Traveling abroad this summer? Here are some awesome tips from Sheri Mruz, owner of Directions Luxury Travel in Ocala, Florida, to help you get the most out of your vacation!

SHOP SMART

How important are souvenirs? Nearly everything sold at the shops and kiosks in high tourism areas is made in Taiwan or China. Check and you’ll see. Focus on authentic items made by locals. Local artwork is always a great idea, especially if it’s easy to pack and doesn’t take up much space in your luggage.

Take pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. These are the best souvenirs as they preserve your memories of the trip and the sights you so enjoyed.

BE INVOLVED & PRESENT IN YOUR ADVENTURE

Sure, I just told you to take a lot of pictures. But you should also sit back and relax a bit. Take in your surroundings and live in the moment. Experience where you are, what you are seeing, hearing and smelling. Don’t just see everything through a lens.

Meet some locals. Visit some of the shops and restaurants that are off the beaten path.  Ask the proprietors where they go when they have a chance to shop and go out to eat. Do they have a favorite market or park? Enjoy the culture & learn something about the people.