When it comes to holiday time, those of us living in the US get a bit of a raw deal. French workers get 30 days of paid holiday per year by law, whereas people in the US don’t get any – it’s at the discretion of their employers. We’re not advocating the same level of regulation of the labor market as we see in France, but it just makes it easier to understand why Americans try to cram so much activity into their short one- or two-week break. They know that they won’t have an opportunity at any other point.
Everyone wants to create unforgettable memories while on vacation. But how do you do it? What’s the psychology of achieving lasting holiday memories? And what tools do you need to make it happen?
It turns out that holidays naturally boost memory. When you travel, you activate unconscious circuits in your brain that kick into high gear, helping you take in all the new stimulus of going to a new place. Your memories of your vacations are likely a lot more intense than your memories of what you did last Tuesday at work because holidays necessarily involve doing novel things: things that you haven’t relegated to unconscious processing. Holidays are, in a sense, memory-generating machines.
So, besides going somewhere new and doing something different, how can you create and capture those memories that you crave? Let’s take a look.
Choose A Destination Everyone Will Love
Most of us travel on vacation with people we know and love, like family and friends. It can sometimes be tricky, however, to find a destination that everyone will enjoy. Some of your fellow travelers will want to take a restful break where they do little but sit by the pool enjoying a cocktail while others will want a holiday that involves activity and adventure.
The destination can play a huge role in the memories that people form. If they have to do something all day that they don’t enjoy, then that will negatively affect their memories of the destination. The reverse is also true. The trick, therefore, is to find a place that all will love and that offers a range of activities to suit all personality types.
Photographs provide the backbone of creating holiday memories. They’re a window into the past and can help evoke feelings of nostalgia and warmth whenever they’re viewed. The problem with taking pictures, though, is that they can interrupt the flow of your holiday experience. You could be watching a fantastic street festival or enjoying a view out to sea, but ruining the moment by fiddling around with your camera, trying to get the perfect shot.
More and more people realize the inherent advantages of enjoying the moment: putting their phones away and just soaking up holiday experiences. But at the same time, they want to be able to relive those memories after the fact when they return home to their regular lives. Destination photographers provide a no-compromise solution to this problem. Destination photographers are people you hire to take over the job of taking holiday photos for you, rather like you’d hire a wedding photographer to do the job at your wedding.
These professional photographers come along with you on your trip, capturing the moments you share with your friends and family in exquisite detail. There’s no longer any need to do the difficult job of arranging your own photography.
Travel By Foot
Part of going on holiday is building a “sense of place.” Going everywhere on holiday by taxi or public transport can ruin your sense of place, merging one destination to another. By walking, you’ll get to experience a destination at street-level and see and do more things. Walking everywhere opens up a host of new opportunities to enjoy local delicacies and attractions on the fly. Walking allows you to be spontaneous and try out new things as and when you encounter them.
Always Eat With The Locals
Unless you’re traveling well off the beaten track, you’ll likely find yourself in a place with two kinds of businesses: those that serve locals and those that serve tourists. Where possible, you want to use the former. Companies that serve locals charge lower prices and provide a more authentic experience. Yes, they might not be quite so convenient or on the main high street, but if you can seek them out, then you’ll discover the most memorable places.
Let’s say that you’re traveling to the south of France. Rather than finding some tourist-focused restaurant in a major city like Nice or Bordeaux, you’re much more likely to have a unique experience by traveling out of town into the countryside. Many French farmers, for instance, open up their homes and provide freshly cooked set menus, made from ingredients reared on their land. These experiences, being waited for hand and foot in somebody’s house, are utterly different from the standard restaurant experience.
Pack As Little As Possible
Packing loads of stuff might seem like a good idea at the time, but it slows you down and makes getting around more challenging. Lugging multiple heavy suitcases around creates a whole raft of logistical challenges that you can do without.
The solution? Pack as light as possible. Think about what you need, and what’s surplus to requirement. Create a checklist of holiday essentials and dump the rest. Remember, the holiday shouldn’t be about stuff but rather the memories that you create.
Chat With Local People
As any seasoned traveler will tell you, the main thrill of travel isn’t the sights and sounds but the people you meet, all of whom will likely have dramatically different perspectives on life to you. Locals can teach you things that you never knew before while at the same time introducing you to new experiences. What’s more, if you’re traveling to a country which doesn’t speak your native language, then you have a chance to practice your skills.
In conclusion, creating memories on vacation is about generating authentic experiences that connect you with places and people.