Staying alert and being mindful when traveling is important to stay safe and on track with your itinerary. Unfortunately, this is a lot harder to do when you are out and about exploring new places.
It is very easy to lose track of time or to get confused with your sense of direction when you are in a foreign location. This is especially true when you are trying to observe a different culture.
However, there are a few simple tips and tricks that you can take note of in order to stay alert and mindful while traveling. Here are eight travel tips that you can do to stay mindful during your travels:
Just Take Your Time
As a tourist, it is very common to be under constant pressure to make the most out of your trip. This could make you rush through your tours and visit as many places as possible by simply “being there.”
You might think that you could tick a destination off your list just as long as you get a photo with the scenery. While this might look awesome with your friends on social media, you are actually missing the point of traveling.
Take your time when traveling to have the time to observe and really see and understand a place.
Try to find a good spot to just sit down while eating a local delicacy. This might even give you a chance to talk to locals and learn something unique about the place you are visiting.
Put Your Phone Away and Out of Sight
In a world where almost every important information can be accessed through your phone, this tip might sound too far-fetched, but it is not.
You see, many people are so addicted to their phones that they subconsciously feel an urge to look at it every few minutes, even if they are not waiting for important calls.
Admit it or not, but you are also most likely to be addicted to your phone.
By keeping your phone away and out of sight during your travels, you are giving your mind space it needs just to focus, observe, and take all the new sceneries in.
Some might argue that they use their phones to navigate around. If you do, make sure just to turn off your phone once you are already at your destination.
Trust me. It is the break you never thought your brain needed.
If you have already experienced having your checked luggage lost by your airline, then you will know how worry-free it could be to travel light.
Minimize your need to be mindful by literally minimizing how much you bring!
By carefully planning what you will wear for each day on your trip, you can easily anticipate how many and which clothes to bring on your trip. Take into consideration the weather, the level of activity for each day, and if you will require a change of clothes or additional winter clothes.
On the other hand, it might be a good idea just to wash your clothes in a laundry shop should you be staying for a longer period.
You can also travel light by using a bag that weighs less. Be sure to choose the appropriate bag type and invest in the best luggage for the type of travel you frequently do.
Keep a Journal
Aside from photos, one of the most efficient ways to vividly keep memories is by writing about your travels. This also allows you to take note of the smallest details that you will most likely forget if you do not write it down.
Keep a journal with you when you visit other places, so you can take note of all the details that you would otherwise forget.
After a full day of exploring around, find the time within your day to sit down and write what you experienced for the day. This is great for reminiscing memories you made while on vacation.
Engage with Locals
Most guides that are on the internet and published in guidebooks come from the perspective of tourists and businesses.
While most of these guides have become increasingly reliable throughout the years, relying solely on these might give you an experience that is designed specifically for tourists.
On the other hand, talking to locals allows you to get an insider scoop to know the most unique and authentic food, culture, and sightseeing destination that most tourists may not have known.
Try to strike a simple conversation with the employees and staff you encounter, and most of them would be more than happy to share their thoughts.
When traveling, it is so easy to rush things through or get swept up with worry and fear of the unknown. Thus, we tend to forget to be appreciative of what we see and encounter.
Once this happens while you are traveling, you might not enjoy your experiences to the fullest.
It is a beautiful world we live in, and you are lucky enough to be exploring a different part of it. Express your gratitude and be thankful whenever you come across a happy and inspiring moment during your travel.
And even if things don’t go according to your plan (getting lost, dealing with travel delays, catching the flu), find a positive thing that will make it easier for you to be grateful of your scenario, regardless of how difficult it may seem.
After all, once you get through it, it will make one awesome story that will make your travel experience more unique.
Sit and Observe
One of the best ways to practice mindfulness while traveling is to take it easy. Find time to just sit on a cozy spot like going to a park if the weather is fine or a cafe if the weather is unpredictable and make yourself comfortable.
Just watch the time pass by, and you will be surprised by the diversity of people and the amount of time you take your surroundings for granted.
When traveling with a group, find the time for yourself to just wander around on your own. This makes it easier for you to observe the people and not rush.
Reflect on Your Experiences
One of the most important factors in mindful travel is finding reflection in experiences.
Failing to draw a reflection during a trip often lead tourists to have little to no sensitivity towards the people and the culture they are interacting with. They simply move from one spot to another, without having learned or observed anything new.
To avoid this from happening to you, find your key takeaways from each spot that you visit and see if you were able to learn something new.
This should allow you to integrate easily with the locals and avoid you from accidentally disrespecting their culture. It should also help you relate your own life experiences to their way of life.
Mindfulness is a way of life that might take years to really master. However, becoming a mindful traveler takes practice and should be worth it once you get the hang of it. Just remember to be in the moment so that you can grow to understand what it means to travel to new places and appreciate your connection to the world.
About the Author
Geraldine Mills is a self-confessed wanderlust from the land down under, Australia! She funds her adventures by working as a brand consultant and as a travel writer. She loves sharing the allure of backpacking and being one with nature.