Exploring can go beyond just finding a place, it's the whole conception of going to a new destination and finding out about it. You want to learn more about a place and to do that you need to explore around, dig deep and discover the hidden beauties. It's a new place, different sites, wonderful culture...you want to explore further into each of those to find out more.
So how do you go beyond just reviewing the same old same old?
DO A LITTLE RESEARCH
But not so much that you are just planning on going to specific places. The whole reason for exploring is to find those hidden gems and more.
I never really do much research in advance before travelling, especially when I'm alone. I just go with the flow which seems a lot more relaxed and more exciting. If it is a short trip then I will plan to visit some of the hot spots but not cram it in that I have no time to explore further afield.
DON'T BE AFRAID OF GETTING LOST
The amount of times I've ended up getting lost in the middle of a city, in the countryside, or by the coast is quite humorous to think about. There has never been a time where I have been scared of being lost. Nowadays, thanks to the technology we have and the friendly locals, we are able to always find our way onto our original path. Anyway it is fun to get lost because you discover a different part of the world which you never would have found if it wasn't for your wrong directions. Make the most of these times and keep going forward, you'll eventually get back on track.
I've begin to love getting lost and understand how it is beneficial for me because of the amount I discover. Just deciding to change direction or take a different path can be the right decision.
AVOID TRANSPORT, WALK IT
You can only see so much when taking public transport and it's what everyone else will see. Take the longer but more scenic route by walking or even cycling and wonder down those narrow, winding streets. You may find your ideal shop, or dream restaurant with some of the best local dishes in the area. But how will you find this all out if you're stuck on a bus driving past it all? Make the right choice, you won't regret it.
I'm all for walking (unless it's very hot and you get all sweaty, no one likes that though) and I see/experience a lot more. Don't stress yourself out and rush it by putting a time limit on your day; take it easy as there is always time for food, even if it's a local street vendor. That's the perfect way to taste the local cuisine.
DON'T JUST FOLLOW A ROUTE
Wonder off of your route and explore beyond it. Take different routes to the obvious ones, tourist ones. Walk away from the crowds and explore the quiet but more local areas.
I always find a little extra from walking down little streets and discovering local shops with some hidden gems in them. It can also lead to capturing beautiful photographs that get a lot of attention; you'll find people asking all about where it was taken, how did you find the place, etc. Show off your exploration skills by spreading the word so then other people can find this spot. However, this can be a negative because then these hidden streets can become popular from spreading the word and then part of a tourist route, so be a little careful.
ASK LOCALS FOR ADVICE
The locals live there so are likely to know a lot more about the city than yourself or possibly the tour guides. Get their advice on where to explore, which hotspots are worth the visit, which places to avoid and get away from the crowds, and which hidden spots are yet to be known to the public. I'm sure many of them are happy to help you, especially if you are nice to them and show an eager interest in their culture.
Personally I love walking down narrow, winding streets and searching for the little bit extra that the city has to offer which is yet to become a tourist's favourite. I will go out of my way to make time for those extra hidden gems that are waiting to be found. Basically what I have said above is what I do to make the most out of a new destination. I always walk because you can only see so much and for such a little amount of time when you are stuck on transport.
This is how I go about travelling and exploring the unknown.