How to be a more mindful traveller

23/07/2020

One thing not being able to travel has taught us is that we’ll appreciate it so much more when we next get the chance to escape…

As we start to think about planning holidays once again, we’re looking at things we with fresh eyes and are more aware of how precious these experiences will be than ever. This awareness is at the heart of our new mindset as mindful travellers.

Mindful travel means being aware and present when you explore other countries. It’s about recognising how travel can broaden the mind and lift the spirits; about looking at each experience with greater understanding and appreciation; about savouring every little detail of the exciting, different and new.

If you’re looking for ways to travel more mindfully on your next adventure, here are some simple tips to help you truly make the most of your next adventure.

Don’t try to do everything

The next time you travel, rather than rushing around trying to fit everything in, pick one thing you’ve always wanted to see or do in each destination and enjoy it to the full. If you know that you’d like a few hours to really explore the colosseum in Rome, take your time to make your way around: take a tour, sit for a while admiring the ancient architecture, ponder the gladiatorial battles that once took place there, spend time framing your photographs properly. You’ll find this way of seeing a site more rewarding than whizzing round in order to fit more into your day.

Enjoy the simple pleasures

The simple pleasures of travel are sometimes the best. Sitting watching the world go by with a hot chocolate and churros in a café in Valencia should never be seen as time wasted. You’ll notice the rhythms of local life this way, and get to know a destination so much better if you slow down and take time to observe.

Learn a lesson for every destination

Before you arrive at a destination, or even before you depart, try learning a few simple phrases in the local language of each destination you visit. Start with some simple phrases that you might use often, such as ‘hello’ and ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ and if you’re feeling confident you could learn how to order a coffee or a local beer. The locals will love the fact that you’ve made the effort, too.

Embrace the unexpected and different

If you learn to love the unexpected and look for the alternative ways to enjoy a destination, then you’ll never have a richer experience. When in Florence (from Livorno), don’t worry if the heavens open and ruin your plans of a visiting the Boboli Gardens. Head for cover in the magnificent Palazzo Pitti at the gardens’ entrance. Within, you’ll find some of Italy’s finest treasures at the Museum of Silver, the Palatine Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art.

Buy a souvenir that helps sustain a local project

If you’re booking a shore experience for the future, could you support a local community project or initiative at the same time? Perhaps there’s a handwoven bag or a ceramic cup you could bring home, or even just a cup of coffee from an independent sustainable organisation? This speaks to the idea of socially conscious travel, whereby you help to support the people that make travel so interesting and different in the first place.

Give yourself 100% to an experience

Sailing in to Lisbon up the Tagus river and under the Ponte 25 de April, with the Christ the King monument up high on the cliffs is quite something. So too is watching dolphins leap alongside your ship. Although instinct tells us to reach for our camera or phone, try giving 100% of yourself to the experience instead and lose yourself in the moment. Look out for and appreciate the smaller details and characteristics of what you can see, feel, hear and smell – experiences are so much richer if you’re not concentrating on a screen. 

As we begin to plan for future adventures, keep these ideas in mind and your experiences as a mindful traveller will always be fulfilling.