Traveling is great. You can see so many sights, learn more about yourself, and live some amazing experiences.
But the best part about traveling is meeting other people and experiencing other cultures. It’s part of the reason I push hostels over hotels.
I’m a shy person, always have been so I have trouble listening to my own advice on this one. But the times I have, it’s been amazing. Costa Rica goes down as my favorite country so far. This is mostly because I traveled there alone and the only people I had to talk to where locals and other travelers.
Why is it important to talk to other travelers and the locals?
Sure, you’ve read your Rick Steve’s books and spent hours on Pinterest so you think you know exactly what you want to do and how to prepare, but chances are, you don’t.
In Ireland, my mom and I planned to our two days in Galway walking around the city, doing some shopping, and maybe drive up to Connemara. We went down to breakfast in our B&B and started chatting with a couple who had just went to the Aran Islands. They highly recommended it. We checked out what Rick Steve’s had to say and he agreed. It was nothing short of mesmerizing.
In Costa Rica, I found out about the best beaches, places to eat, and activities in the area from talking to other people. I wouldn’t have ended up watching dolphins on a sunset cruise if I didn’t talk to the others at the hostel.
Speaking of, I would have been on said cruise completely alone if I wasn’t willing to talk to and hang out with a few of the other travelers at the hostel. It was a really awesome experience.
Of course be safe. Be cautious of who you trust and how much you trust them. Be alert and aware.
And lastly, there’s something to be said for having time by yourself and meditating so to speak. I spent many hours laying in a hammock, going on walks, or reading a book, but a vacation really comes to life when you talk to and spend time with others.