5 Critical Steps To Improve Your Travel
Posted on September 26th, 2012
This summer I went on a vacation trip to Vienna and Barcelona. This was my first trip to Europe and I decided to make it different from all my of my previous travel experiences. By making a few simple changes, I was able to double the joy of my vacation.
1. Leave your computer behind
Although a 13-inch Macbook Air is a very compact laptop, I decided that I really did not need to have a computer on this trip. I wanted to have a break from technology for just a little while. I knew that if I would have my laptop with me, I would be exposed to the convenience of browsing the Internet. Instead of relying on my discipline, I got rid of the tempting stimuli to get connected.
2. Long flights are the best opportunities for reading
Instead of my laptop I spent most of my time with my Kindle Touch. The long flights from Canada to Austria to Barcelona and back to Canada turned into some of the most productive reading experiences I have ever had. I was able to read a number of articles and almost two books by Malcolm Gladwell:
Not only did I read the books on the plane and at the airports, but I was also able to do some reading 30 minutes before sleep. Overall, I felt that I’ve made the best use of my idle time.
3. The iPhone is the best camera and a travel guide
I believe that the best camera is the one that you have with you. I don’t have a dedicated camera for my family photos because I simply wouldn’t use one that often if I had one. The iPhone is the only camera I have and the only camera I need. It is almost always with me and once you learn how to make the best use of it, you will be very satisfied with the photos and the videos that you get.
Before I travelling to Vienna and Barcelona, I had to do a lot of research about the places that I wanted to visit. I had to research the top places to visit, save them somewhere so that they could be accessible to me offline, and organize them in a meaningful geographical way. I first tried to use Evernote and Springpad to organize both of my trips but even though I got to the point where I could see the top places I want to visit, I was not sure how to organize them by distance and location.
I looked at a number of travel apps for the iPhone and found what I think an amazing app - mTrip Travel Guides. This app made my Eurotrip much easier and more automated. Instead of worrying about what to see and where to go next, I was able to navigate both cities using my iPhone and the best thing about this app is that everything that you need is available to you offline.
There was one more thing that I did on my iPhone. Because it was the only device that could give me easy access to my email and Twitter, I deleted the Twitter app and moved the mail app to the second screen into a folder. Make unproductive things inconvenient for you to do. I also set an autoresponder and did not check my email during most of my trip.
Adam Boettiger, online marketing expert and author of Digital Ocean, recommends taking “cyber-vacations”. “Every six months I take seven days to two weeks when I disconnect completely from the net and work with just a phone and voice-mail,” he says. “The whole idea is to unplug completely: it gets very stressful sucking on the information fire-hose the whole time.” 1
4 Mindful observation of the environment
Mindfulness involves purposely paying attention to whatever is happening at the moment and fully appreciating the experience. Even though my attention was often all over the place, I took the effort to remind myself to slow down and fully appreciate the beauty of the architecture, the culture, the people, and the overall environment that I was in. If you want to have a better memory about something, you should pay more attention to begin with.
5. Journaling and introspection
At the end of every day I made a few notes in my DayOne journaling app about the experiences that I had as well as the ideas that came to my mind. For example, one evening I saw how people in Vienna get together on the street to dance Tango. This a free event that happens every night and anyone can come and just start dancing. It was beautiful and inspiring. This motivated me to come back to Toronto and start taking ballroom dancing classes again.
When you travel to new places and meet new people, you may often get new ideas or reframe some problems that you may have. Writing down your thoughts and ideas can be very therapeutic as well as productive.
Questions or comments? Send me an email