I am home from our European adventure and still struggling to get back into everyday life. This trip was one of our best! We had wonderful local guides in each city and it was a treat to enjoy the sights through their eyes. It was also one of our most intentional trips and we were able to be more present.
To make trips more meaningful, we like to practice what we call "intentional travel". Travel can be amazing and inspiring and transforming but it can also go by quickly without sinking in. I have done both over-planning and under-planning and there is a balance.
1. Prioritize it. Greg and I sometimes choose travel as a priority in our lives. That means carving out the time, energy and money to make it happen. We have a savings account for weekend getaways and also for a longer trip every 18 months or so. We know we'll be able to afford these trips as we transfer money in every month. Some of our travel planning starts years in advance, some kind of comes to us and we stay open to it.
2. Set intentions. We like to set goals and intentions around our priorities and we also do so for travel. When a trip is coming up, we think about how we want it to go. This helps us focus on the important things—being grateful for the opportunity and remembering how important connection is. For this trip, we both had loose work goals and growth/inspiration goals. We set the intentions in advance (usually during our quarterly planning) but review them on the trip out!
3. Plan a little bit. We try to find a balance between planning some structure while also leaving room for awesome to happen. It helps to have a few things figured out so it's easier to be present while there. We like to plan places to stay and a few activities that we might want to do, then try to let the schedule and inspiration flow. When possible, it's great to have someone local to meet up with. Before we leave, I also like to check out travel guides from bloggers or friends. On this trip, we referred to a few, including this one for Bruges and this one for Stockholm.
4. Pack easily. Travel is easier if you think you have everything you’ll need while not being weighed down. Try Lean Packing!
5. Maintain habits and priorities. It's easy to be influenced by adventures, which can be great, but not when it causes you to lose hold of who you are and what matters to you. One way to stay grounded is to keep to some routine. It can help with self-control and better decision-making. For this trip, we weren't able to easily stick to our whole morning routine... although I did stretch! Instead, we shifted to a shortened evening routine taking advantage of the nice bathtubs. You will fall out of routine and that's okay, even welcome sometimes, but try to find a way to do a little... it will reground you. (More on How to Keep Habits Going During Travel from zenhabits.net.)
Do you guys do anything that helps you enjoy travel more?
+ To finish off this month of posts on traveling, I'm working on a few city guides from our trip!