How to Make Travel Meaningful: Going Local, Offline, and on Foot
Everyone has their own favorite style of traveling and so does each of our team members! In this new series, you will see how the people behind The Trip Boutique enjoy exploring the world. Today we introduce Annika, our new team member who likes to get out of her comfort zone: she tasted snails in Paris and traveled through the Burmese mountains on the top of a bus. Below she shares some of her tips on how to be a traveler rather than a tourist.
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Staying with the Locals
While backpacking through South East Asia, Annika often slept on the floor of local homes that had no running water or electricity. ‘Only when you get out of your comfort zone, you can see the world through the eyes of the locals. In the end, traveling is not just about the sunny side of the place you visit – it also brings along some challenges.’ Annika thinks that the same can be said about cities: having lived in Paris, she knows a thing or two about how overwhelming it can be to get lost in the concrete jungle. ‘But if you go the extra mile to search for the local places to stay and eat, you will find your travel experience a lot less stressful and a thousand times more rewarding,’ she promises. One of Annika’s mottos she travels by is that tourists just consume, whereas travelers try to understand.
Annika with locals in Myanmar
Living the Local Culture
Curiosity is Annika’s biggest asset when out on the road. ‘Whenever I travel, I make sure to be open to new things. It can be something as small as trying the local cuisine rather than ordering my favorite pizza.’ As Annika admits, going local takes a bit more research, but it is a worthy investment: ‘If you avoid big tourist attractions, you will also support small businesses.’ Since The Trip Boutique cares about sustainable travel, we not only do the research for you but also love to share recommendations of authentic things to eat, do, and see to promote local business owners.
Elbowing your way through the crowd just to get that perfect picture for Instagram is not only disrespectful to those around, but also stressful for you. While on the hunt for the best angles, we often forget what is truly important: to savor the moment and breathe in the atmosphere of our new destination! ‘For me, being abroad is actually a great excuse to switch off my phone once in a while,’ says Annika. Good thing that you can use The Trip Boutique app offline as well. 😉
You’d better bring some comfortable shoes because the best way to explore any destination is on foot. Having hiked through the Burmese mountains as well as crisscrossed Paris, Annika knows that to discover hidden gems may cause some blisters first. It’s often less painful than to use the overcrowded public transport, though (yes, this is why Annika had to ride on the top of a bus once).
If you're not into walking, rent a scooter!
Avoiding Unnecessary Stress
Having lived in Paris, Annika picked up some serious savoir-vivre. ‘Although the city is pretty hectic, it paradoxically taught me how to slow down. Only then you are able to take in the best the city has to offer.’ Avoiding the big tourist traps, she instead enjoyed strolling around trendy new neighborhoods and tasting wine in one of the less-crowded, off-center bars. ‘If you just rush from one spot to another, you end up only seeing but not living the city. This is why whenever I’m on a trip, I like to go to a park. The green space really helps you focus on the moment and let go of any FOMO.’ Annika’s favorite park in Paris? Parc des Buttes-Chaumont!
Another one of Annika's favorites:
the famous green bridge at Giverny Monet's Garden.
Annika is a Danish and Swiss citizen and studies International Management at the ZHAW in Winterthur. When she is not working at The Trip Boutique, she enjoys spending time outdoors, especially by the many beautiful lakes and rivers Switzerland has to offer. Read more about Annika here or discover more about our other team members and read their personal travel stories!
Set out with The Trip Boutique and get one full day of recommendations for free!