Everyone loves to travel, but to really ‘be there,’ the only way to do it is to do it mindfully. Russell Eric Dobda, author of How To Spin the World Around: With Cheap Travel, Technology and Mindfulness gives you these tips to go deep on the cheap during your next vacation.
1. Set Intentions: How better to know if you’ve succeeded in your travel dream than to state your dream? Setting intentions and writing them on paper is the best way to manifest them. Maybe your dream is to go around the world. Maybe it’s just to get out of town. My travel intentions are often just ‘nature’ and ‘culture.’ Set intentions, and then use your awareness so that when the universe presents an opportunity, you can seize it with action.
2. Bring an Attitude of Gratitude: Even with the best intentions, sometimes the universe has other itinerary ideas. When things don’t go as planned, don’t dwell on this; instead, focus on the positive. Make a list of all the things for which you have to be grateful in any moment, and you will uncannily see your list grow. This will put you back in great spirits – the kind you have when you are on vacation.
3. Pack Light: Your possessions can possess you, especially if you are traveling a great distance. Take less than half of what you think you’ll need, and consider sink-washable undergarments to save time at the Laundromat.
4. Be Smart with Your Smartphone: A smartphone can be your greatest ally in travel. It makes tour books obsolete; it’s an all-in-one camera; it’s a great tool to find cheap airfare online; and it can connect you to social networks of new friends and hosts abroad. That said, don’t get too caught up looking into the tiny screen when there’s so much to see around you.
5. Get Comfy Out of your Comfort Zone: A big reason to travel is to break free from your normal routine. Don’t take yourself too seriously, and don't be afraid to laugh at yourself when you’re totally out of place. Remember that you are the foreigner when abroad, but embrace this as an opportunity to learn a different way of living.
6. Live Like A Local: If you can stay with locals using a tool like Couchsurfing, you will always have the inside scoop. Locals will not only show you the customs – how to greet, how to eat, and how to interact – but they will also know the cheapest places to eat, and all the spots where the locals hang out.
7. Connect At Your Connections: If you are traveling by air, consider multiple one-way flights instead of round-trip tickets. The price is often similar, but more importantly, it gives you the opportunity to add more destinations and even stay longer at places that might otherwise only be an hour layover.
8. Be With Who You Are With: If you are traveling alone, instead of being lonely, use alone time to get to know yourself with meditation. If you want to meet new people, set the intention. If you are traveling with a friend or group, don’t get too annoyed with each other; you will soon look back with fondness.
9. Your Thoughts Are Broadcast Transmissions: It’s ok to be nervous, but if you are afraid to walk the streets at night, you should probably stay in that night. On the other hand, if you are seeking something particular during your travels, chances are good that you will find it just by broadcasting your intention. Beware that your thoughts are things. Use this to your advantage instead of disadvantage. This is another reason for gratitude.
10. Journal: Keep a journal on your travels. Knowing you will write about your day will enhance your perception of it, and it will also help you remember because the act of writing etches it in your brain, as well as on paper. I even use journaling as an opportunity to write my future – in the past tense.
Written by Russell Eric Dobda. To become a travel expert, Russell traveled around the world for a year, staying with locals in every city and averaging under $100 per leg across 38 one-way flights. He lives in Austin, Texas, but wrote this article during a trip to Anchorage, Alaska. A certified yoga instructor, Russell writes guided meditations with spoken word and sound healing technologies in a project called Guided Meditation Treks. You can find more travel tips at his website, Spin the World Around.
Image via Adam Bautz