When Traveling, Do Your Best (Instead of the Most “touristy”)

Each direction has its own attractions. Some of them are so iconic that you will immediately recognize them: Eiffel Tower, Statue of Liberty. Others are highly recommended by friends: be sure to try this restaurant. But I believe that the best way to enjoy the space is to flip the logic. Instead of adding the most important destination to your collection of experiences, try to find as many “you” as possible in that place.

I first discovered the joy of this approach when I was on a business trip that only spent 48 hours in London, most of which I either slept due to jet lag or showed up to conferences as required. I was in the UK for a family vacation as a child, so my first thought was that I had to return to Big Ben and the various castles from our old family photo albums. But there was no time.

Frustrated, it occurred to me that if I can only choose one or two things to see, why not choose the one that is the most “me” and not the most “London”? Being weird nerds, my immediate next thought was: I bet there is a large medical museum somewhere.

In fact, there are many excellent medical museums in London. I ended up visiting the Hunter Museum , which was a truly memorable experience. I have since used the same approach to explore other cities, visiting Dittrick when I was in Cleveland (their extensive contraceptive history exhibition is a must) and the Museum of the History of Medicine in Paris.

More ideas from the Lifehacker team

So what to do in a new place if museums are not your style? Our editor-in-chief, Megan Walbert, loves hiking, which she says is “great because you can really experience the natural beauty of any new place you are in without doing the travel business.”

However, you don’t need to leave town to explore: freelance writer Rachel Fairbank says her favorite thing to do is “jogging and / or really long walks around town to help you find interesting places you might otherwise miss. … “Employee Meredith Deetz agrees, pointing out that she prefers running” both because it helps me cover a lot and because I like the idea that runners never look like tourists? ” I feel like I’m merging with him like a spy. “

Staff writer Stephen Johnson finds unusual landmarks on Roadside America ; I would add that Atlas Obscura is another guide worth checking out. (He visited the Surgical Museum in Chicago thanks to the Roadside America listing, so we both endorse this advice.)

Finally, I would like to highlight the advice of our editor-in-chief Jordan Calhoun: “I go to the local comic shop in any new city or country.” Shopping in a new location is not only a fun way to spend the day, but it also leaves you with some great souvenirs.

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