How to Practice Mindfulness While Traveling

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Posted By Alex Perez - Mental Health Writer, B.A.

Vacation time is something we all look forward to. Whether driving a couple of hours to visit family or flying halfway across the globe, the opportunity to experience new places and cultures can change your life. One way to get the most out of your trip is to practice mindful travel. When you practice mindfulness, you become one with the environment around you. Here are six ways to be mindful next time you travel.

6 Tips for Mindful Traveling

1.  Try New Foods

minfulness traveling

One of the best parts of traveling is experiencing cuisine you haven’t tried before. You may have had food inspired by other cultures, but it doesn’t compare to the authentic meals you eat on your travels. A great way to practice mindfulness is to pay close attention to what you eat and what goes in it. How do the cooks prepare the food? Do they use any techniques you haven’t seen before?

Food can serve as a love language and a mode of expression. It’s a work of art that brings people together in any situation, sad or cheerful. If you encounter a meal you really enjoy, try to take note of how to prepare it. Ask the cook or someone who knows how to cook for a recipe or tips for making it at home. Cooking can contribute to mindfulness, and recreating the dishes you like can remind you of the fun you had on vacation.

2.  Remember to Take Pictures

Imagine you took a trip to the Pyramids of Egypt, the Great Wall of China, or the Colosseum in Rome. Fast forward 40 years from now, and you may have grandkids who want to know about your trip. Having pictures to show them makes for great stories and memories to reflect on. Photographing your memories is a great way to practice mindfulness while traveling.

Like food, photography is another form of art. When you take pictures of your surroundings, you’re taking a snapshot of a moment in time where you’re immersed in the world around you. If you elect to take pictures, try using a camera so you won’t distract yourself from other things happening on your phone.

3.  Have Fun With Locals

minfulness traveling

When you go out of town, the locals are the best people to hang out with. This notion especially applies when traveling to a city or country often overloaded with tourists. When you travel with locals, they may take you off the beaten path and introduce you to sights and sounds you might not have seen on tourist websites.

It’s like the saying, “When in Rome, do as the Romans do.” Many countries have a special way of life they abide by, like the pura vida mindset of Costa Rica. This lifestyle means focusing on the important things in life and letting go of unnecessary concerns. Learning about values like this will help you connect with your destination and be fully present.

4.  Put the Phones Away

Disconnecting from your devices is a great way to lose yourself in the moment. When you’re on vacation, your focus should be on the people and places around you. Emails from work and the latest political news have less importance. People, in America especially, have a hard time forgetting about work while on vacation.

Before you go on a trip, let your colleagues know you’ll be out of your office and unavailable for contact. When you’re at your destination, try to use your phone only for essentials, like finding directions or emergencies. Leave the phones and tablets at home to get your desired mindful experience.

5.  Take Your Time

minfulness traveling

Do you remember being a kid and going on vacation with your parents? Was it a universal experience to see your mom or dad want to rush through everything? One of the most valuable things we have in life is time, and parents made sure none was wasted.

Now you’re an adult who can control your own itinerary. Slowing down and absorbing your surroundings is a great way to practice mindfulness. Your experience is more enjoyable if you pretend time is standing still. If you have a relaxed, flexible schedule, you can practice mindfulness and embrace the world around you.

6.  Carry a Light Bag

When you go on vacation, try to let go of some of the things that weigh you down in daily life. You shouldn’t stress about how many outfits you’ll need, what electronics will entertain you or what work you might want to bring on the trip. These kinds of concerns can detract from the experience.

If you’re going to travel outdoors, it would be wise to carry a light backpack with the essentials. You could bring a change of clothes, a first-aid kit, medicine, snacks, and some toiletries just in case. A lightweight bag will reduce the stress on your back and shoulders and allow you to enjoy yourself.

Stop and Smell the Roses

When you’re on vacation, your mind should be focused on the holiday. If it helps, you should quite literally stop and smell the roses. Do anything that will help you become one with the environment around you. Practicing mindfulness is a great way to get to know people in other lands, whether through food, pastimes, favorite places to hang out, or other parts of the culture. Your trip may be the only opportunity you get to have this experience, especially if the land you’re in is far away from home. So take your time, absorb the world around you, and have fun.

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