People love to travel. In fact, in 2018, there were 1.4 billion international arrivals around the world — and that doesn’t even account for domestic travel.
There are countless reasons that keep people moving from one place to the next. Sometimes it’s work. At other times, it’s pleasure. Sometimes, it can even be for health.
Travel is known to provide a variety of mental health benefits, from combatting stress to improving creativity to providing a mental “reset.” It doesn’t matter if you’re paying a visit to a neighboring town or heading half a world away — the ability to rest, relax, and gain some new perspective through travel is profound.
In this guide, we’ll break down a few of the different ways that you can steer into your travels to free your mind, enhance your health, and personally enrich your life.
Look Up Local History
Studying local history is a great way to deepen your experience when visiting a location.
Superficial vacations are all well and good if you’re looking for a brief opportunity to unplug and unwind. However, if you want your investment in travel to also help enrich your life, it’s wise to peek under the surface, as well, to see how each vacation location came into existence.
For instance, if you’re visiting Las Vegas, everyone will want to hit up the Strip, as it is iconic and full of things to do. However, if you do a little digging, you can also find unconventional things to do on the Strip beyond riding the LINQ or catching a magic show. For example, you might visit the Van Gogh Exhibit, look for flamingo wildlife or stroll through the beautiful Bellagio’s Conservatory & Botanical Garden.
Go Off the Beaten Path
It’s tempting to “follow the leader” when it comes to vacations. Researching a location will quickly show you the same things that all of the other tourists and travelers have done before you.
While this can lead to plenty of fun, if you’re in search of something more enriching, consider occasionally wandering off of the beaten path as well. Start by locating local hotspots. Once you know where everyone gathers, you can begin to look for things outside of that sphere of influence.
This could be a restaurant recommended by a local. It could also be a hiking trail or a public park. By looking for the less-visited places, you can take in some of the beauty without the constant bustle of tourism taking place around you.
It’s tempting to always find someone to accompany you on your travels, such as friends and family. However, traveling alone can also provide a powerful sense of purpose and self-discovery.
Alone time can be excellent for your mental health, as it allows room for personal discovery and an opportunity to recharge. Along with these mental health benefits, going solo also is a very cost-effective way to travel, and may allow you to travel more often.
Safety Tips for Traveling Alone
If you do travel alone, it’s important to do so thoughtfully. Make sure that you:
- Let others know when and where you’ll be going
- Secure any valuable items in a safe place
- Use common sense with every decision that you make
- Research each location that you visit to make sure you avoid known dangers
Traveling alone is a powerful way to mentally recharge. Just make sure you’re doing it thoughtfully.
Keep a Trip Journal
Taking the time to journal may feel unnecessary, especially when you want every minute of your traveling time to spend on new adventures. However, if you’re interested in using your travels to personally enrich your life, taking the time to record important events can have a big effect on those efforts.
Journaling is known for its many mental health benefits. It can help you track progress and personal growth. It can help you process experiences and gain confidence.
Journaling can reduce stress and help you feel inspired. It can even help your memory — an important point when you’re traveling and experiencing new things.
Be Open To Meeting Other Travelers
Going to new places and meeting new people are the two best parts of traveling, so whether you’re adventuring solo or with friends and family, make sure you’re open to meeting locals and other travelers alike.
If you’re uncomfortable meeting others, you can exercise your social skills by choosing locations that are used specifically for socialization, such as a well-known club or sports bar. You might even try booking your trip so that you are in closer proximity to higher volumes of people — a hotel on the Las Vegas Strip would be abuzz with exciting personalities, for example, and you’re sure to meet interesting characters relaxing at one of the pools attached to these hotels.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone
Finally, if you want to experience personal growth through your travels, take the time to get out of your comfort zone. This means you need to actively look for situations that challenge and stretch you.
If you’re afraid of heights, go on a hike up a nearby mountain. If you don’t like new foods, try the local cuisine. By pushing your limits, you can help round out who you are as a person. In essence, you leave your comfort zone and enter your “growth zone.”
As you do so, make sure to stay safe and make sure you know your limits, too. Getting out of your comfort zone doesn’t have to mean scaring yourself silly. Instead, look for activities that can push you to grow and memorably experience new things.