With coronavirus forcing us to adapt to a new normal, we have had to revolutionize many different aspects of our lives. Travel is no different. Less than six months ago you could have hot-footed it to wherever you wanted on the planet without a care in the world. Fast forward to today and you need to check out quarantine legislation, R rates, and temperature checks.
Travel has become more daunting for the ardent backpacker and the holiday-maker. This doesn’t mean that travel is off the cards forever. For the foreseeable future, we may be planning our trips rather than embarking on them, but in the near future, you will be able to take a jaunt overseas again. However, you may not want to be among the tourist crowds and the busy hotspots. Instead, you might want to venture somewhere off the beaten track to stay safe and reduce your risk of catching Covid-19. Take a look at this essential guide to help you head off the beaten track.
Look At A Map
When you plan a travel adventure overseas, the chances are you have an idea of where you want to go in the world. You might want to trek the Inca Trail in Peru, do some temple hopping in Kyoto, Japan or take a drive along Route 66 in the United States. To head off the beaten track successfully, you need to be close enough to activities and sites without being smack bang in the middle of them.
If you are heading to Japan, Hiroshima is a must-see city. Where the atomic bomb dropped at the end of the Second World War, this city is full of history and optimism. It’s also busy. Instead of staying here, why not hotfoot it to the neighboring island of Miyajima. Beautiful, picturesque and idyllic, you are just thirty minutes away from the city, but you can stay in a traditional Japanese ryokan far away from the crowds. The floating shrines are stunning and there are some wild deer and monkeys to get to grips with. You might even want to scale Mount Misen to see the temple on the peak.
If you fancy Thailand, don’t head to the hustle and bustle of Bangkok, and take a jaunt to Nonthaburi instead. The city is rarely visited by tourists, yet it’s not far from the stunning temple-laden Lat Phrao. You could even save money by finding a cheap house for rent in Nonthaburi rather than staying in an expensive hotel in the region. You can be somewhere less dense, stay for a longer period of time, and enjoy a quieter pace of life.
If you are planning on heading off the tourist trail, make sure that you have safety as your top priority. While you might love the idea of being free from the shackles of social media and off-grid, it is still prudent to have a smartphone and GPS device on you. If traveling solo is your thing, a GPS device is vital if your set of wheels breaks down or if you get lost. A quick lookup of your coordinates can help emergency services locate and rescue you.
Smartphones are also necessary for those just in case moments. You don’t have to be scrolling through Facebook every hour of your travels, but posting photos now and again and staying in touch with family is important to many travelers no matter where they are in the world.
Follow The Locals
If you are keen to see the authentic side of a destination, it’s not a good idea to go on tours set up for foreigners. You’ll see the bland and expensive face of a nation. Instead, follow the locals. If you want a great bowl of pasta in Rome, go where the Italians go. If you want some incredible dumplings in Beijing, forget following the Americans and venture where the Chinese go. They may not look the most salubrious of restaurants, but the best and most authentic eateries rarely are.
To help you stay off the beaten track, you need to converse with the locals. This means you need to commit to learning a little bit of language. Doing this will help you earn the respect of the locals. There’s nothing more embarrassing than shouting slowly in English, expecting a local to understand you. It’s arrogant. Don’t do it. Instead, be a responsible and caring traveler, learning some of the lingo, making friends with the locals, and finding some hidden gems.
Heading off the beaten track can be exciting. Follow this guide and you can stay safe while traveling in a post-pandemic age.
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