You’re looking for a new adventure, but you’ve already been on one too many road trips. Your mother also keeps subtly hinting at another family cruise, but no matter how much of a bargain you’re getting, you can’t stand the idea of spending an entire week with the parents and your grandma on a boat, surrounded by an ocean. You can’t swim, so there’s no way you can make it back to shore if you go crazy. What you need is a vacation away from your vacation. It’s time to embark on an epic adventure. Here’s how:
1. The Rail
The rail system is an awesome way to travel. While in Italy, I used the trains to go on day long adventures to nearby cities – from Rome to Milan to Pisa. All the stops were, at most, a few hours away. Most trains will also serve food and many have overnight accommodations.
2. Random Stops
While you’re on the train, or even the subway for that matter, might as well do something adventurous. Try getting off at a random stop to explore a neighborhood you’ve never been to before. See what foods are there, what the houses look like, and even stop to talk to some locals.
3. Backpacking and Hostels
If you’re looking for a way to make new friends and travel on a budget, then backpacking might just be the answer for you. There’s something intriguing about not exactly having a plan. You can also stop at a hostel for a night’s rest. Hostels are cheap, since they are usually comprised of shared rooms and bathrooms. This means you can stay up all night, talking to your bunkmate. I’m sure you both have stories to share.
If you are tired of traveling for leisure, try volunteering in a foreign country. You could teach English or work in a foster home. Having a sense of purpose will make you feel more like a local and less like a tourist. The relationships you form with the people you help are also priceless memories you will keep with you forever.
Remember, I said “epic”, not necessarily safe. Hitchhiking is by far, the cheapest ways to travel and it ensures that you will make a lot of friends along the way. Long drives and long talks will definitely happen, but always exercise caution. Although generally people who pick up hitchhikers tend to be the friendliest people, if they look like a serial killer, it’s best not to get into the white van.
6. By Surprise
Still not adventurous enough for you? How about investing in a trip with Magical Mystery Tour, a company that offers a planned vacation for you based on your budget, your interests and your past travel experiences. You will receive a sealed folder in the mail with all you trip details that can only be opened once you reach your travel hub. Surprise.
If you have a lot of cash to burn – and I mean A LOT, why not travel to space, courtesy of the Virgin Galactic, an American-based, British-owned commercial spaceflight company. A ticket costs only $250,000 and deposits are even refundable! Who can turn down that one-in-a-lifetime offer?
8. Desert Island Drop-Off or Real Survival Camping
Do you enjoy shows like Lost, Gilligan’s Island or Man Vs. Wild? If so, try planning a getaway with Docastaway, a travel company that specializes in desert-island travel. Docastaway will take you to a secluded island, where you can choose between two types of vacations: “Adventure Mode”, for all you hardcore survivalists and “Comfort Mode” for the rest of us folks who don’t like to eat bugs for protein. If you can’t afford to go with a travel company, then try this on you own by driving to a remote location and camping.
9. Be a tourist at your own city
I’ve grown up in New York all my life and yet, I don’t think I’ve ever been to the Empire State building. Sometimes, it’s easy to forget how magical a place is. Revive the magic by visiting some of the most touristy locations in your area. Act like a tourist, take locks of pictures and create some new memories in an old place.
10. Study Abroad
You’re never too old to go back to school. Why not try taking a course in something you’ve always been interested in? Digital Photography in Italy? Art in France? It will allow you to experience the world through the eyes of a curious student.
Follow these tips, and I guarantee your next vacation will be filled with adventure, and not memories of your parents in their swimwear.