Travel Different


I am by no means a traveling expert, but I hope to one day reflect on my life and know I traveled the world and enriched my life culturally.

Recently, I have been trying to put together a few ideas on how to make the most of each experience. A professor once said there is a difference between a traveler and a tourist. One may ask, what exactly is the difference?

Here are some pieces of advice for how to evolve into being a world traveler, instead of a vacationing tourist.


I cannot emphasize how important it is to get out and explore on your own.

Wake up early, navigate your way around the city, and explore.

Sure, walking tours are great and informative. But there is so much more to every city.


Eating at typical, well-known, familiar American restaurants when you’re in the middle of Europe is cringe-worthy.

Barcelona has a Hard Rock Cafe, Burger King, KFC, McDonald’s… the list goes on.

Steer clear from these tourist traps and eat local!

Stop by the packed Tapas bar on a Sunday afternoon, or grab a falafel from the Middle Eastern market for a midnight snack.


Do not go to a foreign country without knowing a handful of basic phrases in the local language. Knowing common greetings, how to ask for directions, and order in a restaurant makes a huge difference in how the locals perceive you, and how your own experience goes, for that matter.

And from personal experience, if you get into a cab in a foreign city and tell them directions to wherever you’re headed in English, they will 100% overcharge you.

Try to practice your Spanish, French, or Italian skills! Even if you struggle, the locals will help and seriously appreciate the effort.


Immerse, converse, and be friendly!

There is seriously nothing better than becoming friends with the locals wherever you are traveling. Having friends all around the world is the best feeling ever.

Ask locals for advice about…

Hidden gems, favorite restaurants, and what they recommend doing while visiting.


Don’t hate me Mom and Dad, but go off the beaten path!

Some of my favorite travel memories have been wandering through narrow, winding streets of Barcelona, Lisbon, Paris, London – the list goes on!

Get lost, but don’t forget where you came from (or have useful apps like CityMapper, my personal favorite).



It’s the absolute BEST way to see the city and find hidden gems.

But for when your feet get tired, the weather’s bad, or the walk is too far…

The metro system will become your best friend. It’s cheap, fast, and you’re surrounded by locals in their everyday life.

Hopefully you find these few pieces of advice helpful!

Happy Travels xx

Madeline Alice Johnson


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