How to Get the Most Out of Your Next Trip

Experience a new place fully and travel authentically with these tips.

People eat outside a restaurant in Paris, image
Go where the locals go.
maziarz / Shutterstock

“New experiences help you see a destination in a more authentic light,” says AAA Travel's Doreen Loofburrow.

Hit the books.

Learning about the history and culture of a particular place goes a long way toward enriching your travel. “Even if you think you know the highlights, do a little reading,” Loofburrow says.

Learn some lingo.

Just a few words or phrases can be a great icebreaker: good morning, thank you, please, my name is. Who knows where the conversation will go?

Ask a local.

Get ideas from shopkeepers, taxi drivers, and friendly passersby, Loofburrow says, because no one knows the best places like the folks who live there. “Residents will give you tips you might not get from a guidebook or a concierge,” she says.

Enlist an expert.

An organized tour doesn’t have to be touristy. Seek out operators who hire local guides. “They give you such deep insights into a place,” Loofburrow says.

Relax your schedule.

Planning is nice, but so is spontaneity. Leave wiggle room in your itinerary to wander down a side street, drop into a neighborhood shop, or appreciate a scenic lookout you didn’t know existed. “Embrace the spirit of adventure,” Loofburrow says.