This year I have travelled more than ever before – Australia, San Francisco, Yosemite, Vietnam, Canada, Iceland, Thailand and New Zealand are just a few of the destinations I’ve been blessed to visit.

It doesn’t matter if you’re an expert wanderer, a seasoned solo adventurer, a novice traveller, or a group tour enthusiast; it takes a lot of courage and determination to travel. The secret to travelling well is to tap into instinctive everyday behaviours that will transform your trips from ordinary to extraordinary.

Need convincing? Here are 10 things you should do every time you travel, including the obvious, and most importantly, the unexpected.

Expect the unexpected on your travels.
Expect the unexpected on your travels.

1. Take the path less travelled

For many travellers, there is comfort in sticking to the confines of a resort or seeing only the touristy spots. But when they get home, their stories are all the same. It doesn’t matter if you’re travelling alone, or with a group, take the path less travelled. If you’re exploring a market on your own, go left where there are less people. If you’re navigating a new city with a group, ask the guide for off the beaten path recommendations for your down time.

2. Take public transport

The fastest way to live like a local is to take public transport. Here you will engage with everyday people going about their everyday lives. Learn a few key phrases and strike up a conversation.

3. Strike up a conversation

Transform your trip from ordinary to extraordinary by striking up a conversation with the local people. I’ve found this is the best way to meet people and improve my language skills.

4. Avoid the tacky souvenirs

Don’t go for the obvious trinket to bring home when you travel. Hit the local markets and find something seriously local. When I was in Marrakech, I could have bought lots of lanterns and Aladdin style slippers from touristy shops. Instead I bought a homemade hand woven rug in a market from an old lady who had been making them all her life, which I still cherish to this day.

5. Never miss a moment

Don’t get caught up in taking photos – yes, they are wonderful keepsakes to remind you of your travels when you get home, but often travellers get so distracted taking a photo that they miss the magic moments.

6. Eat somewhere local

When I travel solo, I always ask a local to share their favourite restaurants – if they want to give their secrets away! When I travel with a group, I always ask the guide to share their favourite spots to eat for me to enjoy on my down time.

7. Get lost in the moment

The best moments I have when I travel is when I hit the back streets and get lost as I roam around aimlessly. I know I can always ask for directions or check the GPS on my phone if I start to get worried; but it’s these uninhibited moments, which bring me the most amount of joy.

8. Challenge yourself

Eat something new. Chat to someone you don’t know. Don’t plan every day. Ask your guide for tips only a local would know. Pack a carry on. Get off the beaten path. Go on a tough hike. Face your fears. Write a daily journal.

9. Enjoy being a tourist

When I travel I often get caught up in trying to see and do as much as possible that I forget where I am. This year I’ve been taking a more mindful approach to travel and have simply enjoyed being a tourist.

10. Live like a local

This is my favourite thing you should do every time you travel. At least one day in each destination, live like a local – get up early and grab a cup of coffee from the local coffee shop, catch public transport, go to the supermarket and buy ingredients to make lunch, enjoy the afternoon walking around a local park, and relax in the evening by treating yourself to dinner at a locals-only restaurant.

The G Adventures ‘Make Your #NextStep Count’ competition has now closed—but you still have a chance to travel with a purpose. For more information, take the next step here.

Tags: Next Step