Sometimes we hide behind that safety blanket of comfort without knowing it. Even when it comes to picking vacation spots, there can be a tendency to repeat the same routine over and over again: Head to California to play on the beach, visit a renowned national park, or hit up a nearby amusement park for the umpteenth time.
Indeed, we pick destinations we know and activities that don’t threaten or challenge us, as well as eat food we’ve tried in some form or fashion in the past. Revisiting the old hits is fine, but at some point it robs you of potential experiences you might not even know were possible.
Instead, choose to be bold, as any good and worthwhile adventure should challenge you to do something new and get out of your comfort zone. Here are four vacation ideas that can help you do exactly that.
1. Adventure Alone
Navigating to near or far-off places shouldn’t necessarily require you to pick a specific destination — it just requires an open mind and a sense of solitude. A popular trip for solo travel is backpacking through Europe, as the activity tends to be very social in nature. Plus, people always want to and typically do make new friends.
And when you adventure out on your own, especially somewhere far from home like Europe, you’re forced to interact with strangers you might otherwise ignore in social settings. Whether you’re visiting Europe or just exploring a new town in your home state, this is a great way to meet new people from all walks of life.
2. Visit the Pacific Crest or Appalachian Trail
Speaking of meeting new people, hikers who frequent locations like the Appalachian Trail in Virginia tend to always link up and form new friendships. While you can hike the entire trail for a good five months, most people choose a short section that lasts a few days.
Backpacking outdoors can certainly take you out of your comfort zone if you’re not used to the wilderness, but it’s almost always a rather safe activity. Still, for a sense of safety and camaraderie, hike with a friend if you’re new to it and want some guidance.
3. Cruise to Alaska
A cruise to Alaska is one of the best ways to see the Last Frontier and check out some of the state’s famous shorelines you might not otherwise get to see on a road trip. So, how does such an activity break you out of your comfort zone?
A cruise to Alaska isn’t rustic or difficult — and Alaskan cruise prices are usually comparable to other types of cruises — but it’s a less common way to set sail on a giant ship. While many travelers choose to party in the Caribbean, a cruise through Alaska offers quite a different experience but one that may be more rewarding.
4. Leave English Behind
Experiencing a language barrier can be scary, but once you visit a country where English isn’t the native language, you’ll quickly discover a) most people can speak your native tongue and b) will help you learn the most basic phrases in their own language. Of course, you can learn Spanish in a traditional classroom setting, but there’s no better way to learn about a culture than to experience it firsthand.
Changing Up Your Routine Could Become a Thrill
The beauty of leaving your comfort zone is that, over time, being uncomfortable will help you grow and become more comfortable in different situations. Plus, who knows? Changing up your routine and visiting new destinations, both near and far, could become a habit and thrill you seek out time and time again. Then, your level of breaking out of that comfort zone only goes up.