Why You Should Take Your Hobbies With You On Vacation

Jul 31, 2014

Traveling, whether around the globe or across the state, doesn’t have to be all about food, lodging and tourist attractions. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says it also can be about trying familiar things in new places.

First of all, this advice isn’t for everybody. If you want to see the sights, lounge around the pool or the beach, or spend the day in museums, by all means, go for it. Those are great things to do on vacation.

But for travelers who enjoy blending in, and almost becoming a local, bringing your hobbies along on vacation can be worthwhile.

Maybe since you like baseball, you see a game in Havana. Or since you’re a hiker, you find a group of locals to trek with in Austria. But enjoying your interests while traveling doesn’t have to be a grand, expensive adventure.

Visit a local yoga studio on your next business trip to San Francisco. Spend a rainy afternoon reading in the public library of the small town where you happen to be vacationing. Those are relatively low-cost options that still offer you the chance to get out and meet people.

Does that sound crazy? Here are five reasons why it’s not:

1. You’ll Meet Interesting People

Brumley says when his family travels, his wife often visits a local yoga studio.

“She comes back and just loves it,” he said. “She meets a lot of people and they’ll invite us to their home.” Getting to know the locals, whether domestically or abroad, can offer you a deeper understanding of the place you’re visiting.

2. You’ll See Places You’d Have Otherwise Missed

Local hiking groups can take you to villages and countryside the tourists don’t usually see. Bike rides can show you tourist attractions, but also backyards and neighborhoods. That antique store might lead you to a neighborhood café that locals swear by, but tourists ignore.

3. It Will Help You Feel Comfortable

Trying something you’re already good at in an unfamiliar place, helps break down barriers, and can make you feel more at home. This is good if you’re lingering in a destination for a long time.

4. You’ll Understand A Different Way Of Life

If your accommodations offer you the chance to cook, try heading to a local grocery store to buy that night’s dinner. It can be a lot of fun, especially abroad. Shared interests — soccer, music, anything — can bridge cultural gaps and broaden your perspective as a traveler.

5. You'll Be An Ambassador

This kind of goes hand-in-hand with No. 4, and it applies to those of you traveling abroad: By interacting with people who live in your vacation destination, you can help non-Americans see that there is more to our culture than they see in print, online and on television. 

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Matthew Brumley is the founder of Earthbound Expeditions, which organizes group travel to destinations around the world for various clients, including KPLU. "Going Places" explores all aspects of getting from Point A to Point B, what to do once there, and in between.