4 Ways to Get the Most Out of Quick Trips Abroad

This post was last updated on July 26th, 2016

Hope everyone is having a great start to their 2015! We’re back in North Carolina after our NYC escapade, enjoying the slightly less cold weather and spending as much time as we can with family and friends. We still have so many stories to share about our recent travels – as well as reveal where it is we’re headed next in just two weeks! But in the meantime, we hope you enjoy this guest post from Damien Dante. He’s got four great tips he’s sharing today on how to get the most out of quick trips abroad!

Do you want something more?


Something more than just an all-inclusive hotel with free drinks and an all-you-can-eat buffet?

Most of us do. We want to feel the connection with the place we travel to. Feel the differences of it.


Fishing in the Lofotens_8.jpg


Feel like we’ve experienced something important.

But there’s never enough time for that, right?

Believe me, it’s not your fault if you feel like you’re not getting the most out of your trips.

I was lost for a long time. I thought that becoming one with a place was about the amount of hours I was gonna walk around or about how many national galleries I was gonna visit.

It’s not, I learned with time.

Here are my 4 quick ways to feel like you’ve maxed out the experience.


1. What’s your definition of success? 


Pulpit Rock


When it comes to most areas of our lives, we have a definition of what it means “to succeed”. You know what you want to achieve in your work life, right?

You have a measurement when you’re happy with your physical looks. You have a scale for success in your finances, your relationships.

Did you create one for your travels?

Do you know how hard it is to feel satisfied if you don’t have a measurement of what “satisfied” means?

Create your definition of success for your next trip. Meet that expectation. It’s as simple as that.

2. It’s all about the money…

One of my favourite ideas about success in work and life is, “You’re good if you do something for the money that you would do even if they didn’t pay you”.

Life is about processes.

Do you remember the moment when you read a really fascinating book and you forget about anything else in life?

Or when you’re in the cinema and there’s nothing else but the movie?

There’s no YOU, no EGO, only the process of being so deep into something the whole world stops.

Find these processes, discover what pulls you in the most, and start doing as much of it as possible every day.

3. The way to experience life ‘the local way’




Most people say that you should try to interact with the local people. See how differently they live and experience their way of existence.

That might mean sharing a coffee, couch surfing, or simply stopping by and having a conversation with a stranger.

I’ve tried all of these. They’re pretty nice. But I’ve found something that’s even more fun.

Instead of trying to experience life by asking questions and interacting, SPY instead.

Yes, you read it correctly. I want you to spy on people.

Do this… Sit down in the nearest coffee shop. Find a target, somebody that looks interesting, and then try to find out as much as possible about that person without actually interacting with him/her.

That usually means following and spying. It’s fun and great way to feel the tempo and style of people around.
I spy on people at least once in every country.

Try it out for yourself. You’ll discover a whole different side of the city you’re in.

4. How to ruin your travels…

You know one thing that constantly destroys even the best trip idea?

Being an adult.

The opposite of that is being a child.

Adults JUDGE. Children don’t. Children are curious.

As soon as you take a perspective of an adult, you lose the ability to be wowed and amazed because everything has to fit into a category. Everything has to have a label.

That’s simply how we operate.

My suggestion is this: Don’t judge, be CURIOUS instead. That’s when you experience magic around.

Ask quality questions.

“What else could this mean?” is a great one to test on anything that you look at. “Why?” is another one worth asking a couple times a day.

And then answer your questions. They’re like mysteries waiting for you to discover answers to them.

The world around you holds many of these mysteries. But if you label them, you cut yourself away from the chance of adventure.

Time is not your problem

We all want to experience similar emotions in life. We all want to feel, in the end, we’ve succeeded and had life beyond our wildest dreams.

For many of use that success has a different label. There’s no one definition that fits all.

One thing I’ve been learning lately is that a journey is not about time. Time is not the most precious resource we have in our lives.

There’s one missing ingredient to seizing the moment. It’s called ATTENTION.


Garrafon Reef Park at Isla Mujeres, Mexico


Time without attention is just something that flows by.

But if we put our full attention into the moment, the power of now, and we explore the world around us with the curiosity and smile of a child, we create happiness.

Inside, but mostly around us.

The world around us wants to be discovered and treated as something fresh and new. Without  judgments.

And if we can make the world around us a happier place, it gives back that happiness.

And then we go to bed and fall asleep with a smile on our face.

Do you agree?

I hope you want that to happen as much as I do.

bio photo

Damien Dante is a writer and life-traveler obsessed with one question – how can we make the world around us a happier place. He shows you how to live a mind-blowing life in his new book.


  1. Interesting point of view. We just came back from NYC, too, and I certainly enjoy your point of not judging… Having traveled with my 21 month old son, my 36 yr old husband and 73 yr old dad, I’ve seen different ways of looking at things, and the judging seems to increase with age. No doubt! :)
    Hans M Hirschi recently posted…#TuesdayTidbits: What makes a #book a great read?My Profile

    • Hey H, thanks for the comment.
      I do think we gain most when we just open ourselves. It’s more risky and there’s more uncertainty.

      But at the same time – with time we also return to being a baby (specially in the ‘later periods’ ;)

  2. Damien that child-adult comparison is brilliant! I recall returning from Fiji a few months ago. I spoke to a couple – whom we house sitted for – who noted one miserable guy living on Vanua Levu, one of the most gorgeous islands on earth. The dude was a grouch. A miserable fool. A serious adult, living in Fiji, disgusted with his life. Sometimes I’m not sure whether I’m walking thru an airport of funeral home during my 56 plus flights over the past 45 months. Crazy!

    Be a kid. Be open. Judge less and less and be fascinated with both our similarities and differences. Then you’ll get why it’s really fun and rewarding to travel.

    Keep on spreading your travel wisdom!

    Ryan Biddulph recently posted…10 Tips for Branding Yourself Like a SuperstarMy Profile

    • Hey Ryan!
      Agree. You know, with more and more travels, you gain more and more perspective.

      And you see that people who aren’t happy with what they have now – won’t be happy when they have more, in a different place, in a different environment.

      That’s why I love travel – it makes me more humble and aware.
      Damien Dante recently posted…How to solve all your problemsMy Profile

    • Cat, Barcelona is one of these lovely bustling with culture places, that’s always different.

      If you just go a bit off the track, outside of Gaudi and Las Ramblas – many cool places and opportunities.
      Just turn right instead of left once in a while and all will be different!

      Let us know how it went :)
      Damien Dante recently posted…Why We’re NOT Changing The WorldMy Profile

  3. “Instead of trying to experience life by asking questions and interacting, SPY instead.” I love this, because it’s much more about sitting back and listening and learning, rather than immediately engaging and sharing your POV before you know the lay of the land.

  4. Julia,
    That’s an interesting perspective – totally agree.

    plus spying is just cool :)

    Where are you planning to spy next then?
    Damien recently posted…Why We’re NOT Changing The WorldMy Profile

  5. What’s not to love about a quickie? But seriously, what we adore about living in London was the ease with which we could enjoy a long weekend in any European city. Over here in the Canaries, we’ve taken to island hopping. Between the likes of the wet and wild El Hierro in the west and the dry and dusty Fuerteventura in the east.
    Gran Canaria Local recently posted…Barranco SecoMy Profile

  6. Really interesting, with some good advice like defining success. However, I am not so sure about the spying idea. I like the concept, but in practice I think it could land me in trouble. I guess I am sometimes too busy being an adult.
    Rhonda Albom recently posted…Weekend Travel Inspiration: Sail Away (with Linky)My Profile

    • Hi Rhonda,
      never too late to be like a child again – once every now and then!
      Spying will be no trouble if you just choose to wander the same streets as the locals!

      Thanks for kind words about the article.
      Damien Dante recently posted…Why We’re NOT Changing The WorldMy Profile

    • Agree! In my opinion ‘it’s so hard…’ is simply an excuse to stay in comfort zone. When at the same time, the world opens up in front of you with it’s mystery and diversity…
      Damien Dante recently posted…Why We’re NOT Changing The WorldMy Profile

  7. Great perspective. Living in the US, these tips may be more applicable to interstate “quickie” travel, since going abroad is such a long schlep; we’d rather spend a week or more in a foreign destination since it can take so many hours to get there in the first place.
    Jennifer recently posted…Feeding Alpacas and Finding Connection for the New YearMy Profile


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