People & Stories

How to be a really happy traveller

How do you feel when you travel? Are you excited, joyful, nervous? Do you feel butterflies in your tummy? Holidays are so monumental that it’s perfectly normal to feel a few butterflies in your tummy before your trip. Anticipation for new countries, cultures, languages, cuisines and busy itineraries builds so much before you set off that it’s important to remember how to translate this anticipation into feelings of pure bliss.

So, how can you make sure you get the most out of the well-deserved holiday you’ve waiting so long for? From listening to music to trying new activities and helping others, here are some easy travel tips to ensure you spend your trip being a very happy traveller.

Listen to music every day

Music is known to make you feel good… So if you want to be a happy traveller, be sure to put your earphones on and blast your favourite tunes at least once a day. You could even listen to local artists or traditional music from the destination you’re visiting. Or turn it up a notch and take some dancing classes to really get your heart racing. Another one of our favourite easy travel tips is to create a playlist of the music you listened to most on your trip. Whenever you listen to it again later on, you’ll be taken on a nostalgic journey as all the memories of your trip come flooding back. 

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elderly couple laughing and walking through scenic landscapes

Try a new food

Trying new food is one of the best ways to get to know a place when travelling. It’s also one of the most heartwarming, satisfying things you can do. You know that loving feeling you get when your mum or grandpa or someone special cooks a meal for you? You can get that feeling when travelling too! Whether you’re sharing a delicious meal with new friends, sampling local delicacies you can’t find anywhere else, or learning about unique ingredients and traditions with locals, you’re sure to have joyful experiences when you embrace the food, glorious food. 

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three people enjoying a drink together

Challenge yourself to do an activity that’s out of your comfort zone

Being a happy traveller doesn’t always mean staying in your comfort zone. In fact, learning new skills or doing something challenging is often the pathway to the most joyful experiences. The land beyond your comfort zone is where you learn about yourself, gain confidence, and grow. Curiosity and learning are also known to stimulate the brain and inspire creativity! Whether you take a language class, a surfing lesson, or even go bungee jumping, you’ll be glad you challenged yourself to try something new. As long as it’s safe and culturally sensitive, go for it! 

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woman standing under snow and christmas lights smiling

Learn about local customs before you go

If you want to have a worry-free travel experience, start learning about your destination before you go. You’ll feel more confident about travelling when you’re in the know about local customs and traditions, plus you won’t risk offending anyone while you travel. Some of the key things to learn about are offensive behaviours or gestures. 

For example, in Thailand, you shouldn’t touch anyone on the head or point your feet at anyone. In China, it is offensive to leave your chopsticks upright in a bowl as this is associated with death and funeral practices. In Iran, you should never give a “thumbs up”, as this is one of the rudest insults you can make here. 

From what to wear, how to eat, to how to greet people, there are many different rules of etiquette that vary between countries and cultures. Be sure to do your research before you go for a happier travelling experience for everyone!

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two African women in traditional dress

Learn a few phrases from the local language – and talk to the locals

Travel is all about connecting with the world. And what better way to make meaningful connections with people, than to speak their language? You’ll gain more respect and appreciation from locals if you at least attempt a few phrases like hello, please, thank you and sorry. When language barriers pop up, try communicating with a translator app… it’s all about making an effort. You never know who you’ll meet or what you’ll learn when you chat to the locals.

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Trafalgar travel director and guests looking at products in a market

Slow down

Even if you’re only travelling for a few days, try not to spend all your time rushing around to see everything. Pick a few key things you really can’t miss then be sure to schedule in time to slow down, wander down laneways, chat to locals, and enjoy a leisurely meal. You’re more likely to enjoy your travels when you take time to relax and soak up all the beautiful details. 

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woman walking through a sunflower field

Help one other person

Helping others is proven to make us happier people, so why not try it when you’re travelling too? Helping others allows us to gain a new perspective, connect with others, and removes ourselves from our own problems for a while. Whether you organise a volunteer activity like Trafalgar’s Make Travel Matter experiences, or whether it’s a spontaneous experience like helping someone cross the road, looking out for others is a happy, healing experience for all. 

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group of travellers sharing a meal and toasting together

Smile everyday

One of our most simple, but effective, travel tips is to smile! You’ll find it easier to connect with locals and make friends, as you’ll appear warmer and more approachable. It’s hard to stay grumpy when you’re smiling and you never know what positive things you’ll attract when you’re putting out happy vibes.

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Are you a happy traveller? What are your simple travel tips to stay joyful while travelling? Let us know in the comments below…

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