When you travel you leave a little bit of yourself behind in every place you go. Sometimes you don’t have the best time and you decide to never return, but more often than not you fall in love with those cities and countries and vow to return as soon as possible.
However, places change over time. You can’t expect every revisit to be just as great as the first. You can’t always expect to do the same things, either. What would be the fun in just repeating everything you did last time? Take it from someone who’s been to London multiple times: each trip was completely different than the last, but I managed to still visit the sights that I love and experience new things each time!
If you decide to one day revisit to your beloved cities, here’s a few tips and tricks to make your return even better:
1. Use The Guidebook
You’re not any less cool for checking out a tourist attraction. There’s a reason these places are popular with travelers, and most of the time they’re really freaking cool! If you missed out on seeing a main attraction the first time around, go for it the second. Nobody is going to think less of you for seeing Versailles or taking a day to wander around a museum that you forgot to visit. I’ve strolled up and down Oxford Street more times than I can count simply because I like it. I don’t care if there are tourists on every corner, I still like to window shop!
2. Switch Up Your Accommodations
Try staying somewhere different each time. Stay at a different hostel, splurge for a high-end hotel, or even use Airbnb to live in a flat or a house. Pick a different neighborhood of the city, too. Where you stay during your trip can really influence the type of experiences that you have. For instance, the first time I was in London, I stayed in a hotel in the middle of the city, the second time I lived in a dorm 20 minutes outside of London in the suburbs (I’m looking at you Harrow) and most recently, I took over my boyfriend’s flat. Even though it sounds simple, each accommodation changed the way I saw and interacted with the city.
3. Change Seasons
I know its hard to plan to travel around certain time periods, but if you can, go during a different season! Every city magically transforms during the holidays, and each country blooms beautifully in the spring. With each new season comes new activities, so there’s everything from holiday markets in the winter and Halloween bashes in the fall, to picnic lunches in the summer and flower shows in the spring. If you’re used to heading out in the summer, try for a winter vacation instead. Switch up the seasons and there’ll be tons of new stuff to explore!
4. Revisit Those Old Stomping Grounds
If there’s a spot you fell in love with on your first trip, whether that be a park or a bar, go back! Traveling is about doing whatever you want and making memories along the way, and there’s nothing wrong with revisiting some of your favorite spots. For me, that spot is a pub I always went to when I studied abroad. Going back after being gone for a year was totally different, but I still made sure to pop in, have a pint, and recall all my favorite memories. Give yourself a little time to let it all soak in and remember why you love that place so much.
5. Make Your Own Traditions
Whether it’s catching a show, having a night out on the town, or grabbing dinner at a cool restaurant, you should start to make your own travel traditions. This way, you can make it a point to take time out of your travel itinerary to enjoy the things you love most. It gives you something to look forward to each time you return. Every time I go to Cardiff I grab some chips from my favorite fish & chip shop and eat them by the bay. It’s something really small, but it’s become my own little tradition and I wouldn’t want to have a trip without it.
6. Travel With Different People
Bring a friend with you on your next journey because each trip you take is different depending on the people you travel with. Granted, this can go both ways (i.e.: terrible people could lead to having a terrible time) but it doesn’t hurt to bring a trusted travel buddy along for the ride. Even in your everyday,not-galavanting-around-the-world life, people can influence your experiences. Having another person decide to take a left instead of a right can completely change your entire trip, especially if it leads to places you never thought to find before. Similarly, meet a local! They know more than you ever could and they’ll likely introduce you to a whole new side of the city.
7. Just Explore!
Honestly, this is easier said than done. A lot of times I find myself just wanting to fall back into a typical routine, but that gets real old real fast. Go out there and wander around. Get lost. Do something completely different. Like I mentioned above, its nice to revisit things that you love, but you also have to make sure each trip is like a new adventure, and the best way to do that is by delving into the unfamiliar. As long as you feel comfortable enough to put down the trusty guidebook and let go a little, exploring should be easy. Who knows? You might even stumble upon something amazing.
8. Don’t Force It
At the end of the day, your entire trip comes down to your own personal experience. Don’t force yourself to do things that you’re not feeling up to doing. If you want to spend your entire journey going back to the same old places, than that is perfectly ok! It doesn’t matter if you’re keeping up with your routine or finding new places to explore, just follow your natural instincts and do what makes you the happiest!
Have your own tips or tricks? Share them below!