Travelling is great for so many reasons, but a lot of the time it’s not very meaningful. I love filling a day with historical intrigue and then burning the midnight oil. However, there are times when I start feeling a little ashamed of simply screwing around in exotic locations. If you want to make your trips more meaningful, here are some tips I can offer.

You may be stuck for ideas now, but there are all kinds of ways to make your travels more meaningful. You don’t have to build schools in India or volunteer in Africa in order to make your holidays more worthwhile. One of the simpler things you can do is support the local economy. This not only guarantees your trip will be meaningful, but opens opportunities to experience the local culture fully. In areas where there’s a big tourism trade, there’s likely to be a lot of foreign nationals working as tour guides. Although there might be a bit more of a language barrier, hire a local tour guide. This will stimulate the area’s economy, and you may learn things which only a native can show you.

My next tip is to travel in a very small group. Depending on who you are, this might be a given or a disaster! There are obvious reasons to avoid travelling alone. However, if your party is too large, you could stifle your overall experience of the country you’re visiting. When you have less people to worry about, you’ll be far more efficient, and have less opinions to accommodate for. You’ll also be more inclined to talk to the local people, and get more from your trip. If you’ve got a large group of people you know well, the company might be great but at the same time a little distracting. If you’re in a small travelling party, on the other hand, you’ll find it more natural to stop and ask a local about some little curiosity.

My last tip is to minimise anything to do with your own culture. If you take your home with you, it will conflict with all the remarkable things you’ll be seeing and doing. I’m sure you don’t want to look back on your trip and realise you spent half of it on Facebook! Obviously, you should be letting people back home know that you’re safe and well. However, if you let your home influence your trip too much, you’ll have far less to look back on when you get back. With each new destination, try to immerse yourself completely with the local way of life. You might be surprised by where this takes you! When you keep an open mind, every experience you have will feel more meaningful.

Bring these tips with you on your travels, and all of your experiences will be far more meaningful. If you want a last, general tip, see more and do more! Very few people have visited every country in the world, but if you make that your aim you’ll certainly be in for a ride!