Whether you’re visiting a new city, state, or country for a brief vacation or for an extended period of time for an academic sabbatical, it can sometimes become overwhelming when trying to experience all that a locale has to offer. When you find yourself in unknown territory, there are a few tips you can follow to make the most out of your traveling adventure.
1. Get Lost
We live in an age where we have the ability to plan and manage nearly every facet of our day. Before we even step out of bed, we can determine what businesses, restaurants, parks, and tourist attractions are in our general vicinity. But part of the charm of being in a new and foreign place is the natural discovery of what’s around you. Don’t be afraid to put your phone down and see what’s out there for yourself – you might be pleasantly surprised by a more organic experience.
2. Talk to the Locals
A pamphlet or website can give you lots of information, but there’s nothing more informative than going straight to the locals who have spent years living in your new area. Interacting with new people is a great way to become immersed in the culture of a city, and it can also be a great way to make some new friends in the process.
3. Study the Language
We get it – you’re on an academic sabbatical. You’re probably going be doing a lot of academic research and work before and during your trip. But taking a little extra time to study the language of your destination is a great investment of time and energy that can pay off in a huge way once you arrive. And remember those locals we recommended in Tip #2? They’ll appreciate the effort!
4. Have a Buddy
There are some instances in which you will have to travel by yourself (and sometimes this is part of the appeal of going on a sabbatical in the first place), but there are so many benefits to traveling with a partner. Exploring a new part of the world can be a daunting task, and having someone by your side to help tackle everything that comes your way can be a huge help. We’re creatures of comfort, and sometimes having a friend or loved one by your side will help encourage you to try things and go places that you might otherwise turn down if you’re traveling solo.