You’ve researched your destination, planned all the sights you want to see, where you want to eat and what kind of experiences you want to have. But are your travel plans helping you get the most out of your trip?
There’s one simple habit that can transform your next trip: setting travel intentions.
Why set a travel intention
When you travel with intention, you’re able to make better decisions about how you spend your time. You’re more mindful of what will lead to more fulfilling experiences and result in meaningful memories that you’ll cherish forever.
Setting travel intentions also relieves the pressure to do and see every tourist attraction so you can focus on what aligns with your true desires.
One tip: Don’t confuse an intention with goals or a bucket list. An intention isn’t a specific thing to achieve, it’s a mindset. It’s a lens through which you view your trip that sets a framework for how you want to be and what you want to experience while away.
Examples of travel intentions
Traveling to connect deeply // This might be your travel intention if you’re feeling disconnected from yourself or your loved ones, or want to foster a connection with new people or locals. With connection as your guideline, you might choose to keep a relaxed schedule where you’re more open to conversation or spend a lot of time wandering on your own.
Traveling to immerse in a culture // So you want to deep dive into a culture? This intention could guide you toward an itinerary of cooking, art or language classes. It could also look like booking an Airbnb in a residential neighborhood instead of a hotel in a tourist-centric area.
Traveling to spark creativity // If your intention is to get out of a rut and feel creative and inspired again, maybe you frame your travels around meeting local people, attending an event, visiting unique shops or taking photo tours.
Traveling to rejuvenate // Perhaps you’re traveling to relax completely and hit reset on your mind, body
Traveling sustainably // If becoming a more eco-friendly and socially conscious traveler is important to you (hopefully it is!) then you’d skip activities that exploit animals or the local communities and find ways to support them instead. Or perhaps you decide you want to travel by train instead of plane, reducing carbon emissions and enjoying a more scenic route at the same time.
Travel intention setting prompts
If you’re not sure how to start setting a travel intention, use these questions to get the juices flowing. Once you’ve thought about these answers, you’ll have a better idea of how you want to experience your trip that will be fulfilling beyond the bucket list.
How do you want to feel during this trip?
What do you want to learn about yourself and/or the world?
What personal habits or self-care do you want to focus on during this trip?
How will you challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone?
What (mental) baggage can you leave at home?