How to enjoy your travel? Well, we used to be among those not so interested in travel. We were content going to the same places we grew up and lived in and circulating with the same group of people we have been comfortable with. We didn’t know what we were missing.
A couple of years after we got married, our careers and business ventures introduced and obliged us into travel. It opened our eyes to the awesome adventures and experiences that await us if we commit to push ourselves outside of our comfort zone. We still occasionally travel for business but have recently been travelling more for leisure. Our experience has taught us a lot. We now enjoy our travels more, and we would like to share great ideas and tips on how you, too, can enjoy yours. We refer to them as “Our Five P’s for Travel”:
- Purpose and Vision
- Planning and Preparations
- Proceed and Enjoy the Journey
- Positive Perspectives Maintained
- Post-Travel Tips
Let us explore in more detail below each of these.
Purpose and Vision
Firstly, you need to clearly define your purpose for the travel and a vision of what you want to get out of it. This will dictate and facilitate how you plan, prepare and enjoy it. For reference, you may want to read my earlier post: Why Travelling is Important – To Enjoy Life.
Planning and Preparation
Adequately plan and prepare for your trip by asking yourself the fundamental questions: Why, What, Who, Where, When and How.
Answers to the above questions will help you address the essential items you need to cover. In a subsequent post, we will take you through some of the questions we usually ask ourselves. These help us adequately plan and prepare for our travel, minimize uncertainties and reduce anxieties.
Start planning as early as you can. As part of the preparations, always assume that not everything will go as planned. Be ready with contingency or back up plans, or learn to roll with the punches. You may want to refer to excellent travel books for more ideas and guidance.
Finally, a checklist of things to bring for the trip is essential. This would help ensure that you will not miss any of the essentials while adopting the typical advice of “travelling light”.
Proceed and Enjoy the Journey
Below are some tips to ensure that you get the most of your trip, minimize stress and enjoy:
Allow Reasonable Time
This has been a lesson to us during our first trip abroad. We visited 4 cities (in 4 countries) in 2 weeks. You can imagine how little time we really had to enjoy the destinations. Our naïve assumption then is that we will get the most out of our budget. We couldn’t be more wrong. Lighten your itinerary and spend more quality time in each place for maximum enjoyment. Slow things down to fully grasp the experience. It will be money well spent.
Head out to your intended attractions early and avoid large crowds so that you can explore, savour, and get the best view with the least distractions. Moreover, a couple of hours after sunrise or before sunset, referred to as the golden hours, is the best time to take photos outdoors. Your shots will be softer, more dramatic, and more flattering.
Spend time immersing yourself to get the pulse of the city you are at. Head out to a market or dining places that locals frequent. You may unexpectedly find that a restaurant with an unassuming facade serves exceptional cuisine deserving of 3 Michelin stars that do not hurt your pockets. Sit at a park or a busy street corner, observing the details of what is happening around you.
A chance encounter with a local will perhaps give you a deeper understanding of the fabric of their everyday life. This is the best way to discover the soul of a place.
Explore Beyond Immediate Vicinity
Head out beyond the tourist areas. If you can, do this on foot, starting out from the farthest point you think you can cover given the time available and navigating back towards your hotel. If time allows, venture further using the local means of transport. There are surprises off the beaten track that will make your travels unique and more memorable!
Just make sure you do your research on the neighbourhoods beforehand. And always have the name and address of your hotel in hand so you can grab a taxi back or contact them if you get lost or run out of time.
Record the Experience
Nothing can make your travel experience more memorable than being totally present to savour the moment. It deepens your connections with the places you visit and the people that you meet. However, taking photos or videos (if you are geared-up for them) that captivated you are also powerful tools for reminiscing and telling your travel stories. Compiling and printing these pictures into a photo album can also be a great conversation piece back home.
Positive Perspective Maintained
Having a positive perspective is a critical ingredient in how to enjoy travelling. Here are some tips for this.
Have An Open Mind
Be open to views and suggestions from other people and be venturesome to try things that you are not accustomed to or different from what you would typically do. You may be in for something unique and exciting!
Get out of your comfort zone and explore things, particularly those that you usually shy away from. You will be surprised that you can totally transform yourself. Be willing to try new flavours; that spicy or exotic food might please your taste buds. Talk more to people you don’t know; you might learn some nuggets of information that you won’t get from social media or school. Head out somewhere without knowing what to expect; a once-in-a-lifetime experience might be waiting for you.
Things may not go as expected and planned. Don’t be discouraged; you can’t give up at the first sign of a roadblock. It usually pays off at the end when you persevere and continue.
Patience Is A Virtue
It is essential to maintain your composure and exercise tolerance, particularly on things that are beyond your control. Do not waste your precious vacation time worrying and being annoyed. Count your blessings and be reminded that it may have been worse for others, and it could have been worse for you.
Don’t Be Too Serious
You are taking your vacation to relax and have a good time. There could be mistakes, misses, mishaps along the way, no matter how excellently you prepared for it. Do not stress out over them. Just laugh at them and continue enjoying the journey.
Post Travel Tips
You have returned from your trip, perhaps a bit physically exhausted, but hopefully, more mentally refreshed. Now it’s time to go back to where you left off before your vacation. It is always challenging to get off that vacation mode.
Here are some practical tips that have proven useful for us.
- Plan a wind-down day – Recommend that you aim to return home at least one day before you head back to work
- Resume your routine at home – Unpack, laundry, clean-up. Attend to urgent things that may have come up while you were away
- Refresh your memory – Look through photos, select which ones you like best and start sharing with friends and loved ones
- Prep-up for the first day in office – Have a to-do list and prioritize, as you will not have the time to address all at the same time
We hope the above helps you plan, prepare, enjoy your travel and ease you into your routine on your return. We will progressively update this post as we continue with our journeys over time. We hope this will help everyone enjoy travelling and inspire others to do so.
Please feel free to share your own experiences and tips on the comments section below.