Written by Angela Silva
At first thought, the idea of an uncomfortable vacation may sound crazy. But when you consider the reasons most people take vacations – to break from routine, to make new memories, to bond with family, to get a change of scenery – getting out of your comfort zone may be exactly what you should do to make the most out of your vacation.
If you plan to stay in a comfortable, luxurious hotel with all of the same amenities as home, plan activities that you already do or enjoy doing, drive a car similar as your own, and eat food that you are already used to, what is the point of going anywhere? You might as well just go stay in a hotel in your own time.
Instead, try to follow some of these suggestions as you plan your next vacation. You’re bound to make some unforgettable memories, learn a significant amount of new information, and discover new hobbies and tastes.
Take an inventory
Think back on your life, and consider what the most memorable experiences are. Do you think of the times you spent sitting at your desk at work, or lying in bed at night, or eating your usual morning breakfast? Probably not. You probably think of your first day of college, that year you decided to quit your job and go after your dream career, or when you first became a parent. It’s not the easy or comfortable things that define us – it’s the things that challenge us that we remember most. Those are the things that make us grow and improve. This is why your trips and vacations should push you out of your comfort zone to truly be memorable and life-changing.
Unless you can somehow control the weather, all flight schedules, and the behavior of everyone around you, chances are something isn’t going to go according to plan. And you know what? That’s okay. That’s part of the experience. Just relax, and go with it. The goal here is to make memories, learn, and grow. Make those interruptions fun, and find the silver lining in any situation you come across. You won’t regret it.
Be a kid
This is especially important if you have kids, but not necessary. Think about how kids see the world – as one big playground. They see a new tree, and are figuring out how to climb it. They see a beach and start dreaming of big sand castles to build. They run from place to place, and jump as often as they can. They talk to the animals, sing their favorite songs, and smile nonstop. We’d do well to follow their example.
Along these lines, an uncomfortable vacation is also beneficial for children. Giving them the chance to experience new and different sights and places will help them feel more comfortable and develop self-confidence as they encounter new places and challenges in life.
Plan to be a local
It’s become a lot easier to live like the locals when you vacation with awesome resources like Airbnb and Vayable. If you haven’t heard of these sites, here’s a brief description and why they’re great tools to use for your next vacation.
Airbnb is a site that allows individuals to list rooms or entire houses, apartments, etc. for rent for short periods of time. Many people earn extra money by posting their spare bedroom or guest house on Airbnb. You just visit the site or app and browse by location to find a residence that fits your needs, and book it for the dates you need. Usually the owner of the home can give you a lot of good insight on things to do and places to go in that area. Also, living like a local means you can shop, cook and lodge like a local, really getting the true experience of your destination.
Vayable is a website that connects vacationers with locals rather than tour guides, to give you more of an insider look at your vacation destination. If you think about it, you probably know a lot about your hometown, and have favorite restaurants and sites that many people don’t know about, so why not get that same knowledge from a local in your vacation destination?
Put away your phone
Don’t use your GPS. Ask for directions. Ask someone else dining at a restaurant where they like to buy groceries, or hike, or shop for clothing, etc. then ask for directions rather than instantly plug it in to your phone’s GPS. Write down the directions, and walk there if it’s nearby, looking for landmarks and other cool things to see on your way. If you’re being guided by a device, you won’t be looking as closely at your surroundings and might miss something truly great.
Research history before you go
Why do they speak Portuguese in Brazil when the surrounding countries speak Spanish? What are some famous geographic locations or historic landmarks in Norway? What is the state bird of Florida? It may seem trivial, but your lens will be widened as you wander around with a foundation of knowledge about your vacation destination, and why it is the way it is.
Make memories that will not only last a lifetime, but shape it as well by exploring new places, trying new things, and stretching yourself in an exciting and adventurous way.