Lately, I’ve been taking inventory of my bad travel habits. Most of them relate to all of the digital distractions that permeate life. I find myself looking down at my phone when I used to look out the window. Instead of eating my meal, I photograph it. And every scene in Instagram Husband is all too familiar to me. If you find yourself in the same boat, here are five of my favorite ways to stay present while traveling. For more tips on living in the moment read my article on the Expedia Viewfinder blog.
Rise with the sun
There is something very grounding about waking up with the sun. It gives you energy and inspiration to make the most of your day. Especially when I’m at a beach destination, I usually grab a towel or yoga mat and set it up on the beach for a short yoga practice. The sound of the waves and the heat of the rising sun are the most perfect alarm clock.
Ditch your phone at meal time
Meal time should be a sacred time when you and your family or friends eat, drink, and make memories. It’s not a time to check emails or to Snapchat every course, even though I’ve been guilty of both. The best way to avoid the temptation of your phone is to turn off notifications and keep it stashed away in your bag or pocket. It’s helpful to set some boundaries with the friends before you even arrive at dinner to make sure everyone is on board with your “social media–free supper.”
Seek out serenity at airports and hotels
San Francisco, Dallas-Fort Worth, and Raleigh-Durham airports all have meditation or yoga rooms for quiet reflection. These Zen retreats are also becoming popular at hotels, so take advantage of the serene spaces to re-center and ensure that you stay present while traveling, whether for business or pleasure.
Get back to nature
Whether you take a hike in the mountains, go zip-lining in the jungle, or dive at a shipwreck, being surrounded by nature is one of the best ways to appreciate the present. Even if you are traveling to a city, you can always find an urban park to explore or a botanical garden to enjoy.
Meditation is a powerful tool. It helps calm the mind and make the noise around you disappear. On YouTube, you will find hundreds of 10-minute meditations that you can do right when you wake up, or anywhere, really.