How to Find Hidden Gems While Traveling

For those who enjoy traveling, sooner or later there comes a time when it seems like you’ve seen it all. You haven’t, of course. No one has. But it can still feel like you’re repeating yourself, visiting the same attractions, landmarks, scenic views, and businesses as everyone else. What diamonds in the rough wait beyond the familiar rows of glitzy Las Vegas tourist traps, Orlando amusement parks, Indianapolis houses for sale, New Orleans restaurants, and Malibu beaches? There’s only one way to find out.

Actually, that’s a lie. There are three ways.

Talk to the Locals

If you want to find hidden gems far away from the typical tourist destinations, then you need to turn to the one group of people who know an area better than anyone else: the ones who live there. If you’re visiting the Big Apple with a hankering for a slice of authentic New York pizza, you probably know all about the seemingly countless pizzerias called “Ray’s.” But if you want something different, something that hasn’t been featured a thousand times on Food Network or The History Channel, then only someone who eats New York City pizza every single day can help you find what you’re looking for.

Ask for Help Online

The Internet is a powerful tool for connecting people, archiving knowledge, turning cat pictures into memes, and unearthing overlooked treasures. Case in point, websites like Reddit and Quora allow you to ask strangers from all over the world for recommendations, while browsing hashtags on Twitter and Instagram can expose you to things you might never encounter otherwise. There are entire blogs and forums dedicated to digging up and sharing such off-the-beaten-path discoveries, such as Atlas Obscura and Uniqhotels. One simple Google search is all it takes to find a whole new world of possibilities.

Go on an Adventure

Sometimes finding and trying new things take a little more work than just seeking out recommendations. Sometimes it requires challenging yourself to step outside your comfort zone. That could mean breaking a routine, such as checking out the nightlife or outdoor activities the next time you visit Florida, instead of visiting Disney World for the fifth year in a row. It could also mean letting yourself “get lost,” so to speak, by taking a walk or a drive into a part of the area you’re not familiar with. Just wander around and see what you find. You’re almost certain to find a pleasant surprise.