In the age of Instagram, is it still possible to plan a trip that hasn’t been on everyone’s feed?
We’re all looking for our next adventure, and we all seek new experiences. But in the age of Instagram-driven flash mobbing, where can we go that’s not already trodden, and what can we do that’s not already been documented by so many other tourists hungry for likes on their post? Is it still possible to have a travel experience that’s entirely unique and tailored to our preferences?
Together with travel curator Anywhr, we hosted travel influencer Mar Pages, a strategy consultant turned online entrepreneur and editor/founder of travel publication Once in a Lifetime Journey; and Anywhr co-founder Zelia Leong at Hmlet Portofino. They exchanged insights on how to march to the beat of your own drum and go on the vacation of your dreams.
If you’re planning a trip to less-travelled destinations in the world, here are some of their best tips to ensure your itinerary is one-of-a-kind and your holiday is one that you can’t wait to tell your friends at home about.
Big cities can be challenging to get to know better, because there are so many layers to peel back before you get to the good stuff. They have wonderful secrets that you can unearth if you know the right people.
Hanging out with a local can help you learn about the city quickly and more in-depth than you would on your own. They can bring you to hidden hotspots like a private rooftop bar, or introduce you to a market that transforms into an indie cinema at night, or they might bring you to a food street that locals actually wait in line for.
Perhaps find a local cafe you love and become a regular, sign up for courses, or make friends at a community event. Stepping out of your comfort zone is what travel is all about, so go out of your way to befriend people you don’t normally encounter.
Skip the tourist hotspots
While it might be worth checking out the commercial crown jewels of each country, that’s not the best way to learn what everyday life is like. There’s a lot more to a country than its glossy tourist attractions, and often, those lie beyond the city or in smaller neighbourhoods.
Instead of squeezing with the crowds at regular attractions, look for places that aren’t widely promoted in travel magazines, Instagram, or review sites like Yelp and TripAdvisor.
Do some research and look for less commercial places away from the city centre. Restaurants near tourist sites also tend to be overpriced and cater to international tastes, so local delicacies taste nothing like what they should. Travel a little further afield if you really want to try authentic local cuisine or catch a glimpse of what life is truly like for the locals.
Take public transport
Instead of splashing out on Ubers, cabs or tourist buses, take public transport. Not only is it a more budget- and environmentally-friendly option, you also have a higher chance of meeting people going to the same destination and striking up conversation with them. It’s also a great way to observe and experience the daily life of locals. Don’t forget to download a map of the subway, train or bus routes!
Employ a travel curator
Travel curators like Anywhr are a great tool to employ for sorting out your travel logistics. From surprise travel (where a location is picked for you) to planning your tailor-made itinerary to offering travel tips and inspiration, Anywhr is a bespoke solution that aims to take your travels to new heights. If you’re ready to be pleasantly surprised every step of the way, then leave your holiday in the hands of your travel curator, which will help set things up based on your preferences.
Find diverse traveller-friends
Meeting people from diverse backgrounds with diverse tastes can challenge you in a good way. Diverse travellers have different interests that can push you out of your comfort zone and make you try things you normally wouldn’t or venture to places you normally wouldn’t go.
Traveller-friends can be found anywhere. They might exist already in your social circle, or you can find new ones at the places you’re staying in - co-living spaces are a great way to meet people from all walks of life.
So take a step out and open yourself to new experiences, accept recommendations from friends and travellers whose tastes vary from yours. It could make for a good travel adventure story, if nothing else.
Looking for your next adventure, and like-minded friends to travel with? Curate your very own holiday that will inspire you to think more, do more and learn more about the world.