Travel with all 5 of your senses.
I want to encourage you to think about your trip using all your senses and not just your eyes – a great trip should be a feast for all the senses as well as the eyes.
When we go on holidays we all want to see certain places, sites and things.
But think about your trip in a slightly different way, using all your senses, and create a real picture in your mind:
Not just “the sights” and “the sites”, but what culture do you want to immerse yourself in? What are the colours and the scenery you are going to surround yourself in? Is it green scenery you want to see? The blue of the ocean? What do you want to see when you look out your window of a morning?
Personally, I like looking out at water, so always try and include a water view room (either overlooking a lake or river or the sea) on every trip. Even though it costs a little more for a view, it is something I genuinely love, and I will save by staying in cheaper rooms elsewhere so I can afford a water view when I have the opportunity.
When you are on your best ever trip what are the sounds you are hearing? Church bells? Waves? Birds? Silence? The hustle and bustle and car horns of a big city? The hubbub of market stall holders?
Seek out destinations and activities that will help you achieve this. I like big cities, but also love rural Europe, so try and combine a mixture of big city bustle with rural idylls on all my trips.
Taste is more than just food, although obviously food is an important part of this. As well as thinking about the type of food you want to taste, what is your taste in hobbies, sports and other personal interests? Do you love cooking, gardening, sailing, arts and crafts, and how can you incorporate your own personal tastes on your trip to make it really special?
For me a trip to France is not complete without a plate of duck confit (duck cooked twice in its own fat), and I will make sure I eat it once while I am there.
I also have an interest in embroidery and other types of handicrafts so textiles in museums and handicraft shops really add to my trip. While I always make sure I see the “must sees” in any place I visit, indulging my own personal tastes and interests is what really makes my trip.
Smell can be one of the most evocative of the senses in planning your trip. What are the food smells you want to experience – heady spices, garlic, fresh bread baking? Do you want to smell the sea, flowers, fresh air or the scent of humanity?
How do you want to feel on your trip? A great trip should evoke all sorts of feelings – relaxed, energized, spoilt/indulged, peaceful, spiritual, connected, rested, romantic, or even wrecked and in need of another holiday.
I would argue that a truly great trip can do all of this, regardless of where you go and how much you spend. What are the places, faces and activities that will give you theses feelings? Whether it is hiking in the mountains, fasting at a yoga retreat, or shopping up a storm in a big city, name what it is that you need to do to feel that way!
Now that you have that picture in your mind, plan your itinerary and how you are going to travel in accordance with that picture. Then think, what are the things that aren’t part of your picture – lugging a heavy bag, getting sore feet, washing and ironing (and anything else you don’t want on your trip), and what do you need to make sure they don’t become part of your trip reality?
Your trip picture is your blueprint for your trip, so make sure you use it and follow it faithfully to have the trip you really want to make every trip your best trip ever!