young woman sipping from a mug while looking out a bright window
Whether you're a morning person or not, you should force yourself out of bed while traveling.
Photo Credit: iStockPhoto / DragonImages

Why Travelers Should Get Up Early

Set Your Alarm Bright and Early

When you are traveling, do you set the alarm and rise at dawn or do you prefer to sleep in? Some people love to snooze while traveling — after all, you’re on vacation so there’s no reason not to enjoy your sleep.

Why wake up early? Whether you’re a morning person or not, you should force yourself out of bed while traveling to take advantage of the following benefits!

Avoid the Crowds

One of the greatest benefits of waking up early is that you’ll have all the attractions to yourself. No more standing in queues or struggling to frame a photo with dozens of other tourists standing in the way. When you get up early you can arrive at the attractions before anyone else and enjoy them in solitude.

If you get there right when the attraction opens you will be able to leisurely explore and by the time the big tour buses start to roll in at 9:00 or 10:00 a.m., you will be ready to leave.

Avoid the Heat

If you are traveling in hot tropical destinations such as Central America and southeast Asia, getting up early makes sense. A walk on the beach is pleasant at 7:00 a.m., but if you visit the same beach at noon you will burn the soles of your feet.

You know what they say about mad dogs and Englishmen — going out in the midday sun will leave you a sweaty, dehydrated and exhausted mess. Instead, rise with the dawn and do your sightseeing early, so you can spend your afternoons napping in a hammock. The siesta was invented for a reason!

Enjoy the Local Breakfast

The Brits love a Full English with beans, sausage, bacon, toast, eggs, tomatoes, mushrooms and black pudding. In Japan a bowl of miso soup and rice porridge with green tea is typical. The French love eating croissants and coffee in the mornings and in India you can dip your roti into curried lentils and chutney.

In Switzerland you can feast on a delicious and healthy bowl of muesli with oats, raisins, dried fruit and yogurt. What local people eat for breakfast is an important part of the culture of your destination and waking up early ensures that you have plenty of time to enjoy it. Also, don’t forget to try the delicious local coffee.

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Avoid Late Night Trouble

On the sitcom How I Met Your Mother there was a saying: nothing good happens after 2:00 a.m. There is some truth to this. While enjoying the nightlife can be a very fun part of traveling, staying out too late and drinking too much can increase your odds of getting pick pocketed, mugged or taken advantage of — especially because you are a clueless visitor to an unfamiliar city.

Almost every destination gets more dangerous late at night, but if you have been up since 6:00 a.m. you will probably be more inclined to be in bed at a reasonable time. You might have a few beers in the early evening, but you won’t be up until after 2:00 a.m. when the streets are dark and you are more likely to get into trouble.

Watch the World Around You Wake Up

Walking around your destination in the early morning is a great opportunity to see how the people there start their day. On the beaches of Brazil I saw dedicated surfers catching waves at 6:30 a.m., and on the streets of Bolivia I saw the local people setting up their stalls at the fruit and vegetable market.

Keep your eyes and ears open and you will see fishermen hauling in their catch, joggers squeezing in a workout before their day begins and businessmen on the way to work. Or you might see nothing.

In Argentina, a culture where the evening meal doesn’t begin until 9:00 p.m. at the earliest and carries on into the night, the shops rarely opened before 9:00 a.m. and the cities felt like ghost towns in the mornings.

These are just a few of the perks that come with waking up early on your travels, so on your next trip why not consider setting your alarm and seeing what the morning has to offer?

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