For some people, travel is a means to an end or a chance to relax on a beach for a week. Their primary objective is to do very little and venturing beyond the confines of their hotel is not high on their to-do list. For a small minority, however, travel is about immersing oneself in a new culture and enjoying a more authentic experience.
There are a hundred things to see and do when you visit a new place. If you do not have long, you might decide to visit the most popular tourist attractions and take a walking tour, but if you can afford to stay a little longer, there are numerous benefits to discovering more about the local arts and culture scene:
Culture And Community
Culture is the glue that holds a community together. A shared interest in music, art, and food defines a place and differentiates it from other towns and cities around the globe. For example, if you visit Italy, you know you can expect a range of rich pasta dishes and wonderful art, whereas a trip to L.A. is a chance to experience the delights of the movie industry.
Delving into the culture of a travel destination gives us unique insights and alters our perspective. Walking around a historical museum may not sound as exciting as visiting a theme park (for the kids at least), but learning more about the area’s history and discovering facts about important historical events helps you to better understand what shaped the area and the people who live there.
Plan A Cultural Itinerary
The easiest way to enjoy a more cultural travel experience is to make time for local museums and cultural centers. Include a few museums, art galleries, and historical landmarks on your travel itinerary. Lying on a beach all day is relaxing, but research has shown that travelers experience a mood boost when visiting a museum. If work is stressing you out, a slow amble around a cool, air-conditioned museum during the hottest part of the day could be just what you need.
Allow culture to influence your entertainment choices, too. Instead of sitting at a local bar every evening, make a point of catching a theater show or watching local musicians play a set. You can pick up tickets for theater shows, concerts, and other cultural events from ticketsales.com.
Total Cultural Immersion
For a more enriching experience, spend time living with local people or join a volunteer program overseas. It is hard to truly experience a new culture when you only have a few days in one place, but spending longer in a destination and sharing experiences with local people allows you to connect with them in a more authentic way.
Volunteering is a powerful way to learn about new cultures and transcend cultural barriers between you and the local community. It is also an effective way to “give something back”.
The next time you plan a trip, make a point of learning new things about the local culture. You will have a more enjoyable trip!