5 Steps To Making Mindful Travel Memories

If you’re like me, you love travel! But not just any kind of travel. You seek out mindful travel experiences that inspire you, change you, and help you feel a greater connection to the world around you.

If this resonates with you, I’m so glad we found each other 🙂 

You probably already recognize that deep, impactful travel requires intention and some planning, but you’re not sure where to start.

And for that reason, I’m also glad we found each other!

Mindful, intentional travel is my passion and actually what I studied in college! My degree was focused on the psychology of what makes experiences meaningful and memorable and how to make those experiences a reality.

So read on to discover five practical strategies I’ve learned for designing mindful, intentional, life-changing travel in your own life!

Before Your Trip: Begin With the End In Mind

During the trip planning process, ask yourself (and those you’re traveling with)…

What kind of trip do you want/need? 

The answers to this question can be a lifesaver when making intentional travel decisions! Are you traveling with friends you haven’t seen in a while? Set a goal to create a trip that will help you reconnect. Going on an anniversary trip with your significant other? Plan to travel to a secluded location that’s not too crowded so you can spend time alone together. Do you have a three day weekend break from work? Maybe a solo road trip to a bucket list location is just what you need to unwind and recharge.

Answering this simple question will help guide you as you move forward with plans for destination, transportation, restaurants, and activities. You’ll feel more excited about your trip and connect more deeply with your travel experiences!

During Your Trip: Mindful Travel Practices

After all that work to plan intentionally with a goal for your trip in mind, you would hate to zoom through every activity and hardly remember any of it by the end!

Here are several things you can do to avoid this common travel mistake:

First, plan activities that engage as many of your senses as possible. 

Book a cooking class where you’re touching, smelling, seeing, and tasting the food. Visit a botanical garden or immersive art museum that invites further exploration. Take a dance lesson that requires you to memorize steps, feel your body move, and listen to the music. 

These experiences will not only teach you more about the local culture, but they’ll require a greater investment of yourself to fully enjoy them. Their tactile nature will force you to slow down and be intentional about your participation.

Next, don’t plan out every second of every day. 

I know this sounds contradictory to the intentional activity planning I just mentioned. You may be tempted to impose a strict schedule to your trip to make sure you’re accomplishing your goals. But keep in mind that connecting, transformative experiences involve a combination of structured and unstructured time

The structured time helps provide a sense of safety and accomplishment as things are “checked off the list”. 

But the unstructured time? That’s where the magic happens.

There’s a lot of beauty to be found in the in-between moments, the surprises and the spontaneity. Give yourself space to explore a park while you wait for your museum time slot, to have a conversation with your server at dinner, to leave your Airbnb an hour earlier in the morning and just see where your feet take you.

(Disclaimer: safety is your first priority while traveling. Don’t wander around dangerous areas just for the sake of spontaneity. Be smart about branching out and find the magic off the beaten path while staying safe.)

Lastly, take time to stop and breathe. 

Literally. 

Eyes closed or open, whether you’re resting or playing, intentionally take FIVE deep breaths. This exercise does wonders for helping you slow down and notice the beauty around you, the love of those you’re with, and the magic of the moment.

Taking a breather can also help to solidify moments in your memory. It’s been proven that breathing and meditation exercises can improve long-term memory storage in your brain. As you take time to breathe throughout your trip, you’ll remember details more clearly and those feelings you had will come back more readily when it’s over.

After Your Trip: Write That Down – That’s Very Important!

Don’t forget to write down your thoughts and feelings about your travels! Ideally, you’d write things down at the end of each day so you can remember all the small moments. But from my own experience as a busy traveler and therefore a tired one, journaling at the end of each day isn’t always feasible. So take notes on your phone throughout the day as you’re riding the train or waiting for dinner to cook. If you’re traveling with other people, ask each other questions about what you thought/felt. This can help you create shared memories and experiences!

Whatever you do, reflect and review! Even a few hours can affect your ability to recall details – important details that will help you feel impacted and changed by your experience.

Now You Know – So Go and Do!

Did any of these strategies surprise you? Are there any that you’ve already put into practice? My hope is that you’ll apply these strategies to your travel planning moving forward. As you plan and pause intentionally on your adventures, you’ll find the inspiration you’re looking for. Your travels will be memorable, help you dive deep into your destination, and maybe even change your life.

Additional Resources

For more detailed tips for planning unforgettable travel experiences, download my FREE Ultimate Travel Planning Guide! This guide is a game changer and will give you all the tools you need to start planning life-changing travel today!

Thinking about traveling solo but you’re nervous to take the leap? I’ve been there, sis, and I’ve learned a lot through trial and error, haha. Check out My Top 5 Tips for Aspiring Solo Travelers where you’ll find inspiration to live out your solo travel dreams!

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