Get "Off The Beaten Path" with these 10 tips!

#10 A good first impression is critical to a good time.

We suggest you look for something close to your hotel that you know you like to do and check it out immediately after checking-in.  Maybe hang out at a public plaza and people watch? Head to a neighbourhood pub and chat with the locals to see what is happening while you are there.  Maybe there is a great museum or shopping close by.  Make sure you start your adventure on the right track. 

#9 Take the Bus.

We love riding the bus more than the subway when we have a choice.  Travelling above ground allows you to see things that you might not have otherwise seen.  Can't count the number of times we have jumped off the bus because we saw something interesting that we didn't know about. There is often a local bus route that is very scenic or passes by many of the local attractions.  Be a bus rider!

#8 Dare to be different.

Challenge yourself to do something you wouldn't normally do.  Maybe it is a museum or gallery if you aren't normally a culture vulture.  Maybe a sporting event if you aren't a jock. Be prepared to try new things!

#7 Ask a local.

ocals are a wealth of knowledge don't be afraid to ask them for tips.  We find they are more than happy to share their insights...great way to find a hidden gem. We ask people on the bus, in line ups and at cafes are the best.  Don't be afraid to ask!

#6 Pretend you are a local

Brenda loves to check out the local grocery stores and shop for a picnic or pick up some food for breakfast or lunch in our hotel room  Grocery stores are a great place to do some urban exploring, mix with the locals and learn some cultural difference. It was great fun in Frankfurt to wander the aisles of the Grocery store and stop in their cafe and watch how they managed recycling bottles and plastics - bottles and cans are sucked into some sort of machine like something from Star Trek. 

#5 Avoid the Franchises.

We have a rule that we never eat or drink at a national or international franchise if we can avoid it. We know it is tempting to o somewhere familiar, but resist the temptation - it will be worth it

#4 Do your research in advance.

You don't want to waste time on your vacation doing research so make sure you have a list of things you want to see or do.  Perhaps organize them into 2 or 3 things each day.  We like to have one in the morning, one in the afternoon and one in the evening.  e would never have found the Tiki Lounge in Great Falls MT with the mermaid swimmers if we hadn't done our research. 

#3 Be spontaneous.

I know we just said make a plan, but don't get locked into the plan.  If you see or hear something that is captures your interest then GO FOR IT! The best experience are often spontaneous ones!  Like the time we exited I90 at the last minute to check out Livingston Montana. 

#2 Be a flaneur!

Always reserve some time to just wander aimlessly - take the sidewalk less traveled, head down a back alley that looks interesting, take a bus to the end of the line and then get off on the way back t a stop that looked interesting. 

#1 Stop / Look /Listen

Don't always be in a rush.  Spend an hour in the morning at a local cafe / breakfast spot and watch the locals grab their coffee and scurrying off to work. You will appreciate that you are on vacation!  

 

Found this amazing washroom in a thrift store when we decided to get off the interstate highway and check out Livingston Montana.  Also got some great books at the thrift store.

iding the tram in Lyon provided us with a much better appreciation of the city and how people live there today vs centuries ago. 

While in the local grocery store in Anchorage we found this guy putting out an amazing display of orchids.  Had a wonderful chat with him about growing and care of orchids.  That wasn't in our plan. 

ecided to check out Main Street Coeur d'Alene while staying at the lakeside resort and lucked out as it was parade day.  Kids were having fun riding their bikes, push cars, walking dogs up Main Street.  It was very fun and colourful. We could never have planned this! 

We love street markets.  Paris has markets everyday in different locations, so we had is all mapped out so that everyday started with a market. From there we just let things happen.

n doing our research we knew that we arrived in Frankfurt on Saturday morning which was flea market day on the river.  We hustle our buns from airport to hotel, threw our bags in the room and headed to the river.  It was a lovely April day and the "green beach" was full of people hanging out.  Guess what we did all afternoon?