Tag Archives: travel

How to Get an “Authentic” Travel Experience

Sometimes travellers visiting foreign countries feel pressure to get an “authentic” experience. On a basic level, “authentic” may mean avoiding tourist traps which overcharge for mediocre food that a local would never buy, but there’s also a deeper meaning. Read on to learn how travellers can experience another country the way locals there do.

Work in a Country to Live Like a Local

It takes a long time to absorb the full context of a foreign country, and the truth is the search for “authenticity” is probably impossible: you can’t just parachute in and fully absorb it in days or even weeks. Every country, every region, has its own complex languages, history, politics, and customs. Anyway, there isn’t one single and definitive experience of any one place.

But the closest thing to an “authentic” experience involves working and living in that country for an extended period of time. Local residents don’t merely visit the famous sites and restaurants, they work!

Everyday Routines

When you develop a work routine in a foreign country, you’ll live in that country the way millions of people there do every day. Work is the gateway to a local culture.

In some cultures it’s common to take a siesta in the middle of the work day, or go karaoke singing after work with your boss. The differences from the work routines here and where you’re from will make you appreciate the country you’re visiting. Authenticity is all about being immersed in another culture, rather than just seeing it.

Sharing Languages

One popular way to work and live abroad is to teach English as a second language — if you’re fortunate enough to be a native speaker of the language people around the world are so eager to learn, you can teach English while having an epic travel experience.

If you want the chance to teach ESL and live in a varied and rich culture like South Korea, you can learn more at Travelandteachrecruiting.com and see how the benefits of linking with a company that handles everything to get you employed, such as flights, visas, housing, ensuring you’re settled in to the new country, and preparing you for teaching in a classroom. Many of the staff were teachers themselves, and totally understand the position you’ll be in. Living in a new and exotic place requires a period of adjustment, and you’ll be glad you have support to help get you acclimatized.

Teaching abroad is an excellent way to work and live in another culture radically different from your own, and provides you with the closest thing you can get to an “authentic” travel experience.

You’ll learn a lot about their culture and yours, make friends for life, and have the kind of exhilarating experience you only get from taking a risk. Everyone should do something along these lines once in their life — there’s just no way to synthesize the travel experience but to pick up and go.

If you want an authentic travel experience that lets you feel another culture at a deeper level than merely avoiding the tourist traps, move to a faraway country and teach English as a second language.

4 Adventurous Experiences Around Pittsburgh

If you’re a fan of adventure, Pittsburgh is the place to be. With three rivers in the downtown area as well as numerous state parks in the surrounding countryside, you’ll never have a lack of physically challenging activities to keep you busy. Be sure to add the following experiences to your list of things to do when vacationing in this city.

Kayak the Three Rivers

Image via Flickr by alexander geoff

The Allegheny, Ohio, and Monongahela Rivers meet at a confluence at Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh. While it’s a beautiful sight to behold, it’s also a fun one to explore. Get out on the water by renting a kayak at Kayak Pittsburgh on the North Shore.

In your telltale yellow boat, you’ll be able to glide next to the Riverfront Trail to see both PNC Park and Heinz Field from the rivers. Head over to Station Square to dock and grab a bite to eat, or paddle down the Allegheny to check out Washington’s Landing.

Bike the Great Allegheny Passage

Pittsburgh is lucky to be a stop on the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP), a trail that starts at Point State Park and connects to the C&O Canal Towpath in Cumberland, Maryland, for a continuous path all the way to Washington, D.C. The 150-mile GAP prides itself in being nearly level at most points, with an average grade of less than 1 percent. Because the whole trail is made of crushed limestone, it’s perfect for walking, biking, or jogging for as long as you feel like going.

Float Down Natural Water Slides

Image via Flickr by brittreints

Ohiopyle State Park is a little over an hour drive from Pittsburgh; however, it’s well worth the trip thanks to one unique feature — natural water slides. The park encompasses land in the Laurel Ridge, which includes rocky terrain. Over time, a shoot of the Youghiogheny River carved a path through these rocky gorges, creating a smooth natural slide that carries riders downhill.

Swimmers can slide about 100 feet into a shallow pool. Just make sure the water levels aren’t too low or high, or you could end up getting stuck or being carried away by the current.

Since Ohiopyle State Park has myriad more opportunities to explore, considering booking your hotel close to this area. Check out Pittsburgh hotels on Hotel Planner to find a place that’s between the hustle and bustle of the city and the relaxing atmosphere of the country.

Zoom Around Mines and Meadows

Feel like zooming through the forest on a motorized vehicle? Then the Mines and Meadows ATV Park in Wampum is just the place for you. Just 45 minutes outside the city, this park has a twist— it was built on the site of former underground limestone mines. This means that you can take your journey underground to zoom around the abandoned caves and paths. Splash through underground lakes in near darkness for an experience that will get your heart beating.

Pittsburgh is any adventurer’s dream city. Whether you are alone or in a group and crave stimulating experiences downtown or thrilling journeys in the country, Pittsburgh can appease your needs.

Learn the History of the Places you visit

When you end up at a venues on vacation, a day trip or even running about the area you live, do you take time to learn the history of the places you visit. For many individuals, getting to know a place before they visit it or immediately after is not all that uncommon. Whether historical significance or is a sentimental place, many delve into its background. 

With that being the case, how best can you go about finding out the history of the places you visit?

venues

Internet Can Be a Great Resource

One of the best resources to use when searching the history of the places you visit and even secrets of a place etc. is the Internet. Pre-Internet, many relied on books and other periodicals to find out background info. There is also of course word-of-mouth from people who’ve experienced some history.

So, if you might have interest in say Disneyland secrets, where best to start? You could do a general Google search to get you off and running. There is also the opportunity to learn more by visiting Disneyland itself.  One of the world’s most famous parks, Disneyland has welcomed visitors from near and far for decades. As such, millions of people have come to learn about this venue and all it has to offer. Stop for a moment to think about all Walt Disney accomplished in his life.

He was responsible for Disney World and Disneyland. He was also the man behind countless shows and characters. To say Walt Disney is an icon would in most cases be an understatement. Even decades after his death, people are still learning about this man. In going online and learning more about Disneyland, you become educated on Disney.

 

Knowing More About Hometown History

Even if you do learn a lot of information about the Disney brand, what about some venues in your own hometown?  Would you even consider taking a tour.

As many discover, they have some amazing history right in their neighborhoods. To dig a little deeper at home, ask around town if you are new to the area. If you’ve lived there most or all your life, there’s a good chance you know about some or many historical venues. One great thing in hometown history surrounding you is it makes a great education for kidsIn today’s world, too many kids unfortunately grow up without knowing a lot of details about their homes. To counter that, you can instill a sense of historical pride in them from an early age. That early age of course should be when they are able to comprehend such details.

Last, encourage your children to take pictures and even begin a journal. Before long, they will catch the history bug and want to pass it on one day to their own kids. 

No matter where the venues you visit, learning about and appreciating the local history is important. From parks to homes and more, learning what is around you in life should always be on your checklist. So, will you take some interest in getting to know your surroundings?

 

 

 

To tour or not to tour, that is the question

We personally think tours are awesome, whether they are full tours that include hotels and the airfare, or day tours where you just spend a day seeing some sights, we love them all. We even love the hop on and hop off tours, though we really don’t consider them tours as much as informative transport. Both traveling with a tour group, and on your own, are great options for the traveler to see the world. We will discuss a few of what we think are pros and cons of both.

Pros to taking a tour

It’s easy and you don’t know much or to think much about what you are doing. Once you select the tour, you put yourself in their hands and away you go. There are some great tour companies such as TourOpp discount tours and they love what they do. You will learn a lot from a good tour guide. A tours is more relaxed and peaceful, you can take your time and are on nobody’s agenda. A tour is generally cheaper for doing the same things, as you travel in a group and can share some expenses such as the bus, as well as get bulk discounts. You will make new friends that can carry over into the rest of your life.

Cons to taking a tour

You are on a schedule, so you can’t always take the time you want, to see things. Things can be a bit rushed. They might not go everywhere you want them to go. You might be bored at a location, but stuck there until they are ready to leave.

Pros to traveling alone

You can take your time, and see everything you want. You can leave when you feel you have had enough. You can grab opportunities as they come up without having to wait for anyone. You have much more freedom.

Cons to traveling alone

It can be a bit more expensive such as if you have to take taxis and don’t know the local transportation. You can also get what we like to call a “tourist discount”, which can more than double the price of things. It can be much more confusing on your own, especially in a foreign language country. It might not be as safe, as you will not recognize the same danger as you might back home. You might miss a lot of great experiences as you just will not know about them. You might also not hear about the nuances of a location or the culture.

What we have found to be the most rewarding is both. We generally take a tour for an area, learn all the interesting things, the history, the culture, see what there is to see, then we can come back on our own and take more time. Once we know what there it there, it makes it so much easier to enjoy things you have seen before. Maybe eat at that cafe that you saw, or go shopping a little longer, or spend time in that museum, there are so many things. If you take the tour first, you never feel you have missed anything. There are many sites that have great tips and information on travel. So we suggest do your research an get yourselves in the hands of an experienced tour guide. Sit back and relax and literally watch the world go by.