Travelling can be the most enriching, mesmerising and outright fun thing you can do. Have you ever noticed though how many people go on auto-pilot when on holiday? It's the same old inclusive package to Falikari with that horrible diluted coke and a pint of Foster's. It's the stuffy airport transfer coach with a holiday rep in a blue shirt with huge sweat marks that just cannot be bothered. It's the same 20 minute walk to the beach through a building site every day (and they said the hotel was ON the beach, liars!). Why are people even paying for these holidays anymore? It's 2017 and we can do so much better! From short exploratory breaks that will steal your heart to full on holiday photoshoots that will make you feel like a supermodel - I beg you, make this year's holiday count!
HOW TO MAKE YOUR HOLIDAY ONE OF A KIND
📍 Blend in with locals
Have you ever tried venturing into the wilderness where locals live? And I don't necessarily mean chopping down palm leaves to find your way through an Amazon forest into a local tribe settlement. Start with something simple like booking an Airbnb instead of a hotel (you can sign up through this link and get £30 off on me!). Go to a local pub instead of your hotel lobby bar. Order that one thing off the menu that you can't even pronounce. Take a bus and visit a rural village. Browse an early morning farmer's market. Take a book and read it in a tiny cosy cafe you saw on the way to your hotel. Doing those little things that locals do will make you feel much more authentic, like you're truly 'living' your holiday!
📍 Set a challenge
I spy with my little eye is not just for kids, you know? Why not make your trip into a challenge! It can be a challenge right from the outset - get to the destination for as cheap as possible (or for free?), use as many means of transport as you can, or just base it around the oldest competition in human history - who gets from point A to B the quickest! You don't have to stop there though - what about challenging yourself to finding (and trying!) as many gelato stands as there are? These challenges could make for a holiday you'll remember forever!
📍 Make the journey count
There's a very little point in spending 4 hours on a plane just napping (although night airplane naps are one of the best ones, aren't they!). Perhaps you could find a layover flight in a destination on the way so you could spend a day there? Or just go ahead and plan your holiday as a series of little breaks along the way instead of just one big destination trip. Let's say your original plan was to travel from Birmingham to Prague. You could easily book your flights from Manchester and spend a day in the city exploring it. Then you could catch a flight to Amsterdam and admire their gorgeous tulips and the enormous Van Gogh's museum for a day or two. Get on another flight to Berlin and visit the Rundsturm for a beautiful view of the city together with unforgettable Brandenburger Tor. Catch a train to Prague and plan your sightseeing goals whilst gazing over the serene fields of rural Germany and Bohemia. You can find some great travel deals right here on TripAdvisor.
📍 Get on that high horse
Scrambling your way through your precious holiday is not your thing? Then perhaps try a proper plush cruise with everything you've ever dreamed of - from your own cabin with a sea view to pool butlers and wine workshops, you can have it all. With a crew to guest ratio of 1:2 you can imagine that your experience will be beyond luxurious. Throw in a lavish spa experience and an afternoon game of croquet on the top deck lawn - it can't possibly get any more glamorous than that! Sailing through the ocean on a ship that exudes luxury from bow to stern is most definitely one you'll never forget! Browse through the most luxurious celebrity cruises on Planet Cruise.
📍 Put down that camera (or pick it up!)
They always say that to enjoy your holiday you should put down the camera and enjoy the moments through your eyes rather than through the lens. I beg to differ - this is a completely personal matter of choice and I dare you to pick the side which is out of your comfort zone. Have you never taken any holiday pictures? Then do it! You can make a whole album from it when you get back home and reminisce on your holiday over a cup of tea. Are you always the ever-present picture taker? Leave your camera at home, maybe even for just a couple of days when you're in your destination, to get the feel of what it is like when there's no lens in between you and the world.
📍 The Russian Roulette of a holiday
This one's for real adventurers (but will certainly make for the most unforgettable holiday!). Pack your suitcase and go to the airport. Pick a flight off the board and boosh - off you go! If you're not as daring then perhaps just go on lastminute.com (click here) and browse through the very last minute deals (leaving tomorrow would be perfect!). Where are you going? Anywhere! Which also means that you will have very little time to do your usual in-depth destination research, read all those TripAdvisor reviews and book restaurant tables in advance. You'll be forced to live in the moment, just getting out there every day and exploring the way people used to before the internet was a thing.
What are your best tips on spicing up your holiday?