We recently shared our thoughts on five last minute UK weekend breaks for Halloween, and as we enter the the cooler autumn and winter months, there’s something special about travelling at this time of the year. Indeed, this is the period that we do most of our travelling, and the time of the year in which we enjoyed our honeymoon as we explored 3 of Europe’s most popular cities – Barcelona, Madrid and Paris.
For us, the autumnal colours, festive markets and winter chill just make this time of the year perfect for travels. While the Halloween and Christmas holidays can often put couples and families off from travelling at this time of the year, we feel it presents a great opportunity to get your travel on. Whether it’s a weekend retreat to somewhere you regularly visit, or a cheap European city break, there is plenty of choice when it comes to travelling at this time of the year. Below we look at a few things to consider when travelling in autumn and winter.
A Time to Explore
While visiting a new city or travelling to a country that you’ve never visited can be daunting – a different language, new culture or strange food – for us it’s all about embracing these new experiences. By opening yourself up to new experiences you can look forward to exciting and refreshing travels, especially with Christmas coming up and the countless Christmas markets that come with. You can listen to travellers stories about their interactions, but you will never truly be able to understand until you’re experiencing it through your own eyes.
Being able to travel is such a gift. You are able to explore the world we live in, and learn about it, and see new things that you never even knew existed. Not to mention the people that you will meet through different walks of life. So although the build-up may be frightening – don’t ever let this fear hold you back from doing incredible things. It’s okay to be impulsive sometimes, and decide to do something like book a cruise and stay package with Bolsover Cruise Club, hop on a train and explore Europe’s bright lights from Paris to Istanbul or grab a flight to Australia and swim in the Great Barrier Reef. If you don’t decide to do something, when are you ever going to do anything?
Here are some more examples of why it’s time to travel… Like, now.
The Healing Power
Travelling can be great for the body and mind, especially if you go with an open mind to embrace the new experiences and meet new people. Even if you’re only planning on visiting somewhere for 24 or 48 hours, if you get out and really explore the area and meet new people, you can really take so much from your travels. Travelling can help you escape the stresses and pressures of every day life, and in many cases really refresh and reinvigorate you, perfect for this time of the year. Spa breaks and cruise trips can be particularly popular at this time of year, helping you to relax and unwind, almost providing a healing experience.
Whether you decide to travel alone, with family or with friends, one thing you can be sure off is the potential to meet new people, and possibly even create friendships that could last a lifetime. You meet so many people when travelling, and many are travelling for the same reasons as you (something we regularly come across on our own travels).
You can end up meeting so many different people that you would likely never meet or interact with in your every day life. You may start talking to another traveller or two, and end up going off on a bit of a journey together. Or you might be having some refreshments at a bar, only to get talking to the locals who then offer to show you a typical fun night out or let you know the hidden gems of particular cities (we recently came across this Hidden Travel site from Expedia which also has some great hidden travel tips).
So even if you feel a little too shy to walk up to someone and spark a conversation first, or you like to do your own thing when travelling, try to get out of your comfort zone and meet new people. It can present new experiences and you will soon realise that the world is a very caring and social place.
The Culture Shock
There is nothing more mind blowing than going to a country, city or village, and seeing how different the various cultures are. Of course, when we are growing up, we may hear about the odd thing or delicacy, but to witness it first hand is a completely different thing. We have experience inter-railing and travelling through multiple cities in a short period of time and it really opens your eyes to the different cultures out there. Coming from Northern Ireland we can often be in our own wee rural bubble, so new cultures can often be daunting, but our advice is simple – embrace it all.
For example, for us, a sign of respect when you’re meeting someone for the first time would be to shake their hand. In other countries you will be expected to kiss on the cheeks, sometimes even more than twice, regardless of what gender you are. And yet in other countries, a handshake or a kiss is extremely disrespectful and even a sign of aggression depending on where you go. This is also why it’s a good idea to read up about where you are planning on travelling to so you can ensure you don’t do anything that will be seen as disrespectful.
And then there’s the food too. While we may enjoy munching on burgers and chips (we’re still on the hunt for Belfast’s best burger), other places will have a field day chomping away on chocolate covered crickets and other delicacies. Cultures are so diverse, and to learn more about them from people that live their lives like that every day, is such a privilege.
What Are You Waiting For?
So what more are you waiting for? If you’re ready to see the world in a new light, and realise just how important it is to be open minded and accepting of one another, then you know what to do. Just be sure to take a camera so you can capture those special moments that no one will ever believe you had.
We’d love to hear about your favourite travel moments or your top trips when travelling. Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Until next time, happy travels.
Helen, Nial and Lewis.