I have traveled to many places throughout the world, from Ireland, Spain, and Italy, to Thailand, China, Taiwan, all the down to Argentina. Through all of my travels, I found the best method of traveling, at least for me.
The typical tourist going to Thailand, China, or most European destinations tends to plan a trip, similar to how they plan their regular work weeks. The travel itinerary is filled with many places to go, maybe a tour booked months in advanced to ensure a smooth scheduled experience, one which is totally divorced from reality.
The modern style of travel, which usually revolves around jumping from one unexciting monument or famous “tree” to another is like a zoo experience. You show up, take pictures, then it is on to the next one, all the while you never truly feel the country or place you are in.
After living in China, and traveling through multiple countries, I’ve determined that the best way to travel and see a country is to experience the country. Experience should be about walking around with nothing to do, developing friendships with locals, going to local hole-in-the-wall restaurants and getting what the locals love.
I understand some people do not have months to sit and absorb everything a particular destination or culture has to offer, but this can be done with only two weeks of travel time.
Next time you decide to travel, do not schedule anything in advance except your first destination. When you arrive, meet up with travelers, and talk to locals about fun places to enjoy, and the best places to eat. Once you get your bearings, just hang out for a bit, sleep in, go on long walks around the city, try to learn the language. When you start to get a little restless after a few days, pick a destination and go. Don’t over plan, go to a coffee shop, look at place you are interested, then decide right then to go. The experience is liberating, and will change your understanding of travel and vacations.
My way of traveling may not suit everyone, but I assure you it’s be the best way.