We don’t all get to travel as often as we would like, so when we do get the opportunity, we want to soak it all in! We should all aim to be more present when traveling, even if it is a work trip, or if you have been there a hundred times already!
It can be easy to be on full speed when traveling, excited to get to each next adventure. There is so much to do and see when on vacation, you want to do it all as soon as you can!
While there is absolutely nothing wrong with being super excited about being on vacation, it is still important to take time to be more mindful.
Take time to pause, and take in all the new sights. Try to remember the smell of your favorite dinner, the feeling of the wind on the beach, and the sounds of different languages as you walk through the market.
Being mindful is hard. It is something that we all could work on and improve, even in everyday life. To be more present when traveling is the ultimate test of our abilities to be mindful, but also the most important time to be present!
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One of the most important ways to be more present when traveling is to slow down.
It is so easy to want to run from place to place, especially when you first arrive at your vacation spot. There is so much to see and do, and it can be overwhelming to want to fit it all in such a short period of time.
One way to ensure you slow down during your vacation is to make an itinerary beforehand. In your itinerary, try to space out going to different attractions. Aim for only 1-2 big events per day, so you have time to spend at each one, and don’t have to rush around.
Maybe try to wake up an hour or two earlier in the morning, to give yourself some more time during the day to explore. Don’t try to overpack your schedule, and take your time! After all, this is a vacation- you shouldn’t be stressed!
Unless you have a specific timeline to get somewhere, try not to rush around. Try not to stress too much about getting to and from places, and enjoy the moment!
Go at your own pace. If you are naturally a fast-paced person, try to take a step back and remember to relax and slow down. It can be difficult to slow down when everyday life can be so fast-paced.
If you feel yourself getting stressed and feeling rushed, stop, take a breath, and remind yourself it is okay to take it down a notch!
This is something I try to adopt in my everyday life, but I’m not going to lie- it is hard!
It goes like this: If you like something, pause. If you see something you like, smell something delicious, like how something looks, or just feel good at a certain place, pause!
Maybe you are walking through a neighborhood, and like how to sidewalk looks winding down the street. Perhaps you see some mountains in the distance that look magical. Or maybe you are just enjoying watching the tourists and locals intermingling together in the market.
You will only get this moment once in your life, so take the time to enjoy it. I simply say, “hold on, I just like how this looks”, and Colin understands it is time to take a quick pause.
You don’t need to pause for long. Even just a few seconds to a minute could be enough.
Try to take a mental snapshot of the moment. Just simply pausing for a moment can be enough to allow you to remember and appreciate that moment even years to come!
Another way to be more present when traveling is to sit down and relax. It can be easy to want to keep walking and exploring for hours on end, but you should remember to have a seat and stay awhile!
Try to remember to relax in between adventures. Go to a nearby cafe, and have a coffee on the outside patio. Or, go for a walk at the local park and sit in the grass and soak up the sun!
While you are sitting, spend some time taking in the sights and sounds around you. Recollect with your partner or family about what you have done earlier that day, or discuss your surroundings.
Giving your body some time to relax and recuperate after walking for so long will do you wonders. Not only will your body thank you, but your mind will feel better after having some time to relax.
Take some time for yourself to allow your feet to prop up and feel less achy, and for your mind to be at ease for some time. Maybe even close your eyes, and crack a little smile. If you practice meditation or yoga, this might be a nice time to get those practices in!
Here is a guide for meditating outside that you can practice!
Another important tip to be more present when traveling is to walk as much as you can. Your feet have the power to take you just about anywhere, and with a journey along the way.
Of course, if you have to go somewhere miles away, by all means, don’t walk! But, for nearby places, consider walking as your main means of transportation.
By walking around, you will uncover more of the area than you would have if taking a vehicle. Who knows what you might find! Let your legs take you wherever they want to wander, even if you stray off path a bit.
Walking will make you more aware of your surroundings, and you will notice more of the area! See a cool garden or park along the way? Why not stop and explore for a bit. Maybe you come across a cute boutique. The possibilities are endless.
If you get tired of walking, consider renting a bike to get around. This will give you a similar feel to walking around while saving some aches and pains in your feet!
Take a pit stop wherever you see fit and don’t limit yourself to staying on your path!
If you must use a vehicle, opt for public transportation over cabs or Ubers. This will give you a more well-rounded feel of the culture in your area!
It can be easy to want to “let yourself go” while on vacation and put a haul on some of your healthy habits. Not going to lie, I do this too! However, we could all probably stand to be a little bit healthier, especially on vacation.
I am not saying don’t indulge while on vacation- but to simply be more mindful of how you are treating your body. Just because you are on vacation, doesn’t mean your body and mind can fend for themselves!
Here is a guide for staying healthy while on vacation, which should give you a good start. A healthy body leads to a healthy mind, and vice versa. Staying health conscious will allow you to be more present in your travels, instead of feeling sick or worrying about your health.
You can maintain your health while traveling by doing many of the things we all already know: drinking more water, eating more fruits and vegetables, and moving our bodies.
Try to incorporate some healthy habits into your travels, and your mind and body will thank you.
Keep in mind, you do not need to go running and eat salads every day while on vacation. Perhaps incorporate a daily yoga practice first thing in the morning, or take a brisk walk at the park. Carry a water bottle with you to stay hydrated during the day, and have a side salad with your dinner to get your vegetables in.
Small habits can have huge effects on your overall health and wellbeing while traveling!
Keep a journal
One thing we like to do while traveling is keeping a journal. At the end of the day while laying in bed, writing about your day can help keep you more mindful.
Write about what you did that day, where you went, what you saw, how you felt, anything that comes to mind! This is also a great way to recall your traveling in the years to come.
Writing about your day will help you reflect on everything you did that day, and delve into your thoughts and feelings in a more meaningful way.
You can also just write about whatever you want if you are an avid writer. Giving yourself time to let your pen empty your mind will give you a clear head to take on the next day.
Here are some awesome travel writing prompts if you get stuck on what to write about!
Get off your phone
I know, I know. You’ve heard this one plenty of times before! But hear me out:
Traveling is a time for exploring new destinations, absorbing new cultures, relaxing, and spending time with your loved ones. Notice how I didn’t say, ‘checking your Facebook feed’ or ‘scrolling through Instagram?’
Now, I get it. There are plenty of excuses for why you might need to use your phone, and that’s okay too.
When you are traveling, you will want to take tons of pictures- by all means, do this! Here is a guide on how to take the best pictures on vacation. However, try not to make your vacation all about getting the best photo. Take a few minutes to get your selfies and awesome pictures in, then spend the other 99% of the time actually enjoying it! Sometimes taking pictures can interfere with actually being in the present.
Additionally, you might have kids at home you need to keep in contact with, or some other reason to check your email or phone. This is okay too, and try not to stress about being on your phone too much. Try to set a schedule for yourself when you will talk with your kids, check emails, etc.
For example, try not to do this when you are out to dinner, or at a museum. Instead, maybe limit it to times when you are at the hotel, on the subway, waiting in line, etc. This will help keep your mind in the present, instead of worrying about other things!
Carry a sketch notebook
Even if you are not an avid artist, carrying a sketch notebook can help you to appreciate your surroundings in a whole different way!
You can easily carry a sketch notebook in your day bag, along with these other great items you should carry on a day of sightseeing. It doesn’t have to be large- just enough to sketch down what you see!
For example, maybe you are sitting on a park bench, and love the scene you are witnessing. Instead of taking a picture, try drawing it instead! This will help your mind to focus on all the tiny details around you, making the moment even more memorable.
You can also do this with a regular notebook if you are not a great drawer (like myself!) Instead of drawing your surroundings, write it out in words. How do the wind and sun feel? What do you hear and smell? How are you feeling at the moment?
These questions will allow your mind to look inward, and become more aligned with the current moment.
The first time you eat some fresh, homemade Italian pasta, or take that first bite of gelato, it can be easy to want to eat it all in two seconds!
When eating a meal or snack while traveling, try to remember to take a breath between bites, and savor each taste.
Try to find each and every flavor in each bite. What is the texture like? Take in the smells of your meal, and chew each bite carefully. Try taking a sip of water in between bites to help slow. you down.
Here are some other tips for mindful eating!
By taking your time while eating, the meal and moment will become more memorable. Enjoy each other’s company, and listen to all of your senses.
Learn from your mistakes
No matter where you are traveling to, it is inevitable: you are going to make some mistakes somewhere down the line. You can try to avoid these by becoming knowledgable of these common travel mistakes.
Naturally, you will probably become frustrated and stressed at some point during your trip: maybe you don’t have directions and got lost, or you lost the ticket to an event, or you are running late for your flight.
Take time to recognize how you are feeling, and that it will not last forever. Pause, take a breath and clear your mind before making any rash decisions.
Afterward, instead of beating yourself up over a silly mistake, use these stresses as a learning experience. Try to be grateful for your newly found knowledge and experiences!
Thank you for reading how to be more present when traveling! If you have any tips on how to be more mindful while traveling, please leave a comment below!