What you decide to do at your vacation destination usually rests on two factors: what types of attractions interest you, and what attractions are available at your destination. A third “what to do” may be as simple as…well, nothing. Laying on a beach or hanging out in a cabin might be the perfect trip for you, too!
Travelling For The Attractions
Marcus and I both enjoy visiting zoos, aquariums, museums and landmarks. Sometimes this means that we will choose a destination by looking at the attractions first. We have a list of zoos and aquariums we want to visit in the future and those would be the main highlight, and reason behind the trip. Finding a category you like could take some trial and error and research, but if you have always been fascinated by Frank Lloyd Wright (as I am), you can easily find locations of his works and make those a priority on your trip.
Places I like to visit:
- Breweries and Wineries
- Museums- historical, fun, science
- Gardens, Zoos, Aquariums
- Theme Parks
- Local Fairs- Art, Food Festivals, County Fairs, etc
- Concerts- Big name, local, events at theatres
- Anything that interests you!
Google, Bing and other search engines are one of the easiest ways to research your interests. You can get more insight by visiting Wikipedia as well. Sometimes ideas of new places to visit come from friends who went to a really awesome exhibit that you would love. Inspiration can be anywhere!
You can also get travel advice from websites like Lonely Planet which has reviews and ideas from people who have already been to the place you are considering. Sometimes having input from other people can help you find new attractions, avoid bad ones, or even get special information on a place that you can’t find elsewhere. It’s sort of like an insiders club.
We’re Here, Now How To Fill The Days?
Our trips to Minneapolis and Chicago were both only half planned. There were some places that we had found prior to our trip, such as the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, that we wanted to go to and even pre-bought tickets (a must!). The other part of our trip was left open for exploring and finding things as they came up. We didn’t plan on seeing the Sculpture Garden in Minneapolis but it was great to see some iconic art at the end of our trip. Asking hotel or restaurant staff can be an interesting way to add new ideas to your itinerary.
Checking out local city guides from the Chamber of Commerce, city websites and visitors guides can give you some ideas of what to do and see. Even if we don’t have any set plans for a trip, I still check out the offerings before we leave town so I know what to expect.
For our Italy trip, and presumably other over-seas trips, we will have a very limited set itinerary and will be spending most of our time wandering. This is totally scary for me, but I’m embracing it. Learning about a culture isn’t just about seeing their museums and eating the local foods. It’s also sitting at a café and people-watching while having a latte, enjoying a local band in the beer garden, or even just watching the sunset. I really want to try and immerse myself in a new culture, even if it’s for a few days at a time.
I feel like I hear a lot of people plan road trips the same way, without a solid plan. It’s more about the journey then and less about stopping at specific places at pre-determined times. I feel that a large part of our “human-ness” rests on our inquisitiveness and for me travel really fills that need. I’m not curious about how engines work, but I am fascinated by seeing new places and learning about how people all over the world live day-to-day. Marcus and I love trying new things be it food, beer, hiking new trails, learning new science-y things, you name it. We love the adventure!
I hope this inspires you to seek out your curiosities and learn something new about the amazing planet we live on.