Traditionally, the summer has always been known as an ideal time to travel. While some may other may have their go-to summer vacation spot, others may venture out and explore a new city. Traveling through Lisbon, Portugal for the first time in my life, I've picked up on a few things to do while you're visiting a new place.
1. Ride a boat.
If you are visiting a city, such as Lisbon, that has a beautiful waterfront, take advantage of this! Lisbon, for one, has a variety of different boat tours, and it's a delightful hour-long (or however long you wish) journey. The water is perfectly peaceful and makes for great photo spot.
2. Meander around the cobbled streets.
My favorite part about visiting a city is simply walking around, people watching and just taking it all in. It's a great way to stumble upon an interesting shop, cute cafe or artsy spot.
3. Take a selfie stick.
It's an effortless way to capture your loved ones at a moment in time. Don't be afraid of drawing weird looks. It's completely worth it.
4. Be local.
Depending on your comfort zone, this could mean many different things. The first step is eating local by simply asking for the specials today, the special dish, the city or the restaurant's own specialty. Trust me, you're taste buds will appreciate new flavors. After trying new foods, don't be afraid to step off the beaten path. Instead of sticking to just hot tourist spots, check out a local music festival or a small museum. For example, I dragged my family to a Portuguese music festival, and we had the time of our lives dancing to EDM.
5. Memorize a few key phrases.
My family and I visited the Iberian peninsula as part of a guided tour with other individuals. Before my trip, I touched upon key Spanish vocabulary and added a few Portuguese phrases to my list, too. However, I was far from being a master of Spanish when it came to everyday conversations. Once the other adults in our group realized that I could converse with the locals, they begin to ask me to translate for them. Unfortunately, the only translation they actually needed was to order alcoholic drinks, everything ranging from local wines to Spanish beer. As you can imagine, my Southern, all-girls high school didn't teach me how to order drinks, so I had to look that up on Google translate. What does this mean for the average tourist exploring a foreign country? Keep a handy list of vocabulary, including random words you may not think of originally.
6. Be a part of the Fútbol (or the local's favorite sport) fever.
Are you "Crazy in Love" with Christiano Ronaldo (basically me and every other girl in Europe)? A diehard fútbol fan? An avid watcher of Euro 2016? Well, these are your three options because there is no "none of the above" option here in Lisbon. Fútbol is more important than anything, including food and sleep. During my first night in Lisbon, I was fortunate to see crowds of people gathered in the main square to watch the big Portugal vs. Poland game. If you visit Lisbon, be sure to be a part of the hype surrounding Fútbol. Even if you could not care less for the sport itself, do it for Christiano.
7. Use el baño.
Last but not least, always be sure to use the restroom. Public restrooms are few and far between. Plus, I have yet to find a public water fountain! So, that means drink up in the morning and at night and always use a restroom if you see one.
7. Be a Night Owl
Don't be afraid to explore the city at night because often you can find cool dance and music festivals or just really good nightlife. Or if that's not really you, exploring the city at night holds its own surprises. Many buildings will be lighted up at night and seeing the city at night makes for an interesting juxtaposition to exploring during the day. However, before venturing out, make sure the area is considered "safe."
Overall, travelling can be fun, but it can also be stressful. Hopefully, these seven tips will help you to make the most out of your adventures. Most importantly, strive for a balance between planning every detail out and just going with the flow. You never know what you may find!