Vacation is more than relaxation. A journey is a palate cleanser and traveling is about rediscovering yourself. Even if you travel often, there’s a good chance you will remember each of your traveling experiences, even if you visit the same destination several times. However, there is always room to stretch your vacation beyond what is considered a regular traveling experience. For starters, you have to open your mind and engage if you want to learn how to make your travels more memorable.

Focus on a singular location

Are you going on a tour of a country? Did you plan to board a cruise liner? These are all solid choices for traveling experiences, especially if you are a “try a bit of everything” sort of individual. However, if you want to make a vacation truly memorable, you should probably focus on a singular, more limited location. This will grant you a chance to truly savor the locale, get a feeling of its size, heftiness and texture. The more time you spend in a singular city or a national park, it will become more “imprinted” in your mind. In other words, it will become as genuine and alive in your memory as your own home town. It will become a place you know instead of a place you’ve visited.

Keep an open mind

If you are planning to visit a far-off corner of the world, you have to get ready for a major change. An order of things will probably be quite unlike your home. Otherwise, what’s the point of traveling in the first place if not to visit somewhere different? Some changes might shock you and you may even find them disconcerting, but if you keep an open mind you will give yourself a chance to adapt to new circumstances quite quickly. Get immersed into the residential culture, avoid franchised fast-food brands and eat like a local, hit the streets and stroll around from destination to destination or use a bike. The goal is to reach the same “wavelength” with the locals.

Get a truly lasting memento

We live in a multicultural world and many places around the globe are true melting pots of nationalities and ethnicities. Visiting a multicultural continent or a vibrantly diverse metropolis can be a hectic haze of an experience, so you can make a truly lasting memento to crown the vacation. Sure, you can purchase an item that will forever stand on your cabinet or a counter back home, but why not go a step further? If body-mods are your forte, you can pierce an additional hole in your ear for a traditional piece of jewelry, or etch a masterful, authentic Japanese tattoo onto your arm to truly mark a trip of your lifetime.

Find local friends

If you want to make your vacation more memorable, one of the obligatory matters on your travel checklist should be talking to locals and, potentially, forging colorful friendships. If you have made an effort to blend in, this is the natural next step. You can begin by asking for advice and instructions, and if a person appears to be jovial and ready to evolve the conversation, going with it might just be the best decision of your journey. By finding local friends, you are opening the doors for potentially less costly returns and, who knows, you might just get a chance to host them in your own home town if they are eager to visit.

Keep a diary

We live in a time of social media, so you’re bound to make some interesting snapshots of your traveling experiences. You might even take a few videos to mark particularly interesting occasions. However, if you want to make your vacation truly memorable, you should take this concept to a whole new level. Create a video diary composed of, at the very least, ten minutes of footage for every day of your journey. After you’ve returned home, assemble a video that will serve as a visual diary of your adventures.

If you like old-fashioned things, you can even purchase a hardcover notebook and write about your daily impressions before bed. This is an excellent way to preserve the precious memories of your vacation, and every time you refer back to these diaries, you will remember your adventures vividly, as if it was only yesterday that you returned home. Can traveling experiences fade into the background of your ever-busy mind? Of course, but there is a chance you have remembered a particular interesting event or an experience from one of these vacations and amalgamated it with a more memorable journey.

At the end of the day, linger on those memorable aspects and ponder on what makes them so special to you. If you think hard enough, you will discover what sorts of experiences make your travels memorable, and your own individual sensibility is what matters.