Make your next vacation memorable with intentional travel.
Do you find yourself wanting to go on vacation, but coming back feeling like you’re no different and your trip wasn’t that memorable? If you’re a planner like me, you may have a long list of destinations you want to visit. Perhaps you feel a vague connection to the place, or you want to go somewhere just so that you can say you did. This can lead to the “now what” mentality. You see a major historical landmark like the Statue of Liberty, and you stare at it for a minute, and then you think, “Okay, I did that. Now what?” If you want to add more meaning to your trips and vacations, read on with your guide to intentional travel.
What if there was a way to establish a real connection with the places you visit? What if instead of souvenirs, you came back with stories? How much richer might your life, and the lives of others, be for it? Instead of deciding what you want to see, try questioning how you want to be changed, what you want to learn from the place you visit, or who you want to help. Traveling with intention can result in new perspectives and knowledge if you want it to.
Decide Why You Want to Travel
How do you travel with intention? It starts with planning. First decide on an overall theme for your trip – a reason. Look at your life and see what’s needed. Do you need silence? Adventure? To open your eyes to other cultures, or to learn a new skill? What will make you come back feeling renewed or different? Once you know that, you can move on to the next step.
Sights and Experiences
This is when you research. What kinds of things do you want to do on your trip? Use search engines, guidebooks and anything else you can think of to help.
Your reason from step one will guide step two. Plan your experiences around it. For example, if your reason is to help others and be more aware of them, you might try going with a group to build houses or volunteer somewhere. Maybe your reason is to learn French and experience the culture. Then you go to France, take classes and interact with locals. You’ll find that your reason makes your experience more meaningful.
Budget and Time Frame
There’s no getting around this one. You will need to consider vacation days, prices for flights and attractions, and what time of year to visit. There are several ways to do this. If you have a couple weeks of vacation from work, you might use them all at once and go somewhere far away. If you’d rather, you can break it up into several smaller trips throughout the year.
Another suggestion if you want to travel for an extended period is to check out the possibility of working remotely. More professionals than ever seem to be looking at this option, and with Zoom meetings, post scheduling, and all the tech we have available, it’s easier than ever.
Last, let’s talk pricing. This will vary greatly by country and activities. The first option is to do the trip as cheaply as possible. Try checking https://www.skyscanner.com/ for flights; they’re excellent for price searching. Hostels or staying with friends, making your own meals instead of eating out and using public transportation are all things to consider if you’re on a tight budget.
While backpacking can be fun, if you want to travel with a bit more comfort, there are mid-range options. Look into renting a place in the area, using credit card points for flights ( you’ll have time to accumulate points if you plan in advance), and splurging for one or two big activities. Stick to self-guided tours and less expensive options for the rest.
If you are lucky enough to afford to travel in luxury and style, then by all means, do so! There’s not a lot of guidelines for this sort of planning. You just need to pick what you want to do and where you’d like to stay, keeping in mind your vision and reason for the trip. And even if you can afford to stay anywhere and pay for any activities, a budget is always a good idea. This way you keep track of your expenses and where your money is going.
So there you have it – your guide to intentional travel. As you plan, keep in mind traveling with purpose is a whole different mindset, but you can start right now. Begin brainstorming locations and experiences and take time to research. Please remember to always be a respectful traveler. Try to blend in with the locals, ask questions, learn and make new friends. Have a safe and memorable vacation!