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5 UNIQUE TRIPS That Will Give You A Lifetime Changing Experience!

In BLOG, INSPIRATION, PLANNING A TRIP, TRIPS IDEAS AND TIPS by Clelia Mattana23 Comments


HOW TO HAVE A TRULY MEANINGFUL TRIP

These days, traveling is easier than ever before. With the world increasingly more connected, there’s no excuse not to get out there and see the world!

 


Beyond peeling back the curtain on a new place and having new and exciting experiences, one of the biggest benefits of travel is the new cultural awareness you’ll gain. If you’re looking for an eye-opening experience, there are plenty of types of trips that will broaden your horizons. After all, why just take a trip when you can travel deeper?


1 |GO ON A VOLUNTEER TRIP 


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If you like the idea of giving back to the local community in your destination, a volunteer trip is a fantastic option. Imagine yourself teaching English in an after-school program in Thailand, volunteering at a children’s hospital in South Africa, helping to fight poverty in India or working with horses on a ranch in Canada. There are so many possibilities, and if you can dream it, you can make it happen!

 

With a volunteer trip, you’ll likely have a basic minimum of volunteer time that you’ll need to complete, but you can (and should!) stay longer to explore and visit different cities in your destination country.

 



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Me with the Thai Kid, teaching English at a local kindergarten school, a very enriching experience!



If you’ve chosen a place where they speak a language different from your own, you can always take a little language course in conjunction with your volunteer experience, to make your time that much more enriching as you’ll be able to communicate with the locals.


 

2 | LEARN SOMETHING NEW ON YOUR TRIP!



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Learning the basic Italian gesture is a must and a fun way to connect with the locals, check out my article and have a chuckle! 😉



Have you always wanted to try yoga? Or surfing? Or cooking? Or playing the guitar? Why not combine two passions and take the opportunity of traveling to take up a new hobby?

This is the perfect way to dig deep into the culture and experience a place beyond the typical tourist track. Sign up for scuba diving lessons in Mexico, try a cooking course in Tuscany, learn to surf in Australia, discover the art of wine tasting in France or try your hand at filmmaking in Los Angeles… the options are endless!

And don’t forget to learn the basic Italian hand gestures before heading to the “Bel paese”. I can help you with that! Check out my very visual article where I show you the top Italian gestures you should master to communicate with the locals!

Besides being able to tick something off your bucket list, you’ll also be able to meet both locals and other foreigners who share your interests. Meeting new people and fellow travelers, is often one of the most enriching parts of travel, so taking a trip to learn something new is doubly rewarding! I even wrote an article of my personal experiences on how traveling can change your approach to people. Truly enlightening.


3 | SIGN UP FOR A LANGUAGE COURSE ABROAD


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There’s no better way to explore a new culture than by speaking the language of the locals. It’s the difference between seeing a place in black and white and seeing it in color! Regardless of if you have zero experience with a language, learning in total immersion is the guaranteed fastest way to improve.

Language schools are often also great places to meet people who’ll become your new travel buddies. Schools often also organize activities and events designed to introduce you to the culture of your destination country: think museum outings, cinema nights, pub crawls, secret walking tours and even conversation exchanges with native speakers from the area so you can practice the language and meet people.

 

When you speak the language, doors open to you. You’ll be able to chitchat with the locals about the best places to eat and their favorite spots in the city and start to forge authentic friendships that would be impossible without a common language.

If conventional language classes haven’t worked for you before, try learning the language in total immersion and you’ll be astounded by the results.


4 | DO A CROSS-COUNTRY ROAD TRIP


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This is the perfect type of trip for the traveler who loves to get off the beaten path. There’s something undeniably romantic about the idea of a road trip, and it’s even more exciting when you think about one in a foreign country!

Road trips are great because you can make a rough plan of where to go and when, and then adapt it according to what you discover along the way. It’s also a great opportunity to save money on accommodation by camping, staying at backpackers’ hostels or sleeping in small towns where prices are much lower than in the big cities.

 

When writing the article on my Italy Road Trip, I also mention more than once that a road trip is all about being spontaneous and letting the road be your guide.

If you don’t have a specific dream destination in mind, you could try one of the world’s most famous road trips like Route 66 or the Ocean Highway in the USA, the Ring Road in Iceland, the Amalfi Coast road in Italy (another article coming soon on this blog!), Route 62 in South Africa or Austria’s High Alpine Road. The joy is in the journey, so let yourself get lost and enjoy the scenery!


5 |DESIGN A TRIP BASED ON INTERACTING WITH THE LOCALS 



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One of the most rewarding and life-changing experiences of my life: Being invited to a birthday party by the locals who saw us on a deserted beach on the Island of Carabao- Philippines.



There’s no better guide to a city than someone who was born and raised there. That being said, it’s not always the easiest task in the world to meet the locals, especially if you are a reserved / shy person. Luckily, there are plenty of websites around that can help you in connecting with authentic residents in your destination.

 

One of the first of its kind, Couchsurfing is a platform that matches travelers with local residents who are willing to let you stay on their couch (or in their spare bedroom, on a mattress on the floor, etc.) for free!

The people who sign up on Couchsurfing tend to be open-minded world travelers or at least aspiring travelers!



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Connecting with the local community in the Philippines in the lovely Panay Island. Nothing beats the experience of being greeted by the locals like this!



Another option on the table is, of course, Airbnb, with a special emphasis on the company’s latest venture, Airbnb Experiences. Sign up for an experience with a local including a huge variety of activities like food tours, cooking lessons, trail rides on horseback, winery visits, arts and crafts workshops and anything else you could possibly imagine.

Last but not least, a great way to find new local people and interact with them is Meetup, which is full of free events you can sign up for. Make friendships, meet like-minded locals and share your interests in a relaxed and authentic environment!

 

These are just five ideas out of many kinds of trips that will broaden your horizons, but if you’re planning on taking a trip, it’s almost impossible not to have an eye-opening experience! Do you have any other suggestion? Leave me a comment with your meaningful travel experiences!

 


SAVE IT FOR LATER… PIN IT!


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Comments

  1. Lovely post! It’s true, interacting with the locals is the best way to learn about the culture of the country you’re exploring. It also opens our mind about other people’s lives. Your adventures sound remarkable! Loved that you really hung out with lots of people. How was your cross country trips? Have you tried getting to know indigenous tribes in the countries you went to? Would love to hear about it. Anyway, this post is awesome! Keep it up.

    1. Author

      Thanks so much for the lovely comment, Krisan! Oh I should write a book about my cross countries and my interacting with the locals. I’m still in contact with few of them from my time in Thailand and I have a lot of great memories of people I met in the Philippines and many other places. Regarding the indigenous tribes, it’s not that easy, the closest I went to see one was in Namibia but somehow the experience could not be 100% genuine as they indeed lived in that place but they tried to sell their local products to us and they have agreements with tour operators etc.

      The only time I saw (from a bit far away) a real indigenous tribe was in Tanzania, we met a local kid and 2 women carrying leaves and water on their heads and heading to their huts. We didn’t want to intrude so we smiled and let them go. It was still an amazing memory of people so different from us (and the same goes for them!) These meeting, even brief ones are very special!

  2. i do these things and blog about the experiences whenever i travel.. i think it’s one of the best ways to enjoy a trip ^_^

    1. Author

      Definitely the right way to travel, and if we can share our experiences by writing them, even better!

    1. Author

      That’s totally a must for a memorable trip, always have genuine interactions with the locals!

  3. Thanks for sharing this amazing travel experience guide with us, We’re planning a visit to Sardinia during the second part of November. I wonder if hotels, restaurants, and shops will still be open, or do they close for the winter.

    1. Author

      Thanks for stopping by! For Sardinia related questions you have to go to one of the Sardinian articles 🙂 Thanks a lot!

  4. Wow, gorgeous photos! I agree that a guided tour is the way to go if you’re pressed for time, don’t speak the local language and are new to a city. It’s amazing how much you can learn from a knowledgable guide.

  5. Hello,

    I very seldom comment on other blogs, but will make an exemption here. First of all: I totally agree. As an environmentalist, I always think that you should have a reason for travel. And by “reason”, I mean that you should aim to make the world a better place. Or learn something new.

    Learning a new language can help you to build new friendships and learn about a new culture. Going as a volunteer will probably help to reduce social problems in an area, and so on. My own experience was just by going to China to study Mandarin, and I have learned so much due to that.

    If more people did this type of traveling instead of laying on the beach in Ibiza for two weeks every summer, the world would slowly become a better place…

    1. Author

      Hey Amund, thanks for your thoughtful comment I truly appreciated it! There will be so much to discuss on your comment… Traveling taught me so much during the years. Sometimes it’s not bad to simply take a normal vacation and just relax but the trip, the concept of a real trip that truly will change your life lies in looking for more meaningful experiences. I give you an example (and I want to write another post about this). I should be ashamed to say what I’m about to say but I came to terms with it now.

      Before starting my real trip, I truly didn’t give a damn about the environment or the well being of animals and how they were treated. Now it’s so different, and thanks to the incredible experiences I had during 6 years of travel. I know now, by direct experience, that even if its a drop in the ocean we can truly contribute to make the world a better place, helping others, caring for the environment and much more. I wouldn’t have learned all this if it weren’t for this never-ending trip. It truly opens your mind in so many ways and by doing that it also helps you in truly contributing, even if just by writing an article and share your own change from a person who didn’t give a damn to someone who actually does. If I could change, I’m sure that many other people can too.

  6. Wow! Love these tips and the details you shared, lovely pictures as well. Thank you so much for sharing a wonderful post and your inspiring experiences.

    1. Author

      Thank Claire… these type of trips are the ones I love the most in the long run, they stick to you in a way no other trip to the most fabulous destination does. As I always say, it’s all about the people you meet!

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