Let’s get this straight: Just because we have the means to travel does not mean we can just go out there and do our thing willy-nilly. Not really thinking about the choices we make could affect us, our surroundings, and our environment.
Mindful traveling is not as hard as you think it is. It does not take much effort from you to practice a travel lifestyle that is both beneficial to your well-being and for others as well. If you do not know where to start, consider the seven tips below to set you on a mindful path forward.
Whatever reason you have for traveling, there will always be one part of it that is saved for some self-discovery. You may not mean for it to happen, but when you pause, you’ll realize that you have learned so much about yourself during each trip you take.
Since you’re continuously learning about growth and how to improve yourself, why not mindfully take self-care as one of your priorities when you go on a trip?
Honestly, traveling can often wear our bodies and spirits out, so if you’ve planned well enough to form a self-care habit when you’re out of town or out of the country, you’ve taken the first step of being a mindful traveler. This can be as simple as learning how to control your drinking habits when you’re in a foreign city, keeping yourself hydrated by bringing a water tumbler with you when you go out, and eating healthy foods that keep you energized on your journey.
Take Your Time
You took this vacation to slow down from the demands of your everyday life, so now is the time to learn the habit of not letting the idea of time get the best of you.
Deep breaths will take you to the understanding that it is important just to savor the moment and not rush things. If you are not beating a deadline, relax. Let John Legend school you on how you should take things slow.
Appreciate Your Surroundings
In this generation where we cannot live a day without our smartphones, it’s hard to tell if we can really appreciate what’s around us, or if we’re merely just staying there to take photos. Here’s the thing about mindful traveling: You’re here to appreciate the beauty of the environment around you. You can take one or two photos and dedicate the rest of your time to learning more about the history of a place and appreciate how spectacular it is to be able to witness the beauty of a country. Trust us – you really can do it!
The bottom line: We’ve focused so much on how things should look like on our social media profiles that we often forget the real reason why we spent a fortune exploring other towns and cities. Break that habit.
Do not let your baggage weigh you down. Practicing light packing is one way to become more mindful about the way you travel. Start by identifying what type of bag you’d like to bring (suitcase, backpack, combination of the two?), and if all you need is something small, be sure about the carry-on dimensions to avoid underpacking or overpacking.
Again, do not let the stress of wanting to bring everything get to you. Make a list of important stuff to bring, and learn to pack more by packing less.
Respect the Customs
If there is one thing that you should never forget to carry with you when you are on a trip, it is respect—respect for other people and other people’s culture. One way to ensure that you do not offend anyone during your trip is to research the place that you are visiting. There is information available online about these things, what to do, and what not to do when visiting a certain community. It is important to arm yourself with this kind of information to avoid conflicts and other unwanted complications. A company like Discover Corps also provides you with a detailed guide before you arrive in-country to help you better understand the culture you’re stepping into, so there are resources out there to help!
Connect With Locals
Socializing and making friends isn’t natural for everyone, but trust me, it’s a fun thing to try when you travel. Meeting new people, especially locals, is a travel tip that you should not take lightly. It’s a life-changing experience to connect with different souls from a different region and hear inspiring and entertaining stories from them.
In return you get to meet a new friend, and you’ll return with all these new stories to tell to your friends and family back home. If you’re lucky, you get to keep a connection with these locals even after your trip. You’d be surprised by how meeting these people could affect you in a special way.
Respect the Environment
Respect is not limited to humans only. The environment needs it just as much as people do.
If you are thinking of becoming friendly to everyone, including the environment, try thinking about how travel habits could affect the planet. Staying in an eco-friendly hotel can often offer the same comforts as staying in a fancy hotel, but it puts a focus on the environment (even better – find a locally-owned eco-friendly hotel!). When you opt to stay at an environmentally conscious place, its contribution that is immensely fulfilling.
How do you practice mindfulness when you travel? Is there anything you would add to this list? Let us know in the comment sections below.
Author Bio: 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.