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5 Simple Mindful Tips to Make Your Travel Truly Enjoyable

There is a reason why we often say that we need a holiday immediately after a holiday. Our expectation of holidays is that we return home fully relaxed. However, how often is this actually the reality? How often do we feel that we come back from a holiday more exhausted than when we went? Luckily, there are ways to make our travel more mindful and relaxing. And whether we are planning a staycation or travelling abroad, being mindful during our holiday will help us truly enjoy each moment and savour the experience.

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What is mindfulness, and how can it enrich our travel experience?

The Cambridge Dictionary defines mindfulness as paying attention to our body, thoughts and feelings, consciously experiencing the present moment. So that we are aware of what is going on both around us as well as inside of us. Living in the present moment helps us to better notice the world around us, the food we taste, the fresh air we breathe, the sea breeze and sand under our feet as we walk on the beach… Whether it’s a staycation or a holiday abroad, mindfulness enriches our travel experience. Mindful travel helps us to better enjoy the world around us.

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The ultimate guide to mindful travel 

I don’t know anyone who doesn’t look forward to their holidays. Most display so-called pre-trip happiness. A study shows that holidaymakers tend to exhibit a high degree of pre-trip happiness when they are looking forward to their holiday. However, when comparing those who have been on holiday to those who haven’t, it seems that incorporating plenty of relaxing time into our plans boosts the post-trip happiness after your return even further.  

Mindful travel will therefore help us to extend the benefit of our time off and increase our happiness. So how do we get the most out of our holiday?

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Five mindful travel tips for a more enjoyable trip

1. Planning – a holiday already starts with the planning. There tend to be two types of people when it comes to planning, and it won’t be hard to guess which group I most align with. There are those who plan everything out in the tiniest of detail, and then they are those who travel more spontaneously. I’m still trying to learn to fall somewhere in the middle. I’ve learnt that mindful travel requires me to live in the moment instead of burying my head in the travel guide the whole time. So whilst effective planning is essential, let’s spend less time making checklists and ticking off all the important tourist sites. Instead, let’s observe more and take in what travel offers us.

2. Packing – if there is one thing that I am not looking forward to when it comes to holidays, it’s the packing. I totally admire those who can pack in a few minutes and actually remember to pack what they need. That’s definitely something I would like to learn from my husband. Have you ever heard of light packing? It’s what I’m going to try to do next time we are going on holiday. And I’ve already got the perfect getaway accessory for all the essentials too.

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I don’t think I’m going to give this backpack back to my husband…

3. Travel without expectations – I always dreamed of going to Paris. So when I actually went there several years ago, I remember that I went with high expectations. I imagined the buildings with small balconies, people wearing berets walking the Parisien streets, cafes full of people chatting… I had the image of a romantic city in my head. Unfortunately, the holiday was a disaster, and I was really disappointed. The problems started upon checking into the hotel and, from the beginning, nothing went as imagined. It wasn’t that Paris isn’t a pretty city, but I realised that I had unrealistic expectations. Not meeting these, unfortunately, impacted my ability to enjoy the rest of my trip. But I learnt from the experience, and from there on, I never go on holiday with expectations. I go and let the destination surprise me with what it has to offer. 

4. Limit your must-see/to-do list – surfing through the brochures and travel guides, I often used to pack our holidays with too many things to see and do. I realised this on our last holiday and spoke to my therapist about it. I told her how stressful our day was as I wanted to see so much in the day. We went to do some sightseeing straight after breakfast, then drove to another place afterwards. Whilst walking through the town, my husband wanted to stop to have some lunch. I checked the time and told him it would have to be a takeaway. There simply wasn’t time to sit down and enjoy a meal as there were still many things I wanted to see that day. Talking to my therapist afterwards, it was clear that I hadn’t enjoyed the place as much as I wanted. Instead of switching off and fully appreciating the surrounding, I rushed from one place to another. Together with my therapist, we made a plan. I checked my list for the next day. On it, there were five places I wanted to see. Then I asked myself if that was realistic. Obviously, it wasn’t, so I looked at which two I could leave off and rubbed those out. Then from the three left, I decided which two I definitely wouldn’t want to miss and which one I could give a miss if time became tight. Visiting two places in a day seemed much more realistic than five. “You will have a reason to return and see those places next time,” said my therapist. And she was right. I don’t have to see everything in one day. So I am learning to practice mindful travel and take my time to savour each moment. I don’t feel guilty or anxious about not seeing everything that the travel guide lists, as I am enjoying what I see at that moment. 

5. Be open to new experiences – live like a local. Make friends with some locals. I find their recommendations often much better than those from the travel magazines. And I always think if a place is good enough for those in the know, it must be good enough for me to give it a try. So if a restaurant or a cafe is full of locals, it’s a sign for me that I should try it too. Be spontaneous and open to new experiences. After all, that’s what makes travel worth it. Trying new things and learning about new cultures can be so rewarding.  

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Boosting post-trip happiness with mindful travel

Following those five tips will help make our travel more mindful. Practising mindful travel adds to our enjoyment and enhances our post-trip happiness. So let’s make our next holiday less stressful, free of botched travel plans, dashed hopes and expectations. Instead, soak into the atmosphere, slow down and take time to appreciate new adventures.

Get some rest to recharge your batteries

Whatever we do, wherever we decide to go for our holiday, it is important to get some rest and schedule some downtime during the day. Alternatively, mix it up and alternate between quiet and busy days. Either way will help to ensure that we’re not left with the feeling of needing a holiday from the holiday itself. Instead, it will leave us refreshed and refuelled afterwards. And with those mindful travel tips, our batteries will stay recharged for longer.

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Please note that whilst this post doesn’t contain any affiliate links, I was graciously compensated for it.

Thank you for reading and till the next blog post,

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39 thoughts on “5 Simple Mindful Tips to Make Your Travel Truly Enjoyable”

    1. Pastor Natalie, thank you so much! I am learning to be more present whilst travelling too. It has so many benefits, so I hope it will be beneficial and valuable for others too. Blessings!

  1. Thank you for this post, I know sometimes I can feel down when I don’t go to all the places I wanted to visit when taking a trip. Also packing is one of my biggest downfalls too LOL.

    1. Thank you so much, Maniyah! It was my issue too, as I am quite an active person who would like to do and see everything. But then it is often more stressful than relaxing. That’s why I took the advice of my therapist seriously and it has helped me to change my mindset. It doesn’t matter if we don’t get to see everything, the main thing is to be fully present, and enjoy what we actually see.

  2. Planning ahead and making sure there is plenty of downtime for resting or aimless exploring is definitely most helpful for making my trips less stressful

  3. Great post… I always split my list to ‘must do’ and ‘may do’… I always think that if I don’t get to one place I wanted or discovered on the way out…Is reason for another visit…;-))

  4. Digitaldaybook

    I just got off a ten hour flight and I’m fried but these should help make the trip enjoyable. Thank you!

    1. Dawn, thank you so much for reading. I’m slowly changing the way I used to travel, and it is helping me to be more mindful and admire the beauty around us deeper. I hope others will find it helpful too. Many thanks!

  5. Great Tips! I always used to jam too much in a day. I ended up feeling exhausted at the end of the day. Now when I travel, I think twice before planning my day. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Christine, thank you so much for sharing! Same here, but I’m slowly changing the way I used to travel and I can definitely see how much more I’m enjoying my time away. I say, go for it and you would love it! Enjoy your next trip away!

  6. This is a lovely article, I enjoyed reading it.
    We are planning a trip to the South Island of New Zealand next year (we live in the North Island, so it kind of feels like going overseas!).
    We are definitely not going to over-schedule our trip, and have lots of time for just hanging at the home we are renting, as it has a swimming pool and a games room. From past trips, I know that planning to many day trips is overwhelming for my kids – they want to play in the pool or at the beach. And that’s fine. It’s their holiday too!
    Pippa

    1. Pippa, thank you for sharing! This is such a great attitude! We often feel guilty for not seeing or doing everything we planned. It can be really frustrating. So I would say, planning some relaxing time is essential for everyone. Have an amazing holiday!

  7. Nice insights to avoiding “I need a vacation from my vacation syndrome”.
    I have found “being open to new experiences” is very valuable…some of my favorite memories from my trips is from trying something new, doing something different. Stepping out from my comfort zone a little (or a lot)

  8. I believe point number 3 and 4 are very important. Expectations can really disappoint you. Having a lot to do in a day doesn’t let you take everything in. You almost forget you’re o a trip to relax as you’re stressed with a long to-do list. Great post.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing! I can only agree with you. Once we stop stressing about seeing or doing so much, we can enjoy our holidays more. Many thanks!

  9. Love this post! I’m guilty of packing too much into our travel days and will make sure to use be more mindful next time we go away. Thanks for the tips!

    1. Thank you, and you are welcome! That’s what I’m trying to do too. Summer is here, so a good time to practice mindful travel. Safe travels!

  10. Hahhaa I’m also a light traveler with packing. I use to take a while to pack but now I do it a lot quicker. These were great tips!

  11. Limiting the must see list is always the hardest for me. With so many places to travel to and do little time, it’s hard to see it all and have time to relax.

    1. Thank you so much, Sue! Yes, it is…I have to remind myself when planning a holiday not to put too many things on my list, after all, it should be about enjoying the present moment rather than rushing from one place to another. Have a lovely summer!

  12. These are great tips! Honestly, I am more of a spontaneous traveller and I feel like that has helped me to roll with all the crazy events that sometimes come up travelling. That being said, I always wished I could be more of a planner to give a little more structure to our plans when we head out. I think you’re right when you say that we all tend to fall in one camp or the other and the sweet spot is in the middle!

    1. Thank you so much for sharing, Britt! Yes, it’s the golden middle that I am aiming for…as long as we are doing our best whilst enjoying the present moment… Enjoy your travels!

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