The best way to travel and learn is to travel without luxury

The traveler sees what he sees, the tourist sees what he has come to see. -Gilbert K. Chesterton

They say traveling opens the mind, and this is very true. However, today you also have ways to travel that don’t push your understanding of the world in the slightest. While it can be good to travel with comfort, you don’t want to travel just to stay fully immersed in your comfort zone. You go to another country, only stay in the hotel, only speak to those who speak your language, and buy a souvenir. This can be relaxing – and there is a place for that, but it might also mean you are not taking full advantage of what the world can do for you. Let’s consider how travel can take you out of your comfort zone.

Have a real journey

Not all travel destinations are equally safe, but in most, you should try to seek out an authentic experience. Go to places that locals go to. Explore foods that people eat in real restaurants and cafes, rather than those catering purely to tourists.

While it can be fun, nothing can replace the feeling of authenticity and an exploration of another culture, place, and even another world. Give yourself permission to step beyond the set boundaries and see the new place as it really is.

Prioritize experiences, not purchase

Sure, some souvenirs are nice, and you should try to prioritize the things that are especially characteristic of your destination. You should prioritize experiences, from trying the local cuisine to exploring some amazing places, whether they are natural green spaces, historical sites, museums, galleries, or unique restaurants.

Give yourself the chance to see new places and invest more in experiences that will stay with you forever. Focus your time on exploring and enjoying what the new place has to offer and what has the potential to change who you are and how you see the world. Experiences are worth more than things, in most cases.

Challenge yourself

When you travel, you dare yourself to step outside of your usual route and routines. But you can go further. Take advantage of this opportunity to challenge yourself without finding refuge in the familiar. Try learning a couple of phrases in a new language and using them. Try activities you don’t usually do. Try a new routine that doesn’t match your usual one. See what happens.
It can be frightening to step away from the tourist-oriented places and the spots where everyone speaks English. But it can also be deeply rewarding to see how you can do more and go out on your own to have authentic experiences. You don’t need to put yourself at risk, of course, but there are plenty of ways to explore a new location and challenge yourself safely.

Remember that luxury makes places feel the same

If you can afford luxury on the regular, that’s great! But often, luxury lodgings and spaces tend to feel similar. They create similar experiences in a lot of situations, even when one is considering not the top of luxury but rather common places. Malls can be similar anywhere, for instance, as can boutiques.

If you enjoy and seek out luxury, do what you like most. But give yourself the chance to do something different and try something authentic. Expose yourself to the world.

Connect with people

An important part of the experience of travel is connecting with others. This is not something people always want to do on vacation, but it can be pretty significant if you give yourself the chance to meet others.

Get the chance to know people from different parts of the world and forge connections that might not last but can still leave an impact on your life. Get to know people who are not like you and discover new perspectives. Give yourself the opportunity to connect with someone you might never meet otherwise. Talk to people from other cultures and not just those who are attending to your needs. Open a conversation, and you might be surprised with what you can learn. Authentic connection is worth it.