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Tips For Using Your Strengths On Vacation

January 15, 2014 by ·

Located in Australia, Counselor Julia Barnard shares her tips for making the most of your travels.

It’s easy to think that our approach to life is the right one and everyone else is wrong. However, if we can learn to be more open minded, we allow ourselves to be a lot more flexible in life. In fact, we will enjoy living much more as we open ourselves up to discovering a whole new world we knew nothing about.

A great opportunity to be open minded is when we are on vacation. It allows us to be open and responsive to what we are experiencing, rather than feeling fearful or defensive. What follows are a number of tips for developing your open mindedness strength when you are next traveling. Although this is mainly relevant for those going overseas, most of these tips will still be useful even if you are just visiting a new part of your own country. As a bonus, you will likely be exercising other strengths at the same time: curiosity, love of learning, courage and creativity amongst others.

1 Learn some of the language. If you are visiting a country that speaks a language you are not familiar with, spend some time in the months leading up to your trip learning some important phrases. It will enhance your opportunities for communicating with the locals and will make for a pleasurable experience. Even if the country speaks English, there will likely be common phrases you have not heard of. Get to know these before you go away and whilst you are there keep a listen out for new ones.

2 Try new foods. Every culture will have its own specialty – in fact every region within a country will likely have a local favourite. Don’t just go in search for restaurants that serve cuisine from your country. Branch out and try new things. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like it. You never have to eat it again. At least you gave it a go and will be in a position to tell people just how awful it was!

3 Learn something about the culture. This can be easily achieved. Visit a museum, chat to the locals or simply read the local newspaper. Discover customs you may not be familiar with. In fact you may want to learn some of the customs before travelling, so you don’t slip up! All of these activities can be done even if you are not going overseas.

4 Have a go at an activity you have never tried before. It does not have to be an extreme sport or something you know for sure you would dislike. However, it could be something that takes you out of your comfort zone. If something tempts you, go for it. You will have a great time.

5 Don’t judge anyone. It’s so easy to judge other people – you may be surprised at how often you do it in your daily life. Remember, you are no better than anybody else. Keep this in mind as you travel and come across your fellow human. Be interested and curious about the people you see. This is a good rule of thumb for living of course.

6 Be open to your travelling companions’ ideas and suggestions. You may have an itinerary – it does not mean you have to follow it to the letter. If another suggestion arises regarding how you might spend the day and you find yourself resisting, take a moment to ask yourself why. Your way is not necessarily the right way. If you are someone who likes to take control, take a step back, relax and let others take over if the opportunity presents itself.

Happy travels!

Originally from the UK, Julia Barnard has lived in Adelaide, Australia since 2003. Through her counseling work, she embraced Positive Psychology and the science of happiness. She has written many articles on happiness and well being which are published on her popular website In 2010 she authored a workbook which enabled the reader to get actively involved in the process of creating their own happiness.


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