Part of being a content, joyful, well adjusted and mentally sound human being is to try and find the happiness in whatever you are doing. Some people are naturally gifted in this, and others (like me), have to make a conscious effort to stomp the negative thoughts and enjoy being present in the moment. It’s easier said then done, but since we only get one life, it’s important to make the most of every given opportunity. Remember next time you are complaining about having to go somewhere, some people never get the opportunity to travel at all!
Being an adult means having to do things we don’t normally want to do, and this goes double for travel! Having to go somewhere due to a work commitment or family obligation can be a real pain. Not only does it require a lot of effort and expelled energy, it also takes us away from the things we need to do at home and our normal obligations and daily routine which can cause stress to a lot of people.
Never fear! If you have the right attitude and know how almost anything can be fun and worthwhile. Now some of these options are time permitting and location specific, but follow as many of these 10 tips as you can to make the most boring obligation into a fun vacation you will remember for a lifetime!
Come with an open mind and positive attitude
This is so true. As we get older we get set in our ways and inhibit ourselves from enjoying activities that 10 years ago we would have jumped at. Don’t be this person…. Keep your mind open and young and ready to embrace every change and challenge that comes your way. Your mental attitude will 100% effect how you will interact with others and how you experience events. Make a conscious effort to live in the moment and make the best of any situation. remember it’s not going to last forever, so do your best to suck it up and focus on things that you will enjoy.
Post on social media
Yup, there is one positive to social media after all. No matter how much you dread an upcoming trip, post about your experience on social media. No matter where you go or what you will be doing, guaranteed one of your friends (or maybe even a complete stranger), will be completely jealous! It doesn’t matter if your going to your aunt’s funeral in Baltimore, or being deployed to Afghanistan for 6 months, someone will be jealous.
It’s amazing how much a “wow that is so cool! i wanna see it one day” message from someone, will make you totally rethink your current situation, and allow you to appreciate where you are in life. Remember there are people in the world who would LOVE to have your bad days!
Do a tour of the city/area
When you fly into a destination and go about your business, you really don’t get to fully comprehend where you are in the world. Every time I fly somewhere to do a road trip, or arrive in a city, I always spend the first few hours driving around the whole vicinity. I usually start in downtown and circle outwards until reaching farm land. It’s so awesome to see the gradual change from urban to rural, and it really makes you get to know the city and the layout and appreciate it for what it is. Make note of the different styles of architecture and town planning, religious and social buildings and houses. Seeing the differences of how other people and cultures live, is truly something wonderful and educational. If you don’t have a car jump on public transport, or if it’s affordable, ask a taxi to take you around.
Try the food
The second thing I always do is try the food. Not only am I usually starving at this point, but food is such a great way to experience a location. I make
a real effort to source out a local specialty and give it a try. Even if you are only travelling a few towns over you will notice a slight regional variation of your favorite foods. Not only is it fun, but it also gives you ideas to mix up your usual routine diet at home. Diners and BBQ joints are usually a great place to start.
Talk to people
Like it or not, the world is full of people and part of being in the herd is interacting with others. When you are out and about strike up conversations with locals and other tourists. They usually have information on what to see and do and where to go. You will find that no matter what country you visit, 99% of people are nice, honest, hard working and very friendly. If I have asked for help or tried to talk to someone I am met with respect and kindness everywhere, even when there is a language and cultural barrier. Always have an open mind when interacting with others and give them the same courtesy as they give you. P.S the world is very small and you may even bump into someone you know or have mutual friends.
Do the top 5 tourist attractions
Before you go somewhere look on tripadviser or google and see what the top 5 most popular attractions in that area are. You’ll be surprised at how many things there are to do even in small rural areas. Many times I’ve pulled into a one horse town and realized it was a major hub or gateway in years gone by. It’s so wonderful to know ahead what’s available and go and experience it. It might be something as simple as a local museum, but it’s something you wouldn’t have had the opportunity to experience, and all education is worth while.
When you tour the area and go to restaurants and local attractions take lots of photos. Post them on social media, show your friends and family, get people involved and make the most of it. If you go somewhere with a positive mindset and enjoy your time, looking back at the photos will keep that good feeling alive. I don’t just take pictures for my friends and blog readers, I take them for myself, so when I’m old I can look back and reminisce on the fun that I had in my younger days.
I’ve never been one to fall into the whole souvenir trap, but everywhere I go I like to get a small memento. This is purely for remembrance purposes and it means absolutely nothing to anybody but me. Personally I’m driven by my sense of smell and the ability scent has to trigger my memory, so if I go somewhere exotic or out of the ordinary I always by a local perfume and the smell instantly takes me back. For extra good feelings try to link your souvenir to your hobby. If your a quilter or knitter, buy a local fabric or yarn. If you like geology, collect an unusual rock or specimen, gardening, buy some seeds for local flower and vegetable varietals….you get the idea.
Book a nice hotel
It’s amazing how a little bit of personal luxury can turn a mundane, boring or unpleasant trip into an enjoyable vacation. Every time I go somewhere I’m not looking forward to, I book a nice hotel and it’s amazing the difference a big comfy bed, a nice shower and yummy breakfast can have on my morale. This is a particularly great option when visiting family. It gives you personal space, something to look forward to and a conflict resolution method….retreat! Also, If you are traveling on business, use points to change or upgrade your room/hotel and enjoy the luxury you work so hard for.
Go on a date
Obviously this is not an option for everyone, but there is no greater morale booster then a potential new love interest. If you are free and single, use apps like Tinder and get an early jump on local prospects. Let’s face it, we all like romance and it’s one of the greatest motivators in life. Even if nothing becomes of it, meeting new people is always fun, and if you have a good attitude towards dating and don’t have any agendas or expectations, you will have a good time regardless.
If you are married or partnered, organize a dinner with an old college chum, work colleague or childhood friend. It’s always good to network and keep the lines of communication open with others, you might actually need them one day.
Wow that was a long post. It was super fun to write and I hope you can get some use out of the 10 tips to travel happiness. Here’s to a good life and good experiences!