things don’t always go to plan, so just take it easy.
17. Change plans and learn to go with the flow. This is what travel’s all about.
18. Live in the moment. You’ll treasure spontaneous events more that way.
19. Leave your phone in your pocket. You’ll see more. Guaranteed.
20. Say yes. Try things you would never try at home.
21. Surprise yourself. Do at least one new thing a day.
22. Try to really challenge yourself. You’ll return home wiser.
23. Embrace the unfamiliar. You might just find yourself in the process.
24. Get out of your comfort zone. See what you’re truly capable of.
25. Change the way you see the world and the people in it. Learn to appreciate how different and how similar we all are.
26. Smile. Transform awkwardness into understanding. Everyone in the world will understand a smile.
27. Embrace the weird. Cultural differences are enlightening (and entertaining!).
28. Use common sense. Don’t be an idiot and don’t get into trouble.
29. Talk like a local (and with locals) by learning their language.
30. Learn about other cultures. Your fellow travelers are an invaluable resource.
31. Talk. Everyone can teach you something.
32. Read a local newspaper. Get an insider’s view on what’s going on in the place you’re visiting.
33. Understand the local lifestyle. Take part in festivals if you can.
34. Avoid cultural faux pas. Learn regional customs (our tips here).
35. Witness history. Take the time to visit and appreciate the historical sights your destination has to offer.
36. Understand the city’s past. Museums are a good starting point.
37. Experience its present. Chill out in hip cafes.
38. Admire the masterpieces. Check out art galleries.
39. Deepen your connection with the city. Take a guided tour. (And no, they’re not just for clueless tourists.)
40. Cheer on the local sports team. You’ll charm the locals, promise.
41. Embrace diversity. Explore all neighborhoods, not just the ones Lonely Planet recommends.
42. Change your perspective. Really connect with local culture and see the world through new eyes.
43. Buy a souvenir. Treasure it, no matter how silly.
44. Treat yourself. Buy the cake that caught your eye. (After all those museums, you really deserve it.)
45. Dodge tourists. Connect with locals instead.
46. And spot the tourist traps. Be a smart traveler and avoid them as much as you can.
47. Navigate like a pro. Get to really know your new destination, with or without a map.
48. Ask questions (How did you make that?). Again, locals will really appreciate your curiosity.
49. Rent a bike. There’s nothing like the freedom of exploring a new city on two wheels.
50. Do everything you want. Leave with no regrets.