Travelling has a lot to offer you. It broadens your horizons, offering new sights and sounds to tantalize the senses. But the best travelling experiences are the ones where you stray from the beaten path and try something new.

If you’re planning an expedition abroad this year, read on for four alternative activities to mix things up while you’re travelling.

Meet tourists and locals alike 

Card games are fun, easy to pick up, and virtually free too — all you need is a deck of cards. They’re also a great way to meet new people while you’re travelling too.

Texas hold’em is a classic, of course, plus most people know roughly how to play it. But why not mix it up a little and try your hand (pun not intended) at Pineapple poker? It’s similar to hold’em, and the aim is to try to get the best possible hand and outshine your opponents.

Learn a few different card games and keep a deck of cards on you when you’re out exploring. There’ll be plenty of opportunities for you to have a game with fellow tourists — or even some locals! Card games breach even language barriers, so you’ll be sure to meet a diverse mix of people. You could even look for a tournament to challenge yourself and meet some likeminded locals too.

Learn how to cook some local cuisine

One of the best things about travelling is trying new cuisine. Whether it’s a rich, sumptuous curry from Delhi or a steaming bouillabaisse from Paris, the world is full of delicious and exciting food just waiting to be sampled.

But why just taste the food when you can learn how to cook it yourself? Look out for a local cookery class. These might be advertised in your hostel, or you can check TripAdvisor to find one nearby.

Alternatively, why not speak to the head chef at your favourite eatery? They’ll surely be flattered by your praise, and might be more than happy to give you a quick crash course in cooking.

Taking a cookery course while travelling means you can bring all the magic of exotic cuisine back home with you — perfect for a dinner party with a twist.

Enrol in a course to educate yourself and meet new people

If you’re in one location for an extended period of time and fancy doing something a little different from sightseeing, then taking a course might be for you. As well as giving you the chance to learn something new, courses are a great way to meet locals too.

For an extra fun twist, look for courses that focus on a local skill or activity. If you’re in Vietnam, for instance, you might take a course on the history of Saigon. Or if you’re Down Under, you could learn how to play the didgeridoo.

Look for a local community centre or search online for courses near you. You might struggle in smaller, more remote areas, but small towns and of course cities will have an abundance of courses you can try.

Join an interesting and unique sporting event

Fancy yourself as something of an athlete? Or perhaps you just enjoy a good competitive sport? Either way, one unusual but fun alternative activity is to enter a local sporting event.

From marathons to soccer, there are lots of events that you can take part it around the world. While the aforementioned games are popular and likely to be found everywhere, there are some more niche events that are tied to a particular place.

The UK is full of exciting and interesting events, including Cooper’s Hill Cheese-Rolling and Wake. You might have heard of cheese rolling, a fun event that takes place in Gloucester, England. As the name suggests, participants have to chase after a huge wheel of cheese that’s rolled down a hill. Risky, yes, but a lot of fun.

And in Boryeong, in South Korea, there is an annual mud festival. While it’s not strictly a sport, there are mud slides and mud skiing competitions to enjoy — just be sure to bring a change of clothes.

The best adventures abroad are full of exciting, unique, and interesting activities. When travelling, try and push yourself to try something new. The activities above are just a sample of what’s on offer — get exploring and take each new opportunity as it comes, and you’ll create great memories that stay with you forever.