Whether planning a family road trip or a month-long trek through Europe, sometimes less is more. Slowing down and lingering can make your travel more memorable and enjoyable. Learning to see travel as an experience rather than a checklist will open your heart and change you in unexpected ways.
Open Your Heart to Change
In the first Wanderlust Wednesday, I shared how Jer and I became hooked on travel after getting married in Hawaii. We love to learn, explore and be active. Travel satisfies all three and much more.
Top Benefits of Travel
- Grow your knowledge and become well-rounded.
- Inspire creative thinking and problem solving.
- Connect with different cultures and languages.
- Expand self-awareness.
- Reduce ignorance by learning to look at situations from a different perspective.
- Increase self-worth and confidence.
- Learn to embrace change by confronting fear and leaving your comfort zone.
- Deepen your relationship with your spouse or travel partner.
- Slow down and become more balanced.
- Open yourself up to experience hope and joy.
Learning to Linger
Before airplanes and cruise ships, travel was a journey. Today, travel agents sell packages that allow you to see three countries in 10 days. While I appreciate modern travel conveniences, I am in love with the idea of lingering.
Lingering is slowing down and getting to know the heart of the place you are visiting. It allows you to experience the real people and culture. You will cherish the opportunity to become a part of your destination, allowing you to carry it with you wherever you go.
When visiting a new place, it’s tempting to try to see as much as possible. When you are in the midst of it however, it begins to feel like you are just checking things off your list. At the end of your trip, you are in desperate need of a vacation.
Tips to Practice the Art of Lingering
- Leave one day per week free of plans.
- Use an open itinerary. Make a list of everything you would like to see, but don’t schedule until the night before.
- Plan one extra night per location. I typically impose a four-night minimum.
- Take longer trips, extend a week to 10 days.
- Maximize weekends and holidays. Leave on Friday night, return on a Sunday night. Plan trips around holidays, especially Labor Day if you’re child free.
- Make travel between locations painless. Plan to take off and arrive at reasonable times. Allow enough time to stop along the way.
- Look for vacation rentals in lieu of hotels and resorts.
- Do your research ahead of time.
- Don’t follow the crowd.
- Pack less for maximum flexibility.
Lingering on The Road to Hana
If you have been to the island of Maui, you know that one of the most popular activities is driving the Road to Hana. Most visitors get up early to drive the three-hour, 75-mile one-way trip, breezing through as many stops as possible along the way.
Realizing we only had 11 hours of daylight and over six hours of drive time, we opted to stay two nights in Hana. Looking back, this is a situation where I wish I would have applied the plan for extra night rule. However, the place we stayed was gross, so I have no regrets. I found a cockroach the size of my thumb crawling up my leg one morning.
All cockroach nastiness aside, the experience was amazing! We were able to begin and end our travel at a reasonable hour. We experienced lighter traffic since we weren’t following the crowd. We took long hikes, relaxed on the beach and stopped for Happy Hour.
Here’s What We Saw
When you’re planning your next trip, remember that travel is more than a checklist. Slow down and take the time to linger. You’ll be glad you did.
When you travel, do you usually rush to see everything, spend your time relaxing, or a balance of the two?
When have you intentionally slowed down while traveling?
What did that allow you to experience?
What other tips would you add?