We all know how fantastic cruising is (why else would you be here in the first place), but do you ever get the urge to break away from the organised shore excursions and tour groups and just do your own thing?
Of course you do! Everyone likes a mini adventure now and then, whether it be a backpacking trip through South East Asia or a week in Provence!
Just for you then, here’s our top tips for getting away from the crowds and really experiencing life like a local….
1-Head Off On Your Own
If you’re going to experience life like a local the first thing you need to do is escape the organised tours. They’re great for getting a taste of the port you’re in or for seeing big famous landmarks and monuments but you’re only ever going to see the real port once you’ve struck off on your own.
2-Jump In A Taxi
Step just outside of the dock gates of the port you’re in and we guarantee there’ll be dozens of taxi’s waiting for you.
Just jump in and ask the taxi driver to surprise you with a tour… see where you end up.
3-Go With The Flow
The best things in life are always unexpected. Don’t arrive anywhere with a plan or an agenda, just head out on your own and see what happens
4-Borrow A Bike When You Can
You may not have realised but a lot of cruise ships will actually let you either borrow or rent out a bike for the day and there’s no easier way to see the ‘real’ place you’re visiting than to cycle through it. You’ll cover much more ground than you would on foot and probably avoid the busy tourist spots full of crowds as well.
5-Especially On A River Cruise
Docking in the heart of a city gives you a unique chance to explore by bike. You could head off down the byways and back alleys to see what’s what or just cycle along the river bank and take in the beautiful scenery.
6-Forget Getting Off The Beaten Track And Get Off The Track Completely!
A hot air balloon because… well why wouldn’t you?
7-Get A Camera That Can Look After Itself
If you’re serious about heading off the beaten track then you’re going to want to remember it afterwards (and be able to brag to all your friends as well) so make sure you get a camera that can handle itself and all the different things you might ask of it.
8-Skip The Fjords And Head Straight To Norway’s Lofoten Islands
Cruises to the fjords have always been popular but if you’re dead set on seeing the wild side of Norway then we suggest you skip them and head straight to the Lofoten Islands.
One of the most stunning Arctic archipelagos out there; they’re a veritable maze of islands, inlets, mountains, untouched beaches and open stretches of water.
9-Or Better Yet Visit Svalbard
As the northernmost permanent settlement in the world, with seven national parks, twenty three nature reserves, communities unconnected by roads that can only be reached by air, sea or snowmobiles as well as a whole host of exotic fauna including sea birds, reindeer, Arctic foxes and Polar bears… you literally can’t get further off the beaten track than Svalbard!
10-For Goodness Sake Invest In Some Good Boots!
You’re not going anywhere with sore feet, least of all off the beaten track! You might be OK for the first day but after that you’ll just be aching and not want to do anything except recover on a sun lounger up on deck so make sure you spend a bit of money on your footwear.
11-Learn Some Of The Local Lingo Beforehand
Heading off the beaten track means exploring the place you’re in like a local. That means you’ll need to be able to speak like a local, at least a little.
You’d be amazed just how much a few simple phrases will ingratiate you with locals. Why not try it and see?
12-Set Your Alarm!
This one’s important so listen up! Everyone knows time flies when you’re having fun. What you don’t want to do though is find you’re having so much fun you miss the ships departure time.
Wandering off the beaten track is fun, having to run all along it to the next port your ship docks at isn’t! So make sure you set an alarm on your phone!
13-And Make Sure You Pack A Smile
The further from the beaten track you stray, the more important it is to respect the people and places you’re visiting. In lands where you’re not familiar with the local customs a smile will go a long way so make sure you’ve always got one with you.
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