In travel as in life, you need to ask to receive! So if you want something (an extra stop, a local recommendation...) to make the most of your vacation, do not hesitate. This is when you will experience your most memorable moments.
Ask anyone who travels with me, I am not shy. I am especially never afraid of asking for things I want. If I get a 'no', that is ok but most of the time, I get a big smile, a 'yes' and a memorable experience out of it.
Below are 6 things you should not be afraid to ask when traveling with stories from my own travel experiences:
- in Germany where I saw traditional dancing,
- in Kyrgyzstan where I discovered incredible landscapes and tried a kind of meat for the first time
- in Jordan where I went off-off the beaten track
- in Iceland, where I found one of my favorite spots which I had never planned on seeing
- and in Namibia where I experienced one of my favorite sunsets of all time!
I would love to hear your own experiences in the comments!
Ask to join people
If you are intrigued by people in the street, go talk to them and ask why they are dressed this way or doing this special thing.
When I traveled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen in Germany, I walked through the city to reach a field and watch the sunset. As I walked back towards my hotel, I saw young people walking or on bike and dressed with local costumes. They were all appearing one by one and entering this typical house surrounded by a huge parking. I was really intrigued.
So I asked one of them, with my German and his English, I understood that he was going to practice traditionnal dancing. I asked right away if I could join and watch and he agreed. Inside I discover a group of 40 youngs between 16 and 25 I think. One of them explained to me that every Friday evening, they gathered, drank beer and practiced dancing.
Although they normally drink for 2 hours before dancing, because I was there, they did a couple of dances just for me. It was fascinating. Very different from watching it at an official fair or exhibition!
Ask locals about themselves
If you find yourself next to a local and interested about their clothes or something else, start talking
Even with just a sign... As we stopped on the shore of Issyk-Kyl lake, Kyrgzystan, I saw this woman wearing a beautiful tunique. I smile at her and showed her I liked it. She came and we starting discussing with the help of my guide. She is a fascinating woman, with a large family. She is in charge of a school and was having a family vacation in her country.
They had stopped there to enjoy their picnic lunch and welcome us to share with them. We had just eaten so we starting saying no, but you can't be rude... So I ended up tasting horse for the first time.
So much better to experience something for the first time in such a context than for example at a restaurant.
Ask locals about great spots
Locals are always happy to discuss their region and all its beauty. So don't hesitate and ask!
One of the most beautiful road I drove in Iceland had never been on my plan. In none of my research had I seen anything about Berserkjahraun, a road through an old lava field. A local knowing that I was renting a car and getting out there on my own, looked at my map with me and gave me detailed information on how to find it. It was his favorite spot in the region.
And I understand why. With the detailed instructions, I had no stress finding it and I knew it would be an easy drive. Certainly one of my favorite parts of Iceland
Ask for more time
Listen to your intuition. Even with a group, ask your guide for an extra walk or an extra 15 minutes to explore further!
As we visited The Seven bulls sandstone formation of Jeti-Oguz in Kyrgyzstan, I asked the guide if we could climb to get a better views. I was really attracted by the path and wondering what was at the top. And once I walked 10 minutes and reached the 'summit' was I amazed. OMG, this was even better that the famous formation we were supposed to look at. There was more red rock in what is called the Dragon gorge and some mountains in the background!
After that I asked the guide if she would let me wander for 10 more minutes and I found a beautiful horse enjoying the green grass and the view. Definitively worth asking!
Ask for detours
Even when somthing is planned, ask the guide if he/she has detours idea or other opportunities!
On my second day visiting the magnificient Nabatean city of Petra, I had a guide booked for the morning to take me off the beaten path on the Madras trail. As we discussed I told him what I loved and ask for suggestions for my afternoon. What he suggested was actually a detour from our trail to get to a place with a view over the Treasury. Not the one with stairs that everyone can go to. A place where few people go as you really need to know where you are going.
The path was not easy, but the view at the end was rewarding:
Ask for more
Not ready to settle for the day and do nothing. Ask what can be done nearby!
During my tour of Namibia, we spent one night at a wild camp without any fence. We arrived quite early and there was absolutely nothing, just nature and wild animals... so there was noway I would walk around by myself. As everyone was setting up their tent, I insisted with the tour guide that he asked the owners if they could take us for a walk and for sunset. They agreed and we climbed a little bit to get a better view.
There I enjoyed one of the most magical sunset I have ever seen! And everyone was really happy we did not stay at our tents...
Have you ever asked for something and lived a memorable experience?