The Anti-Tourist

I like to beat new paths for myself.

If you take photography seriously, like really seriously, then there’s a whole world out there just waiting to be snapped. If you want to expand your photography portfolio, or even just your photo album then there are a plethora of photogenic places out there.

photographer-455747_960_720.jpg

As a photographer you want to see a variety in the things you snap. You want to see wildlife. You want to see untouched and pristine areas of nature. You want to see gorgeous white sands and a tranquil sea to match it. A place that offers this kind of variety is Koh Chang. Described as a ‘photographer’s dream’, this island of Thailand is rife with snapping opportunities. And there is no bigger photography opportunity than an elephant — a Thailandish elephant at that. Imagine the scene: you bathing with elephants whilst somebody that you trust to look after you camera snaps you. That would surely be one to add to the collection, would it not? The elephant is an important figure of Thailand, and Koh Chang’s name is derived from meaning ‘Elephant Island’. So, if you want to fully immerse yourself in the culture of Thailand then this should be the your first destination and bathing with elephants should be your first pastime. Just make sure to not let any elephants stand on your camera.



And once you’re done in the Jewel of the Southeast then there are whole host of other places dotted around the world for you and your camera to visit. If you like visiting the most remote places out there or are attuned to your inner anti-tourist, then look no further than Petra, Jordan. A visit here is an escape from society. It is an escape from all wrong things about busy and polluted city environments. Rife with archaic tombs that aren’t bothered or disturbed by nearby cities or suburbs, this place truly is one of the final frontiers left on earth. It is, however, inhabited. In fact, it’s been inhabited for as long as time itself! But the locals know how to tend to their area, and they know how to preserve it; and it’s not just they that help preserve it, the World Heritage Convention do too. Petra is one of the final ‘untouched’ areas that the world has to offer, so why not take a few snaps of it before it’s ‘touched’?

If you’re willing to go further than the average tourist then you should most definitely take a trip to the photogenic locations above. As enriching as a trip is, it is no good if you have no photos to look back on afterwards. It’s just as well that you’re a photographer then, isn’t it?! Just remember to pack your camera!
The majority of us welcome summer with open arms. And, we jet off to even hotter destinations when we go away. We love to soak up the rays. But, that doesn’t apply to everyone. There are a lot more people than we expect who don’t enjoy summer. For those individuals, heat is to be avoided at all costs. It’s understandable when you think about it - excessive heat can be sticky and uncomfortable. For those people, the idea of visiting an even hotter destination when they go away seems insane. What kind of escape is that? The good news is, there are holiday destinations that won’t increase the heat. These destinations mean those sun-fearing individuals can enjoy their time away. Here are just a few worth mentioning.


SKIING HOLIDAYS

This one goes without saying, right? Skiing destinations allow you to cool down all year round. The climate in some may still be hot, but the snow helps even out the heat. There are many fantastic ski destinations to consider, too. From luxury ski chalets in France, to a chance to ski down the mountains of Lapland, take your pick. This option is perfect for those who like to get sporty while they’re away. Don’t worry if you’ve never been skiing, either. Any resort is sure to offer the chance of lessons should you need them. And, you don’t need to stick to the mountains during your stay. If you’re holidaying with someone who loves the sun, this could be the perfect compromise. You can go for day trips to hotter climates, and return to your refreshing mountain escape.

CHANGE OF SEASON?
What better way to escape the sun than to head somewhere experiencing a different season? As we go into our summer, there are many destinations just entering the long winter. The most prominent place worth mentioning is Australia. Winter officially starts there in June, so it’s the perfect cool holiday destination. Of course, it is Australia, so you can still expect warm temperatures. But, it’ll be a lot cooler than many places. You can expect temperatures of around 15 degrees, which isn’t bad when you consider the heat elsewhere.
Or, you could head to South Africa. Winter there starts at the end of June, so again, it’s the perfect time. It’s a little hotter here during the day and could reach up to 18 degrees. But, nights can drop down to 1 degree or less. Even if you get warm during the day, you’ll want to wrap up in the evening.

BEACH HOLIDAYS
A beach holiday is another good one for a compromise.  It’s true that many beach destinations have high temperatures, but the sea offers the perfect opportunity to cool off. If you’re really against heat, head for somewhere like Galicia in Spain, which has summer highs of 18 degrees. Again, it’s still quite hot, but it’s not as bad as a lot of places. Plus, you can hop in the sea when you’re at risk of overheating.

I love France - from its food to its people and fashion, it's just one of those iconic countries, and Paris is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s well worth a visit at least once in your lifetime - and make sure you make the most of it by planning well.




You might decide to head to Paris as a starting spot for your trip. After all, if you haven’t been before, you will want a couple of days in the capital to explore everything it has to offer. But if you don’t arrange any transport, you are going to be stuck in the capital for the whole travel experience. And then you won’t be able to see the real beauty of France in the other less well-known areas. Therefore, you need to ensure you book a car for your trip. That way, you can drive to the other towns at your own free will. And it means you can stop wherever that takes your fancy. You can look online for rental companies you can use to book a set of wheels for your trip. Just make sure you take your license with you when you collect the car!


It can always feel a bit surreal when you visit another country, and they are speaking another language. In fact, you can often feel like an outsider if you don’t know the basics. And by not knowing any French, you are cutting yourself off from the possibility of making friends while you are on your trip. After all, there might be some interesting people who you can spark up a friendship with. Therefore, before you head to France, you should learn some of the language. You could attend a group which will teach you some of the basics before you go. Otherwise, you could download some form of e-book from sites like LearnFrenchTogether. You can then read this on the way to learn some French before you get to the country. And you will soon feel more at ease when you know some basics while on your travels!

You are bound to be overwhelmed when you look online for tours while you are in France. After all, there are a wealth of tour groups which you can go with to ensure you make the most of your trip. But for a better experience, you should look for a local tour guide. After all, they will know the area well and will give you a better insight. In fact, they are bound to take you to places which won’t be on a normal tour. Not only this but they are bound to be cheaper too. Therefore, look online for locals who are organising tours which you can book before you travel. And remember to hunt down somewhere unique to stay! After all, staying with a host family, or even house sitting can make it even more fun!

Woman temple.jpeg

If you are going to travel the world, there is little point in only going to the parts that all the tourists go to. You see it in every city in the world that has any sort of tourist trade: it is clean, reasonably safe and in many countries, disappointingly homogeneous. If you live in the UK you will be quite familiar with all sorts of brands, such as Starbucks. Incidentally, the American chain is planning to open a store in Milan, the home of espresso. One can only wonder how the Italians will feel about it and whether they will get their coffee there or just leave it for the tourists who don’t know any better. In any case, if you travel from London to New York, you will see the same coffee shops all over the place. If you travel to Moscow, Tokyo, or Pretoria, you will find Starbucks in all of them. Starbucks is just one example. You can find McDonald's in St. Petersburg now (besides the one in Florida). Either way, the point is that travelling is all about learning how the locals live and seeing the place for what it is. Every city around the world is unique in its own way but if you only explore its tourist traps, you’ll come home not really having experienced it at all.

However, forging your own path and finding the little-known parts of town can be dangerous. One of the (only) virtues of the tourist areas is that they are usually well policed and the only crimes that you need to worry about are pickpocketing (and there ways of protecting yourself from that too). If you want to strike out and find the best parts of town, there are a few precautions that you may want to take. Here are a few ideas for things you should consider investing in before your next trip:

While travel insurance may sound quite boring, it is actually important. If you do lose any of your belongings on your travels, it can represent a massive amount of money that you would not be able to get back otherwise. It would be a shame if any of your future trips were postponed because you had to replace all of the things you need for your next adventure. Besides, travel insurance is also really useful if your flights are cancelled for instance. It is a particularly good idea if you travel often because the more chances there are for something to go wrong, the more times that they actually will.
If the unexplored is your bread and butter, there aren’t many places that are more out of the way and untrodden than beautiful Lapland. Forming the most Northern part of Finland, Lapland is one of the best places on the planet to not only see the Northern Lights.

If you’re looking for a romantic getaway minus the usual cliches, a magical winter getaway with your partner, Lapland offers a truly unique romantic holiday experience, with many twists. There really is something for every couple looking for something a little different in this winter wonderland paradise. So here are my top 5 things to do if you’re already dreaming of a romantic trip with a difference.

Husky Sledge Ride

Of course the only place to start is the Husky Sledge Ride. The white knuckle way to whizz around the snow capped trees and beautiful landscapes. You’ll be amazed by the experience of gliding through snow covered forests at the speed of light surrounded only by the silence of the nature that surrounds you. A once in a lifetime experience, and an all-time bucket list entry.

8575727306_ed9e22a47d_b.jpg

See The Northern Lights

When people think of the Northern Lights people tend to think of Iceland as the premium destination to see them. That is actually not the case, as Lapland is even further North than Iceland, providing one of the best and most romantic, locations on the planet to witness nature’s most astounding sky display.

Have a Steamy Sauna

When in Lapland! The sauna is a Finnish institution, so do as the locals do, shrug off the frosty temperatures outside and hop into a steamy, bubbly pool of paradise. Saunas are such a huge part of Finnish life, that there are estimated to be over 2 million in the country. That’s pretty impressive considering the population stands at little over 5 million. So live like a local and dive on in.

Visit Santa Claus

5306867729_65f51d2a58_b.jpg

No trip to Lapland is complete without meeting the big man himself. Keep your inner child happy and check out the charming little village of Rovaniemi. Don’t miss the little post office where you can see all the letters coming in from children from every corner of the World. Also, as the village is on the Arctic Circle, don’t forget to to cross over it, just you know, for fun!

Stay in a Log Cabin

Lapland is as famous for its idyllic log cabin and rural retreats as it is for its Northern lights. So why not treat yourself and your partner to the ultimate winter wonderland digs and hire your own beautiful long cabin? Log cabins and Northern Lights go hand in hand as there really is no more romantic place to take in the famous Northern Lights than from the comfort of your very own cosy log love shack or winter cottage.

11658105644_3a73d6f504_b.jpg


bora-bora-french-polynesia-sunset-ocean.jpg

If life should be anything it is lived, and one of the best ways to do that is by making the most out of each adventure. It doesn’t matter if it is a family holiday or a lifetime of traveling you have chosen, precious days feel that much longer when they are that little bit more fulfilling. It could be learning a new skill, enjoying your favorite hobby or simply smiling your way through, and one of the best ways to achieve this fulfillment is by exploring the water.

The ocean has everything people should want: beauty, freedom and, of course, mystery, and that is why it has such a pull. As such, we have come up with a list of water-based activities you have to try and do, that you have to add to your bucket list and one day experience, because all of these experiences are absolutely mind-blowing, and they are in some of the most amazing locations anywhere in the world.

pexels-photo-26658.jpg

Mexico is known for having one of the most bio-diverse seas anywhere on earth and, is easily explorable through trips such as a 9-day tour. On paper, this experience may read in such a way you think it is just a snorkeling holiday, but it is so much more than that. Instead, it is a liberating and almost meditative experience, one where you get taught by a champion freediver the art of holding your breath before you get to swim with whale sharks without any scuba gear whatsoever. But that’s not all because of this an experience where your breath while be snatched away time and time again as you play with sea lions, dive with jackfish and explore a shipwreck.

pexels-photo-255832.jpeg

If you’re thinking that Alaska is too cold for anyone to swim in the waters there then you’d be right. But that doesn’t mean you can’t experience some of the greatest water-based experiences anyone can ever hope to bear witness to. And one of these is the chance to go Ketchikan Fishing. The marine waters in the Ketchikan area support an astounding amount of fish, with around five types of salmon surviving there. Yes, you’ll most definitely want to pack a raincoat, but be sure you leave enough space in that suitcase to take home an immense amount of memories. It is fishing like you have never seen.

Inle_Lake_Burma_floating_village_4.jpg


Not a holiday destination that makes it onto most people’s list, but the chance to explore a chain of 800 islands on a 50-foot catamaran should not be passed up. It may not have all the luxuries you would hope for, but what it lacks in that area it makes up for in accessibility. You see, being on a smaller boat means you can access places cruise liners can’t, you get the real experience, you get to see hidden gems and discover things off the beaten track with nothing but the ultimate traveling playlist coming through your headphones. You get to see the little bays, meet the elders of Moken (an indigenous tribe), paddleboard through the mangroves and see kingfishers and hornbills like you have never seen them. The sailing is done in short bursts too, which means you’ll get to do all the exploring you want, namely snorkeling over reefs, truly staggering reefs. And what better way is there to relax on a catamaran than to lie on the hammock at the front and watch as the sun sets on the waters around you.

There’s absolutely nothing better than looking forward to your next trip - and planning it is almost as exciting as actually being there! Here are some tips on how to get ready for your next holiday...

Decide How Much You Want To Wing It

Woman on Top of Car
Image source

First of all, it’s important to decide just how much of your trip you want to leave up to chance. It often depends on how long you’re intending to be away for - if you’re backpacking for a month, then it’s a whole lot easier to make decisions while you’re there and as you get to know the places that you’re travelling to. If you’re only going away for a long weekend then it’s often a good idea to make a list of things you’d like to do while you’re away, so that you can cram in all the city’s best sights and tourist attractions. If you aren’t sure what exactly to do or how to plan your trip, look up a company like Artisan Travel to help you figure out what you should do - let’s face it, the professionals always know best.

Make Sure Your Finances Are In Place

beach, brunette, girl
Image source

No holiday is worth putting yourself into financial difficulties, so it’s important to make sure that your finances are fine before you leave. If you’re going backpacking, make sure that you budget your cash to ensure you have a cushion left over so that if you have a problem with your hostel booking or if you need to fly home quickly, you’re able to do so. A lot of the time, having a little extra money means having a little extra freedom and it can mean the difference between having to walk through a dangerous part of a foreign city and being able to take a taxi back to safety - don’t splash all your cash on your first day away.

Pack What You Might Need

Red Leather Satchel Backpack
Image source

Packing isn’t really as much fun as the rest of preparing for your trip - given the choice between making a list of the best tourist sites in Rome and sorting out which pairs of socks you’re going to take with you, most of us would choose to read about the Colosseum and which pizza restaurants are the best ones to go to. But it’s still an important thing to do, and the number one thing to remember is that you probably don’t need as much as you think you will, particularly if you’re going backpacking. If that’s the case then you need to focus on taking layers with you, like tights to wear under shorts, cardigans for the evening, and light scarves to cover up your shoulders and head if you need to. Make sure that you take medical supplies with you like plasters and any medication like painkillers and stomach settling drugs for any food that doesn’t agree with you. If you’re going to hostels, take a sleeping sack so you don’t get bitten by any bed bugs, and make sure that you take all your chargers with you so that you can use your electronic equipment.

People often talk about traveling as though it’s always an enlightening, edifying experience. While trips can certainly be those things, the kind of trips that most people take just aren’t. People tend to get to their chosen destinations, ogle at the place’s most famous landmarks, eat some of the local cuisine and go back home.

To truly get a feel for the place, you have to be a little bit more adventurous than that. Some of the ways you can do this involve getting a little extra help. Some of them involve you actually being a lot more casual and independent at the location, treating the place almost as you would your own home town.


Wander around

When we plan a vacation, we often make a list of all the things we want to see when we get there. While this can be an effective way of ensuring that you end up doing everything you want to do, it often doesn’t leave a lot of time to simply wander around. There always has to be some specific destination if we’re walking around.

But one of the best ways to get a much deeper feel of the place is to just wander around. Instead of planning to go to a specific landmark, take at least an hour or two each day to step outside and start walking in whatever direction takes your fancy. Take the time to explore the nooks and crannies. This will make you feel much more familiar with the place in no time. After all, most of us go for a wander around our home towns from time to time!


Get in touch with the locals

By connecting with the people who live in the place you’re visiting, you’ll come to understand the place a lot more. To you, this place is a somewhat strange environment; for the locals, it’s simply their everyday reality! You could also get some location suggestions from the locals. After all, the guidebooks and tour guides aren’t going to show you everything a place has to offer, and the locals may know some cool places off the beaten path to check out.

Of course, depending on where you’re headed, this may mean that you actually have to learn how to communicate with the locals! That means it’s really best to try to get to grips with the basics of the language of the place. If you’re just wandering around without a basic knowledge of the language, then you’re really going to feel alienated. After all, how many times have we been to a foreign country only to wish we’d tried to learn more of the language?


Take a tour

Sometimes, being led around by the right tour guides can give you a really in-depth view of what the place works, what its people is like, and what kind of history took place. A good touring holiday is recommended for those who don’t have much time to do their own research or learn any of the local language.

Because the tour guides themselves will have an intimate knowledge of the area, it’s worth talking to them for advice for places to go. They won’t always recommend the places that are shown specifically on the tour! In this sense, the right touring holiday can be a great way to have a sort of ‘sage’ on the trip with you, guiding you towards a strong familiarity with this new place!


Read!

This is actually something you can get started on before the vacation. Use the Internet to look up some of the history of the location. Another underrated tactic is to get some novels set in the place that you’re visiting. A lot of people may argue that fiction couldn’t possibly be that helpful in this regard. But seeing how people’s imaginations play out in such a place can actually work really well when it comes to giving you a great picture of the place and its people. To take a simple example, Bleeding Edge by Thomas Pynchon can give you a very intimate feel for the people and places of New York City, despite its wild plot.

Reading the local newspapers when you get there, of course, can give you a really great picture of the place. It will also give you something specific to discuss with the locals! You can check out local news sites online before you head off, but try to pick up a newspaper or two when you actually arrive.

If your idea of a holiday isn’t just basking in the sunshine or seeing the sights, an adventure break may be an appealing option. Sometimes, it’s refreshing to get into the outdoors and enjoy the thrills and spills it offers. If you’re keen to switch things up, here are some of the best destinations on offer for your next adventure holiday.

The USA

The USA is a veritable playground when it comes to adventure pursuits. Wherever you travel, you won’t be too far away from a national park, and the opportunity to cycle, hike, climb or swim to your heart’s content. Think crystal clear lakes, rippling streams, tranquil glades, and rugged outcrops. Marvel at dusty desert plains, clear skies filled with luminescent stars and deep canyons. There are so many highlights that it’s hard to know where to begin. Go camping in Delaware Water Gap and hike the Appalachian Trail or hire a cabin at Yosemite and enjoy a scenic horseback trek. Go white water rafting at Zion National Park or skirt around the edges of beautiful Crater Lake on your bike. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or you’re a novice, there are hiking, cycling and kayaking tours to suit everyone, and if you don’t have all the gear, don’t worry. You’ll often find that you can hire any extra equipment you need.


New Zealand


New Zealand is a beautiful country, and there are few places on earth that can compete with it when it comes to opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. The geography lends itself to exploration, and you can choose from a huge range of activities. Head to the Tongariro Crossing for the ride or hike or your life or visit Queenstown if you’re keen to bungee jump, skydive or ski. The best way to see New Zealand is to hire a car, so you can explore at your leisure and stop whenever and wherever you want. Once you’ve finished on South Island, you can catch a short flight from Christchurch to Wellington and discover the wonders of the North Island. If you love water sports, head north to the Bay of Plenty.


The UK

The UK is famed for its quaint villages, cosy pubs, and lively cities, but it also has plenty to offer outdoorsy types. If you enjoy cycling, climbing, fishing or walking, there’s an array of incredible destinations on offer, including the Lake District, the Yorkshire Dales, Bodmin Moor, and Exmoor. If you cross the English border, you can tackle the peaks of Snowdonia National Park or try your hand at skiing on the slopes in the Cairngorms.


If you’re an all-action hero looking for your next holiday destination, there are so many options out there. Hopefully, this guide has given you some ideas, and you can start planning your next trip. Think about the kinds of activities you want to try, where you’ve always wanted to go, and how far you want to travel. Once you’ve done this, you can draw up an itinerary and look forward to an action-packed adventure.