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I think most of us would agree that vacations seem to go by way too fast. As the old saying goes, “time flies when you’re having fun”.

But how can you make sure your vacations are indeed enjoyable and even more importantly, memorable?

After many years of continuous travel, I have found there are a number of effective ways you can ensure your travel memories will stay with you for the rest of your life.

And it’s important to note that a trip can be memorable for wrong reasons as well, so let’s just focus on ways you can enjoy positive travel experiences that will bring back many memorable moments.

4 Ways to Make Your Next Vacation Memorable

Planning is Crucial

Travel agent RF

Winston Churchill once said “He (or she) who fails to plan is planning to fail.”

This is especially true if you want to ensure enjoyable travel. There are so many things that can and often do go wrong when traveling, so it’s vital to be prepared for anything and always have a backup plan.

Planning well in advance allows you set a travel budget and craft an itinerary that will allow you to experience all you wish to within your means. Research and careful planning often results in saving money on travel and avoiding disappointment from unexpected hiccups.

Whether you’re thinking of searching online for tickets on sale to catch Ed Sheeran live in concert in London or the Hamilton musical in New York, securing your tickets early means you won’t find yourself without a seat when you arrive.

Make certain to choose the right time to travel to your ideal travel destination so you can be sure to experience everything that lured you to the country in the first place. Some attractions may not be available or way too overcrowded/expensive to be enjoyable during certain times of the year.

Pro tip: If you can’t adjust your travel dates and your first choice of travel destination is proving to be a struggle during the planning stage, it’s probably best to select a different destination that would be a better fit.

You may also wish to consider finding a new destination to travel to since visiting places you are unfamiliar with leads to greater adventure and excitement. Just be sure to thoroughly research new destinations so you know what to expect and ensure they match your travel style.

Lastly, be sure to stick within your set travel budget to avoid running up debt you may struggle to pay off. While going beyond your means in regards to travel experiences may be fun at the time, it can later result in you feeling resentment that you took the trip if paying for it causes a lot of stress upon your return. That resentment can easily overpower any memorable moments the trip provided you with.

Step Outside Your Comfort Zone

Teide National Park Tenerife Canary Islands Spain Hiking Female Traveler RF

One of the main reasons most of us love to travel is the fact it gives us the chance to break free from our sometimes monotonous daily lives. It’s ironic then that so many travelers tend to still stick with a routine that is similar to the one they live back at home.

Our daily lives aren’t all that memorable outside of big events like birthdays or annual holidays, so why try to replicate our mundane days while traveling.

Stepping outside of your comfort zone and breaking your routines and habits will go a long way to ensuring your vacation stands out and is truly memorable.

Travel is a good time to sample new foods, engage in new activities, and get over any fears you may have. Conquering a fear is always memorable and the adrenaline that travel often gives you may be enough to give you the extra courage to overcome your phobias.

Travel has the ability to bring out new hobbies you never thought you’d enjoy and can even unearth hidden talents you never knew you had. So try sleeping under stars if you’ve never camped, engage in sports or active experiences if you have a desk job, and be spontaneous while still being careful and safe.

Switch Off Your Gadgets and Live in the Moment

Thailand SE Asia female traveler RF

While I’m not saying leaving your phone and laptop at home while traveling, since they can prove to be quite useful, try to limit the amount of screen time.

We can get so absorbed by looking up things on Google and researching where to go and what to see that we can fail to observe, hear, and smell the things that are going on around us when we travel.

The goal when traveling is to live in the moment as much as possible. Being present will allow you to engage all your senses and make your travel memories more vivid and almost tangible when you later recall them.

Many studies have proven that our addiction to digital devices brings about many unhealthy habits, so treating your vacation like a digital detox is a great way to rebalance your life. When traveling with family or friends, logging-off allows you to better connect with one another and restrengthens bonds.

Feel free to use your phone to capture memorable travel moments but be sure to not spend too much time behind the lens. We don’t give our minds enough credit, but they are quite skilled at capturing memorable moments we can later recall.

Pro tip: It’s a good idea to reflect at the end of each day of your travels and maybe jot down the important experiences you had in a journal to help you recall your trips at a later date.

Learn to slow down your travel pace and realize that you don’t need to do everything the guidebooks say are a must see or do.

Be sure to also express gratitude, being thankful for the opportunity to travel which many people don’t get. The more you can learn to appreciate your travels, the more memorable your trips will be.

You should also give yourself a bit of self-praise for having the courage to travel and experience new things, while also congratulating any efforts you made to make your trip a reality.

Engage with the Locals and Embrace the Culture

Jilin China

Traveling often means being introduced to new ideas and ways of life. It’s important to not judge other cultures but instead embrace foreign cultures and open your mind up.

We can often come to new realizations while traveling which can help us to better understand world issues. This new knowledge can therefore make us a more well-rounded person.

It is often the people we meet who prove to be the most memorable aspects of our travels. I for instance can name a large number of people I met while traveling despite maybe only having spent a few hours with them.

Also read: Traveling is also how I met my now husband whom I had only spent less than a day with in Africa before embarking on what would become a successful long distance relationship.

When you learn to socialize with new people while on vacation, you can also discover hidden secrets. Locals often have some of the best ideas for what to experience which is often missing in the guidebooks.

Feel free to be yourself and share a bit of your culture as well with locals, while making sure to be respectful of any differences.

Giving back to the places we travel to is also important and it is often those times when we help others which are memorable. Research has actually proven we tend to get more satisfaction from giving than receiving. I bet you can better recall more times you helped others than times you received help.

These are some of the top ways you can ensure your travel memories are more positive and memorable.

Try incorporating just one or all of these into your next trip to see if these recommendations make a difference in your travel experiences.


Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 50+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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