When you go on holiday in another country do you make an attempt to speak the language and follow the culture, or do you stick to the touristy places where all the locals know English, and don't mind you wearing shorts and flip flops?
When my dad goes on holiday, he tends to just sit round the pool at his hotel all week, but I think the whole point of visiting another country is learning about and experiencing the culture. You could wait until getting there to start this educational journey, but isn't it better to do some research beforehand? That way you'll know what to expect.
The Royal Geographical Society run a programme called 'Discovering Places'. Three times a year they bring a panel of exerts to talk about a particular country, such as its environment, community traditions, etc. There are also exhibitors with further information and travel ideas.
The next event is on the 15th October, and gives holiday goers a chance to Discover Cuba. The two-hour event starts at 7pm at Kensington Gore, with tickets priced at £10 for members and £15 for non-members.
On the panel you will meet Claire Boobbyer, a freelance travel writer, who first arrived in Havana in 1998. She leads tours, writes about Cuba for the national press, and contributes to several travel guides.
Joining her will be Dr Stephen Wilkinson, who first visited Cuba in 1986. He is Chairman of the International Institute for the Study of Cuba and Editor of the International Journal of Cuban Studies, he consults on a variety of media projects related to the island. Stephen gives lectures on Cuban politics, culture, and history, and also write detective fiction.