After Travel: 15 Tips for When Your Vacation is Over

What can you do after travel when the adventure concludes and your vacation is over? Coming home after traveling, especially from abroad, can leave you feeling disoriented. The sites you’ve seen, the people you’ve met, and the self-discoveries you’ve made can be hard to integrate as you re-enter the rhythm of daily life post vacation.

As a seasoned traveler and travel coach, I’ve supported others and also encountered firsthand the challenges of returning from a trip. The tips I’m about to share are important travel skills and will help you make the most of this transition.

They will allow you to reduce the post trip stress and slump while finding inspiring ways to preserve the memories of your trip. You will also find many tips to integrate the growth you experienced, thereby using your journey as a catalyst for further personal development. Read on for strategies to enhance your return from vacation.

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

1. Reflect and Journal When Your Vacation is Over

Dedicate time to reflect on your travels. Journaling is an effective way to process the emotions and thoughts you’re experiencing, aiding in understanding how your trip has contributed to your personal development. Document the places you visited, the individuals you encountered, and the challenges you overcame. 

If journaling isn’t your thing, consider meditation or conversations with loved ones. Reflecting on your journey in a travel memories book or journal can help crystallize the lessons learned and integrate them into your life. This practice can be pivotal in mitigating common feelings of anxiety after vacation and helping you adapt to life post-travel.

2. Care for Yourself After Travel

If you are able, try to give yourself a day after vacation (or more!) to rest before you return to your regular responsibilities. Make a plan to care for yourself upon return. This could mean ordering healthy groceries on your last day of vacation to be delivered upon your arrival back home. It can also include ensuring you catch up on rest to combat any jet lag, and keeping up with all of the walking you’ve been doing on your trip. If you get sick, especially with a fever, check in with your doctor and mention your travel destinations. 

3. Be Aware of the Post Travel Slump 

Many people experience sadness and fatigue after travel. This article is filled with suggestions that can help lessen mild post vacation blues.

If you are experiencing symptoms of post travel depression, seek help from professionals or call the SAMHSA hotline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357) for support getting connected. Depression manifests differently in everyone, you can learn more about it here.

4. Set Intentions for Your First Week Home

Craft a plan for your first week back, tackling any responsibilities that have accumulated in your absence. Read your emails from most recent backwards and delete as you go. Check in with your housemates (or your co-workers when you are going back to work after vacation) to see what you missed.

Create a to-do list, then delegate and pay for help if you are able to.  Many people prefer to clean the house, pay bills, and deal with anticipated responsibilities, before departure so that they travel back home to fewer stressors. This proactive approach can alleviate the stress of returning to work after vacation and help smooth out your transition.

5. Organize and Display Your Photos

In today’s digital world, we often return from vacations with hundreds of photos. Take the time to organize these memories of travel. Sift through them and create an album or a digital photo book. Such activities not only help in retaining the essence of your travels but also serve as a remedy for post-travel depression.

Consider sharing them on social media or creating a shared folder with your travel companions. Digital photo frames are an excellent choice for easily displaying them in your home and being reminded of your memories every day. Alternatively, frame and hang some of your favorites.

6. Embrace Your Souvenirs When You are Back From Vacation

Integrating souvenirs into your daily life can serve as a constant reminder of your travel memories. These beautiful memories can serve as daily reminders of your experiences and the insights gained. Whether it’s through wearing a piece of jewelry you bought or displaying artwork you fell in love with, these items keep the spirit of your adventure alive in your home.

7. Host a Post Trip Cultural Evening

Hosting an event to share tales and lessons from your travels can rekindle the joy of your journey and spread the insights you’ve gained. Organize a cultural evening for friends and family where you share stories from your trip, show your photos, and maybe even cook a dish and play music from one of the places you visited. This not only allows you to relive your journey but also spreads the joy and knowledge you’ve gained, bridging gaps between cultures and fostering understanding.

8. Connect with Fellow Travelers

Engaging with like-minded individuals who share your passion for exploration can provide a sense of community and support as you navigate post-vacation feelings. Sharing your experiences with others who have similar interests can be incredibly fulfilling.

Look for travel forums, social media groups, or local meetups where you can share stories, photos, and tips with fellow travelers. You might even find language learning, cooking, or dance classes that you can attend locally. These connections can offer new perspectives on your experiences and provide inspiration for future adventures.

9. Incorporate New Routines After Travel

Travel often exposes us to new lifestyles and routines. Upon returning, consider incorporating aspects of these into your daily life. Whether it’s adopting a more relaxed approach to your schedule, integrating a new food habit, spending more time in nature, or committing to more environmentally sustainable practices, these small changes can make a big impact after you’ve returned.

10. Reevaluate Your Goals and Aspirations Post Travel

A transformative trip can shift your perspective on what’s important. Post-trip, take this opportunity to reevaluate your personal and professional goals. Are you where you want to be? Do your current aspirations reflect your transformed outlook? Adjusting your goals to align with your new insights can set you on a path that is more authentic and fulfilling.

11. Keep the Curiosity Alive After a Trip

​​Maintain your connection to the places you’ve visited by engaging with related cultural activities or continuing to learn about them. This can be a source of ongoing inspiration and learning.After your visit you will never think of the destination in the same way. 

Keep your curiosity growing about it by going to local cultural festivals near your hometown, read about it, watch films and documentaries, listen to local music, play games inspired by it, and more. You will find many ideas throughout the Trip Scholars website and a step-by-step fun and easy to use guide here: The Curious Traveler’s 5 Step Guide to More Meaningful Trips.

12. Discover Your Local Area

You don’t need to travel far to explore. Become a traveler in your own city or region. Visit museums, parks, or new restaurants you’ve never been to before. Exploring locally can satisfy the yearning to travel and remind you that adventure doesn’t always require a passport.

13. Align Your Values with Action

If your travels inspired a shift in your values or desire to act on them more intentionally, be open to change. If you are motivated to help others or work on behalf of the environment, look for ways to contribute. Volunteering for organizations or causes that resonate with your travel experiences can be a way to keep the spirit of discovery and connection alive.

14. Plan Your Next Adventure

Finally, allow yourself to dream about your next destination. Many people find that having another trip planned before one ends can help with the well recognized experience post-trip blues. If you use the ideas throughout the Trip Scholars website, you will find interesting and enriching opportunities to learn about your next destination for months or years before you depart, building up your excitement and anticipation of your next trip.

After Trip Resources

Navigating the Return from Travel

Returning from an enriching trip marks not the end, but the beginning of a new chapter. By taking steps to reflect, share, and integrate your experiences, you can extend the impact of your travels far beyond the time spent away. Embrace the changes inspired by your adventures, and let them guide you toward a more fulfilled, adventurous, and connected life. What are your favorite things to do after a trip? Let us know in the comments, we would love to learn from you!

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15 Essential Travel Skills: Learn to Travel Like a Pro

If you are ready to get the most from your travels, here are fifteen essential travel skills that will help you learn to travel like a pro. This guide will help you become a more savvy explorer. With the right travel skills, you can navigate the world with greater ease, connect more deeply with yourself and others, and make the most of every adventure.

As a certified travel coach with extensive experience both on the road and in guiding others, I’ve curated a list of the best skills for traveling, drawn from personal adventures and comprehensive research. If you’re ready to learn to travel more effectively, reduce stress on the road, and have more meaningful experiences, let’s dive into the essential skills every traveler should cultivate.

1. Curiosity

An open mind, gratitude, and a smile are perhaps the most significant skills to develop for meaningful journeys. It’s all about traveling and learning, engaging with new cultures, and finding joy in discovery. Curiosity drives us to learn from traveling, turning each trip into a lesson in life and humanity.

Flamenco Performance in Madrid, Spain, photo by Trip Scholars

2. Flexibility

The ability to adapt to new situations and unexpected changes is crucial in travel. Surprises are part of the adventure and embracing flexibility means you can handle whatever comes your way with grace.

3. Choose the Best Destination

Your adventure begins with choosing where to go. Reflect on what you seek—culture, adventure, relaxation—and your deeper intentions for the trip. Learning about travel destinations can help inform your decisions, ensuring you pick the right spot for your aspirations.

Sunflowers at the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands, photo by Trip Scholars

4. Itinerary Planning

Once your destination is set, planning your itinerary is crucial. Research attractions, local customs, and your personal must-see sites. Balance is key – ensure you have a mix of activities, with ample downtime. Reflect back on your deeper intentions about your trip so that you craft a meaningful itinerary personal to you. Our step-by-step guide will have you planning your next trip like a pro.

5. Packing Like an Expert

Mastering the art of packing is essential. Learning what and how to pack ensures you’re prepared for your travels, focusing on both necessities and smart choices to make the most of your luggage space.

6. Language Basics

Communicating with locals enriches your travel experience. Our resources on learning new languages provide practical tips and tools, essential for any traveler aiming to immerse fully in new cultures. Learn how to travel with linguistic confidence, and connect on a deeper level wherever you go.

7. Budget Management

Learning how to allocate funds and find travel deals ensures your journey is both enjoyable and financially sustainable. Understanding how to create and follow your travel budget effectively allows you to enjoy your trip without financial stress. 

Train in Gyeonghwa Station, South Korea photo by Aaron90311 on CanvaPro
Train in Gyeonghwa Station, South Korea

8. Navigating Transportation

From local buses to international flights, understanding how to navigate transportation systems is a valuable skill. It grants you the freedom to explore confidently and immerse yourself in the local scene. 

Travel Insurance Master will compare the best travel insurance companies and options for your trip. Learn more here.

9. Health and Safety on the Road

Staying safe and healthy on a trip is paramount. Brainstorm a list of safety and health concerns before you leave and research potential solutions for each item. Look up local scams and safety issues. Consult with your medical team and any other professionals to come up with your personal plan to stay safe and healthy on your trip. Consider purchasing travel insurance.

Chihuly Garden and Glass, Seattle, Washington, USA, photo by Trip Scholars

10. Meaningful Sightseeing

Customize your sightseeing by focusing on what truly interests you and your personal reasons for travel. Learning to travel authentically might mean eschewing the typical tourist choices in favor of experiences that resonate with your curiosity and passions. Then come up with your own places you want to visit and get the best ideas to make the most of your visit. Find tips on visiting museums, UNESCO sites, literary sites, national parks, being your own tour guide and much more.

11. Cultural Etiquette

Understanding and respecting local customs and etiquette not only enriches your travel experience but also fosters mutual respect. It’s an important aspect of traveling skills, helping you navigate cultural interactions gracefully.

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park, Washington, USA, photo by Trip Scholars

12. Ethical Travel

Take time before you leave to consider how your travels can best align with your values. This might mean carefully researching voluntourism opportunities since some are valuable but others should be avoided. It could also mean considering your environmental footprint, avoiding unethical animal tourism experiences, and supporting local economies with spending intentionally with locals.

13. Connection

Whether you are traveling solo, with friends, as a couple, as a family, or as a multi-generational group, there are lots of things you can do to enhance your trip.Travel is as much about the people as the places you see. Connecting with your travel companions, fellow travelers, and locals can enrich your journey in unexpected ways.

Travel Landscape Photography Kristar Burton
Japanese Garden, Portland, Oregon, USA, photo by Kristar Burton from our Nature Travel Photography Interview

14. Capture Memories

Capturing memories, whether through photography, artwork, or writing is a valuable travel skill. Our nature travel photography article is designed to enhance your traveling skills. It’s one of the best skills for traveling, as it helps you preserve moments and share your experiences with the world. Reflecting on your experiences through writing can deepen your understanding and appreciation of the places you visit. Our guide on keeping a travel nature journal offers tips to get started, making it a valuable tool for traveling and learning.

15. Reach Long Term Travel Goals

Incorporating travel into your life more extensively may involve setting and reaching long-term goals. From creating travel vision boards to starting a travel-based business, there are myriad ways to make travel a core part of your existence.

Your Essential Travel Skills

Mastering these travel skills opens doors to deeper, more meaningful experiences. Whether you’re navigating a new city, connecting with locals, or soaking in the beauty of our planet, each skill enhances your journey, making every trip an opportunity for growth and discovery. As you start planning your next adventure, consider which skills you’re most excited to develop. Travel isn’t just about the destinations; it’s about the journey, the learning, and the transformation that occurs along the way. So, which skill are you excited to master next? Let us know in the comments, we’d love to hear from you!

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Travel Vision Board Ideas: Making Your Travel Dreams Come True

Are you looking for travel vision board ideas to help you transform your dreams into reality? Sometimes, trip planning is relatively easy and there is no need for extra motivation to make it happen. But often there are major obstacles between us and our hopes for travel.

As an experienced travel coach, I’ve witnessed firsthand the challenges people face in reaching their travel goals. Whether it is finding money and time for a family vacation, gaining the skills and knowledge needed for a first time solo trip, or making the transition to becoming a digital nomad or expat– life can easily get in the way of reaching our goals and prevent us from attaining them.

I’ve also seen the power of visualization and goal setting in helping individuals achieve their travel dreams. One technique that many prefer is the creation of a travel vision board. This method aligns your goals with images and words, helping to make those dream destinations and travel lifestyle choices a reality. 

In this guide, we’ll delve into travel vision boarding and explore some of the research on its effectiveness. Then we will offer practical steps to create your own board using different mediums. We will also look at alternative methods for visualizing travel dreams. And throughout the article, we will talk about ways to use these techniques to keep your travel aspirations front and center.

The Science Behind Travel Vision Boards

Vision boards work on the principle of visualization, a technique supported by research in the field of psychology and neuroscience. Visualization activates the same neural networks that actual task performance does, enhancing motivation, confidence, and performance. Translating this to travel vision boarding, by picturing our travel goals, we stimulate the same cognitive processes, making our aspirations more tangible and achievable.

There are additional studies that show vision boards help in the area of “value tagging.” Our brains are constantly evaluating the barrage of external stimulation and deciding what is important and deserves more attention. Creating a travel vision board and referencing it frequently can help your brain prioritize your travel goals.

Interestingly, there are studies that show visualization of reaching our goals, without visualizing the steps needed to get there, can actually hinder achieving them. So an essential step is creating a viable plan for reaching our travel dreams. Vision boards are only an early step in the process. Consider adding images of the intermediary steps to your vision board. For example, my husband and I are working towards living aboard a sailboat and traveling the world. So one of my personal visuals is picturing myself comfortably docking the boat in a slip– one of my fears that I am committed to working on repeatedly this summer!

Finally, it is important to remember that there are many things outside of our control and it is very harmful to assume that imperfect visualization skills cause poor health, social and economic inequality, and many other challenges that interfere with our travel goals. Travel goal visualization is simply a tool that can help us reach our dreams. But it can be a very helpful and enjoyable one, so let’s get started!

Photo by Cottonbro Studio

How to Make a Vision Board

The best way to make a vision board is to allow yourself to be visually inspired as you imagine your future. Humans are highly visual creatures and the old saying that a picture speaks a thousand words is true. Have fun with this creative process! 

Your board will be more helpful if you eventually have specific goals, such as “I will take my first solo trip to The Netherlands in the spring of 2025,”  instead of, “I will travel more.” But you might not know your specific goals at the beginning–  and that is completely fine! Be open to the process and know that it is changeable. Your vision board is a living document and will evolve over time. Also know that your vision board is yours, you can share it with others only if you choose to– so be brave and put your dreams out there. 

Vision Board Travel– Journal Prompts Before You Start

Before diving into the vision board, it’s helpful to reflect on your deeper hopes and intentions about your travel experiences. Here are some journal prompts to get you started:

1. What are the top places you want to see or return to? Describe what draws you to these places.

2. What do I want to gain from my travels (e.g., adventure, connection, learning, relaxation, cultural immersion)?

3. How do I want to feel during and after my travels?

4. What are my top three travel goals for the next year? Five years?

5. What steps will I need to take to reach those goals?

These prompts aim to clarify your travel intentions, serving as a foundation for your vision board. Spend time journaling, in self-reflection, and/or in conversation with trusted family or friends as you explore them. Consider working with a travel coach who will provide much deeper opportunities for self-reflection about your travel goals and support you in crafting a plan to reach them.

Travel Vision Board Ideas and Creation Steps

1. Physical Travel Vision Board

Materials Needed:

– A large poster board or cork board

– Travel vision board pictures: magazines, brochures, photographs, postcards, or printed images

– Push pins, Glue, or tape

– Markers or paint for annotations

Vision board clip art or scrapbooking supplies (Side note: my mom used to sell craft supplies so I have worked with hundreds of these fun additions to vision boards. Of course, if your house isn’t overflowing with craft supplies already, you would need to purchase these, but you could go in on some with a friend!)

Optional Travel Vision Board Supplies

Steps:

1. Reflect on your journal answers and begin collecting images that resonate with your travel goals.

2. Arrange these travel pictures for vision boards, grouping them in a way that makes sense to you—by dream destinations, experiences, or feelings.

3. Annotate with motivational quotes, travel goals, and dates to add context and agency.

4. Place your vision board somewhere you’ll see it daily, like your bedroom or workspace, to keep your travel aspirations top of mind.

2. Canva Travel Vision Board

A Canva vision board of the author’s about their plan to move full time aboard their sailboat to travel the world

Tools Needed

Free Canva account

Steps:

  1. Open Canva at canva.com
  2. Type “vision board” into search bar
  3. Choose a design you like
  4. Click “Customize this template”
  5. Click on any section of the template to personalize it
  6. Change the text to include aspirational words from your journal responses
  7. Change images by choosing “photos” from the sidebar
  8. Add your own photos by clicking on “uploads”
  9. When you are done click “share.” You can print it or email it to yourself and use it as a screensaver on your phone or computer

3. Pinterest Travel Vision Board

Tools Needed:

– A free Pinterest account

Steps:

1. Create a Pinterest board or multiple boards dedicated to your travel dreams.

2. Populate them with images, quotes, and anything that aligns with your travel goals.

3. Check out the Trip Scholars’ Pinterest Page for ideas to get started!

3. Regularly update it with new inspirations and achievements towards your travel goals.

4. Mind Map Travel Vision Board

Materials Needed:

– A large sheet of paper or digital drawing tool

– Pens, markers, or digital annotation tools

Steps:

1. Place your ultimate travel goal at the center of the map.

2. Branch out with lines connecting to different goals, destinations, and experiences that support your central aim.

3. Use colors, symbols, and images to categorize and prioritize your goals.

4. Add the steps needed to reach each of your goals.

5. Review and update regularly as your travel aspirations evolve.

Alternatives to Vision Boards

While vision boards are effective for many, alternatives like journaling and photography can also help you to manifest your travel dreams.

1. Photography

Visuals can stir emotions and intentions. Arrange your photographs that reflect your dream destinations or travel lifestyle. Let them be a constant source of inspiration around your home or workspace. Digital photo frames allow you to easily add to your collection. 

2. Screensavers

Transform your everyday digital devices into windows to your future adventures. We’ve already talked about them as a place to highlight your digital vision board. Additionally, a screensaver or background of a place you wish to visit can serve as a subtle, constant reminder of your goals.

3. Sticky Notes

Place sticky notes in strategic locations with reminders or motivational quotes about your travel aspirations. 

4. Calendars

Purchase or make a physical calendar to hang on the wall that will be a daily reminder of your travel goals. 

5. Home Decor

Yes, even a shower curtain can serve as a canvas for your dreams! Choose one with a map or iconic landmarks. Similarly, decorate your living space with elements that remind you of your travel goals.

6. Artwork

Dive into your travel dreams with whatever creative medium you prefer. Whether you paint, draw, craft, or use a digital medium, use it to build out your travel aspirations and then keep it up in your home. Alternatively, you can collect artwork made by others from the place you want to visit to keep your travel dreams present.

7. Travel Dream Journal

Document your dreams, plans, and the steps you’re taking to reach them. This can be a powerful tool for reflection and motivation.

8. Travel Coach

Work with a certified travel coach, such as myself. Trained travel coaches will provide you with useful resources and activities to help you reach your travel goals. They will also support you in staying accountable to yourself and your long term dreams when other responsibilities and daily needs can easily get in the way.

9. Include it in Your Lifestyle

Create playlists, watchlists, reading lists, as well as activities at home and in your local community to immerse you in the culture of your future destinations. At Trip Scholars, I have a free guide filled with activities to help you learn more and keep yourself inspired to reach your dreams. Grab your free copy here.

Incorporating these techniques into your daily routine can influence your mindset, gradually steering your life’s direction toward your travel goals. Remember, a key to a successful travel vision board, or any alternative method, lies in regular interaction and updates. As your dreams evolve, so should your vision board, keeping you aligned and motivated towards your ultimate travel experiences. The other important piece is using it as one part of your goal planning. That will be a topic of an upcoming post, so stay tuned!

Your Travel Vision Board

As a travel coach, I’m dedicated to helping others realize their travel ambitions. I hope this article provided you with some helpful ideas you can implement today. If you are interested in learning more about working with me, I offer free discovery calls and would be happy to get to hear about your travel dreams. Just click here to learn more.

Whether it’s through a traditional vision board, a digital collage, or one of the alternative techniques shared, the act of visualizing your travel goals is a useful step towards making them a reality. Start today, and let your vision board help motivate you to craft the travel lifestyle you are dreaming of!

Do you have questions about travel vision boarding or have you made one yourself? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

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Non-binary and Transgender Travel Guide

For trans and gender non-conforming individuals, the joy of traveling can come with unique challenges. This Non-binary and Transgender Travel Guide is intended as support in staying safe and empowered while enjoying the happiness and transformations that travel can offer. In this article you will find tips and ideas, grounded in the advice of reputable organizations, to help trans and gender non-conforming travelers explore the world with confidence.

In addition to being the founder of Trip Scholars, I am also the proud parent of both non-binary and trans young adults. And as a travel coach, I have had the privilege of serving LGBTQ+ clients. As a mom, coach, and ally, I am strongly committed to supporting queer travelers in not only enjoying incredible trips, but also easily finding trustworthy resources to stay safe and well informed for trips both now– and long into the future!

As much as I value supporting travelers in these communities, as a cis gendered person myself without direct personal experience, I will mostly be sharing resources and communities created and run by those actively traveling as non-binary and trans travelers. Also, some of the resources provided in this article are specific to U.S. travelers, so be sure to find your local transgender travel safety resources if you live in a different country.

Let’s jump in to finding the top resources to help you have amazing travel experiences!

1. Research Your Destination

Before booking your trip, research the LGBTQ+ rights and social climate of your destination. Look for countries or regions known for their inclusivity and legal protections for non-binary and trans individuals to find welcoming transgender travel destinations. 

Tragically, there are still places in the world where being transgendered is illegal so this step is essential. If you choose to visit one of these countries, do extensive research in advance and prioritize your safety. If you are new to travel, consider building your travel skills for a few years before choosing one of these destinations. Trip Scholars offers extensive support for all travelers expanding their travel skills.

Websites like the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) provide comprehensive overviews of LGBTQ+ rights by country. Equaldex  also allows you to search the planet by both country and region to learn about LGBTQ+ rights laws in relation to travel. 

2. Plan for Documentation

Navigating airport security and border control can be stressful, particularly if your identification documents do not reflect your current gender presentation or if they are not all consistent. I encourage you to update your documents before traveling, if possible. 

The National Center for Transgender Equality offers a detailed guide on updating passports, driver’s licenses, and other IDs in the United States. As outlined directly from the Department of State, you do not need to provide medical or any other type of documentation to change your gender marker on your passport in the United States.

You can find additional information about transgender travel documentation from the Department of State for LBGTQ+ travelers. Remember, consistency across documents will simplify the travel processes and make it easier. Starting with this process long before your trip will make it less stressful.

Also, consider getting TSA pre-check which now offers an additional gender marker for gender non-conforming  and non-binary travelers. A supplemental benefit is that TSA Pre-check makes it much easier to move through the security line.

3. Connect with the Community

Reach out to local organizations or use social media to connect with trans and gender nonconforming communities in your destination. They can provide valuable insights, recommend trans-friendly accommodations, and share experiences about navigating the area safely. You can also get advice about dress and local customs so you can plan a safe and enjoyable trip.

Platforms like Reddit and Facebook host numerous queer travel groups. Good advice for all travelers is to be cautious about sharing your exact travel plans with online acquaintances. If you do plan to meet up with anyone in person, be sure it is in a safe public space.

4. Pack Smart

Some people bring a travel letter from their healthcare provider, which can be especially helpful if you’re carrying medications, prosthetics, or you have implants. Generally, you are required to travel with medications in their original containers. Consider bringing a copy of your prescription with you. Also, contact your provider in advance to be sure you don’t run out of any prescriptions while you are traveling.

Ensure your carry-on includes essential items that match your gender expression, in case your checked luggage is delayed or lost. Consider traveling with carryon luggage only.

Additionally, familiarize yourself with the TSA’s guidelines for transgender passengers, which offer some great advice on security screenings. This includes the option of requesting being accompanied by a Passenger Support Specialist if you want additional support as you go through the TSA screening.

Sometimes travel to warm climates or water based destinations (such as beach, scuba, or sailing vacations) includes additional wardrobe considerations for swimwear and more revealing clothing. Take time in advance of traveling to look at your options so you have clothes that are empowering but also comfortable and safe. There are many options available, but it might take time to find the best matches for you. 

5. Stay Informed and Flexible

Stay updated on travel advisories and legal changes that might impact your trip. Websites like The Department of State’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) can keep you informed about safety updates. It can also be helpful to know where your local embassy is and how to contact them. 

Flexibility is another asset; having a backup plan and knowing your rights can help you navigate unexpected situations confidently.

6. Prioritize Safe Accommodations

Choose accommodations wisely. Many hotels and Airbnb hosts pride themselves on being LGBTQ+ friendly. Look for places with positive reviews from queer travelers. Some booking platforms allow you to filter for LGBTQ+ friendly accommodations.

Another great resource is the International Gay and Lesbian Travel Association (IGALT) where you can find LGBTQ+ welcoming travel companies including lodging options. They also provide helpful articles about many destinations with tips on neighborhoods, transportation companies, and more.

If you are concerned about safety at your lodgings, you can consider purchasing door locks, personal alarms, and other additional safety features to keep your room safe. 

7. Stay in Touch

Whether you are traveling alone or with others, stay in touch. Update your travel companions or a support person at home if you are in an uncomfortable situation or feel unsafe. Many solo travelers share location tracking on their phones with a trusted loved one, consider if that feels like a good match for you. 

If traveling solo, consider planning daily check-ins by text with a family member or friend who has your itinerary. Apps like Tripit allow you to easily share your itinerary while also organizing all of your reservations and tickets for effortless use on the road.

8. Non-binary and Transgender Travel Guide: Enjoy Your Journey

Traveling as a trans or gender nonconforming individual can be a profound and enriching experience. I hope you have found the resources helpful in this Non-binary and Transgender Travel Guide. With your preparation, research, and resilience, the world opens up with endless possibilities. Here’s to safe travels and the incredible memories you will make!

As an ally, I am happy to offer a free full 60 minute travel coaching session to non-binary and trans travelers. I would be honored to support you as you make your travel dreams come true. Just send me an email at [email protected]. And if you are a gender non-conforming or trans traveler, I invite you to share your travel tips in the comments so we can learn from you.

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The Best Netherlands Movies to Watch Before Your Trip

If you are planning a Dutch holiday, we have gathered the best Netherlands movies to watch before your trip. This fascinating country has so much to offer, not just in its stunning landscapes and rich history, but also through its cinematic contributions. Immersing yourself in its culture through film can be a fantastic way to prepare. 

This post includes Dutch films as well as many from production studios around the world that highlight the Netherlands. The country’s picturesque cities and countryside, with their iconic canals, tulips, and historic architecture, have provided the perfect backdrop for countless films, attracting filmmakers from all over the world.

I am grateful to have been able to visit the Netherlands twice in the last two years. As the founder of Trip Scholars, I spent a lot of time learning more about this fascinating country both before and after my trips. In this post I’m sharing some of my favorite films and highlighting how they will enhance your trip. I have also asked other travel writers, some Dutch and others who have visited, to share some of their top recommendations.

This curated selection includes stories of historical heroism and artistic genius to modern-day romances and dramas. Whether you’re a cinephile, a casual movie watcher, or planning a Dutch holiday, these films will transport you to the heart of the Netherlands and help you have your very best trip!

If you are planning a trip, I encourage you to start a watchlist months (or even years!) before you visit. This will allow you to gain a much richer and deeper understanding of the country long before you visit. The films will likely inspire deeper study– whether that is learning more about a particular person, cooking a Dutch dish at home, or diving deeper into the history of the country. 

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

Dutch Films: Biographies & Art

The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

“The Diary of Anne Frank” is an essential film to watch to better understand life in the Netherlands during World War II. This adaptation of Anne Frank’s diary offers a poignant look at the life of a Jewish girl hiding from the Nazis in Amsterdam. The film brings to life the annex where Anne and her family hid, located in what is now the Anne Frank House museum.

Viewing or reading “The Diary of Anne Frank” before visiting the Anne Frank House provides a deep emotional connection to the experiences of Anne and the others who lived in hiding. It transforms the museum visit from a historical tour into an exceptionally powerful experience. Knowing her story brought me to tears on the tour, just as it has for countless others.  Watching or reading it in advance will allow you to appreciate the courage and resilience of those who fought for survival amidst unimaginable adversity.

Anne Frank House, Amsterdam: Display of Translations of Anne’s Diary into Over 70 Languages

Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003)

“Girl With a Pearl Earring” is a visually stunning film that explores the story behind Johannes Vermeer’s famous painting of the same name. Directed by Peter Webber and starring Scarlett Johansson and Colin Firth, the film is set in 17th century Delft, Netherlands. It imagines a nuanced relationship between Vermeer and the young woman who becomes his muse. The film is a feast for the eyes, rich with the colors and light that characterize Vermeer’s work, and offers a glimpse into Dutch life during the Golden Age.

For those visiting the Netherlands, watching “Girl With a Pearl Earring” will enhance your appreciation for Dutch art and history. It’s a perfect prelude to visiting the Mauritshuis museum in The Hague, where the painting is housed. It is also a valuable film to watch before visiting the Rijksmuseum

in Amsterdam, where you will find The Milkmaid and other stunning paintings by the artist. The film invites viewers to ponder the stories behind other works of art they encounter, enriching their experience of the country’s world-renowned museums and galleries.

Nightwatching (2007)

Directed by Peter Greenaway, “Nightwatching” is an intriguing exploration of Rembrandt’s most famous painting, “The Night Watch.” The film delves into a fictionalized account of how Rembrandt (played by Martin Freeman) uncovered a murder plot through the commission of the painting, set against the backdrop of 17th century Amsterdam. It’s a fascinating blend of historical fact, speculation, and artistic interpretation, offering insight into the Dutch Golden Age’s complexities.

For travelers, “Nightwatching” provides a captivating backstory to one of the Netherlands’ most iconic artworks, housed in the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. It invites viewers to consider the layers of history and meaning behind the masterpieces they see, enhancing their museum visits with a sense of intrigue and discovery.

Loving Vincent (2017)

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“Loving Vincent” is a remarkable film for its method as much as its subject matter—the world’s first fully painted feature film, which explores the life and death of Vincent van Gogh. Each frame is an oil painting on canvas, done in the style of Van Gogh, created by a team of artists. The film travels through the landscapes that inspired Van Gogh, bringing his art to life and delving into the man behind the myth.

Watching “Loving Vincent” before visiting the Netherlands, especially the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, offers viewers a profound connection to the artist’s work. The film encourages a deeper understanding and appreciation of Van Gogh’s contributions to art and his unique perspective on the world. It’s a visually stunning prelude to standing in front of his paintings, many of which depict scenes from the Dutch countryside.

The Mill Featured in the Short Film, History of Dutch Windmills with Han Kuijper

Dutch Movies About History

The Admiral (Michiel de Ruyter) (2015)

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“The Admiral,” known as “Michiel de Ruyter” in Dutch, is an epic historical drama that brings to life one of the Netherlands’ most celebrated heroes, Admiral Michiel de Ruyter. Set in the mid-17th century during the Anglo-Dutch Wars, the film showcases the tactical brilliance and bravery of de Ruyter as he fights to protect his country against invasions and political intrigue. With spectacular sea battles and detailed period costumes, the film is a testament to the Dutch spirit of determination and independence.

Visitors to the Netherlands will find “The Admiral” a thrilling introduction to the country’s maritime history. The film provides context for the importance of the sea to Dutch identity and prosperity. Exploring maritime museums such as the National Maritime Museum in Amsterdam becomes a more immersive experience with the knowledge of de Ruyter’s exploits, connecting the past with the present in a tangible way. You will also be able to appreciate exhibits depicting de Ruyter in the Rijksmuseum more deeply.

History of Dutch Windmills with Han Kuijper

This short documentary will help you better understand the history, engineering, and beauty of Dutch windmills. I am especially partial to this film because Han Kuijper and his wife Kelly are our very dear friends. Han is an amazing teacher and frequently hosts tours of the windmill, which is a national monument. It was built in 1632 and is their actual home, so both the tours and this film offer unique and captivating views into life as millers.  

If you are visiting the countryside of the Netherlands, you will delight in seeing the picturesque windmills throughout your trip. In this short film, Han narrates a history of Dutch windmills and brings us on a personal tour of his mill. This will help you understand and appreciate the windmills on a much deeper level beyond their beauty.

The beautiful photo of the windmill at the top of the article is of this windmill. Han and Kelly also offer canal tours of Alkmaar on their 1930’s cabbage boat as well as highly unique and immersive lodging in the Miller’s House and Liefke Houseboat that are on the property with the Mill. I have stayed in both of them and they were highlights of my trips to the Netherlands. If you are looking for a truly historic and authentic experience in Holland, I encourage you to learn more at I Love Windmills.

De Storm (The Storm) (2009)

“De Storm” is a gripping drama that tells the story of the 1953 North Sea flood, a catastrophic event that devastated parts of the Netherlands, claiming thousands of lives. The film follows a young woman who loses her baby to the flood and her desperate search to find him amidst the chaos. It’s a powerful portrayal of a pivotal moment in Dutch history, highlighting the strength and resilience of the Dutch people in the face of natural disaster.

Watching “De Storm” before visiting the Netherlands can deepen visitors’ understanding of the country’s relationship with water and its innovative flood defenses. It adds context to visits to the Delta Works, the monumental engineering project designed to prevent such a disaster from happening again. The film serves as a reminder of the forces that have shaped the landscape and character of the Netherlands.

Photo by Donna Meyer from NomadWomen.com

The Resistance & Dutch War Films About WWII

Riphagen: (The Untouchable) 2017

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A true story, this biopic about Andreas “Dries” Riphagen (beautifully played by Jeroen van Koningsbrugge), is set in Amsterdam during the Nazi occupation of World War II.

In the beginning, we think Driese is working with the Dutch Resistance, helping Jews safeguard their belongings and escape to safety. It’s not long before we learn the truth: Riphagen is a Nazi collaborator. His job is to locate and confiscate Jewish property, money, and other valuables for the Reich.

He’s good at his job, which he does by making his victims trust him. Once he’s secured their wealth, keeping most for himself, he adds their names to the lists for deportation. Driese is cunning, with a likable façade and a black, evil soul, the consummate conman and traitor. He well earned his true-life title as “the worst war criminal in Amsterdam.”

The film’s eye for period detail is on point, making the look and feel pitch perfect. It sticks pretty closely to the true story, with a few deviations for artistic license. At the end, short screen notes describe what happened to each of the characters.

Watching Riphagen before a visit to Amsterdam will bring home the reality of what the Dutch—and especially Dutch Jews—suffered during the Nazi occupation. Your trip will be richer for knowing this history, especially if you are there on May 5, Remembrance Day, when those who died in the war are remembered with a national two minutes of silence. It is deeply moving.

Available on Netflix. In Dutch, with English subtitles.

Contributed by Donna Meyer from NomadWomen.com

The Resistance Banker (Bankier van het Verzet) (2018)

This period drama is set in Zaandam and Amsterdam during the World War II Nazi occupation. With a perfect eye for detail, it captures the essence of that time, its horrors, its challenge to try to live an otherwise normal life, and the sometimes exciting sense of living on the edge.

This is a true story of the Dutch Resistance during the war. A mid-level banker, Walraven (Wally) van Hall, is drawn into the Resistance after discovering a Jewish client/friend has committed suicide, with his family, after being told to report for deportation.  

Using his professional skills, Wally, together with his financier brother Gijs, creates an underground bank to finance the Resistance. When they realize they need more money—a LOT more money—to support a nation-wide train strike that could fundamentally derail the Nazi occupiers’ plans, they invent a plan for the largest bank fraud in Dutch history, involving counterfeit treasury notes, sleight-of-hand briefcase handoffs, and close calls. Watch the film to find out if they are able to pull it off. Remarkably, it’s all true–this really happened.

In the end, this isn’t a happy, feel-good film, but it’s an important one. It lets us see what life under the Nazi occupation was really like. It will give any trip to the Netherlands deeper meaning. I suggest seeing it before visiting the Dutch Resistance Museum. Then while wandering Amsterdam, look for stolpersteine, brass sidewalk plaques placed where those who disappeared into the jaws of the Holocaust lived their lives “before.”

Available on Netflix, both in the original Dutch, with subtitles, or dubbed into English.

Contributed by Donna Meyer at NomadWomen.com 

The Assault (1986)

What makes “The Assault” captivating is its deep dive into a harrowing piece of Dutch history, set against the backdrop of World War II. This film, directed by Fons Rademakers and based on the novel by Harry Mulisch, intertwines the personal with the historical in a narrative that spans several decades, starting from a tragic event during the Nazi occupation. It’s set in various locations around the Netherlands, bringing to life the country’s dark past and its journey to recovery.

Watching “The Assault” before visiting the Netherlands offers a profound context to the sites associated with World War II, such as the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam or the National Monument on Dam Square. Understanding the sacrifices made by the Dutch people during the occupation will add layers of meaning to your visit, making historical landmarks not just sites to tick off your list but memorials to reflect upon deeply.

Black Book (Zwartboek) (2006)

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Directed by Paul Verhoeven, “Black Book” tells the story of a Jewish singer who becomes a spy for the resistance during World War II. Set in the latter part of the occupation, it highlights various locations in the Netherlands, including The Hague and the surrounding countryside. The film offers a blend of drama, suspense, and romance, providing a nuanced perspective on Dutch resistance efforts during the war.

For those visiting the Netherlands, “Black Book” serves as a compelling backdrop to the country’s World War II history, offering insight into the resistance movement and the complexities of survival under occupation. Visiting the Dutch Resistance Museum in Amsterdam after watching this film will be a profoundly moving experience, giving faces and stories to the artifacts and exhibits.

Contemporary Netherlands Movies

Antonia’s Line (1995)

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The movie Antonia’s Line takes place in an anonymous village in the Dutch countryside—the birthplace of its main character, Antonia. Post World War II, she returns to the town with a daughter and no husband to see her dying mother.

With humor and practicality, Antonia stays and settles back into village life, rekindling old relationships with quirky characters on her own terms. Choosing not to marry, instead preferring a long and loving relationship with a neighboring farmer, Antonia weaves a rich tapestry of friendship and family over several generations that is welcoming to all and judgemental of none. The multi-layered story, narrated by Antonia’s great-granddaughter, masterfully advocates the theme of feminine autonomy.

Due to its exceptional performances, profound storytelling, and strong character development, Antonia’s Line deservedly won several awards, including an American Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1996. 

Seeing this film will connect you to the Dutch countryside and the people that live in it on a deeply emotional level. Inspiring you to visit the quieter places where life and its oddities remind us of our universal human connections.

Contributed by: Janice Moskoff at Gatherandgotravel.com

Alkmaar Canal

Queen (2013) 

Queen is a coming-of-age story of a young girl who goes to honeymoon alone after she is ditched by her long-term boyfriend on the day of her wedding. An innocent girl named “Rani”, which literally means “Queen” in Hindi, embarks on a trip to Paris and Amsterdam alone, since all the tickets were pre-booked. Coming from a conservative Indian household, this is not just her first solo-trip but her first exposure to the world outside her small town. 

Amsterdam is not just a location, but a character in this fun-filled romcom. The canals, the cafes, the amalgamation of cultures all around the world – Amsterdam’s unique character comes through in this film. 

Remember the famous line from John Green’s Fault in our Stars? “Some tourists think Amsterdam is a city of sin, but in truth it is a city of freedom. And in freedom, most people find sin”. The film doesn’t have such a profound quote about the city, but the essence of the quote shines through the story, more in Queen than in the film adaptation of Fault in Our Stars.

Rani moves into a hostel and shares a room with three strangers from different nationalities. This is an unthinkable leap from her life where the only guy she ever went out with was her long-term boyfriend, always with her younger brother tagging along like her bodyguard. From a girl who always conformed to societal norms and judged other women for their choices, she slowly opens. 

Amsterdam doesn’t change who she is but makes her the best version of herself. The sequence of her strolling in the red-light district in search of someone and shopping for her family in the sex-shop is hilarious. In fact, I came to know about this place from the movie itself, long before my first trip to Europe

Contributed by Sinjana of Backpack & Explore

The Fault in Our Stars (2014)

“The Fault in Our Stars” is not just a heart-wrenching love story between two young cancer patients, Hazel Grace Lancaster (Shailene Woodley) and Augustus Waters (Ansel Elgort), but it’s also a beautiful ode to the city of Amsterdam, where a significant part of the story unfolds. Directed by Josh Boone and based on the bestselling novel by John Green, the film captures the essence of youthful love and the poignancy of life through its Amsterdam backdrop, featuring scenic canal rides, the Anne Frank House, and the charming streets that define the city’s character.

For travelers, especially those who are fans of the book or movie, visiting Amsterdam after watching “The Fault in Our Stars” can be a moving experience. The film highlights some of the city’s most beloved landmarks, which become more than just tourist spots; they transform into powerful reminders of Hazel and Gus’s journey. Exploring Amsterdam with the narrative of the film in mind adds a layer of emotional depth to the experience, making it not just a trip through a historic city, but a journey that explores the themes of love, loss, and the beauty of living fully, no matter how much time we have.

Love is All (Alles is Liefde) (2007)

“Love is All” is a heartwarming romantic comedy that weaves together multiple love stories, set against the backdrop of Amsterdam. Directed by Joram Lürsen, the film captures the city’s vibrant atmosphere during Sinterklaas season, offering glimpses into Dutch traditions and the everyday lives of its inhabitants.

For travelers, “Love is All” provides a light-hearted yet insightful look into contemporary Dutch society, showcasing the universal themes of love and connection within the unique context of the Netherlands. It’s a perfect prelude to visiting Amsterdam, making every canal bridge and cobblestone street feel like a scene from a love story.

Adventure & Thriller Movies in the Netherlands

PROOI (English title: PREY) (2016)

Dick Maas stands out as one of the Netherlands’ most accomplished film directors. Having worked primarily within the horror and comedy genres for over four decades, he knows how to tell a good story and how to make his movies spectacular and unforgettable. 

Maas shoots in his beloved homeland, featuring local actors and crews – except for Do Not Disturb (1999), which was co-produced in the Netherlands but starred William Hurt and Jennifer Tilly, and the internationally-produced Down (2001), the remake of his 1983 movie De Lift

His latest release, Prooi, centers around a massive lion wreaking havoc and prowling Amsterdam’s streets and tourist attractions such as Vondelpark and the canals. It even goes inside a bus and attacks its passengers. It’s like “Jaws in the city” and a great introduction to both the capital and Dutch pop culture. Huge fun!

Contributed by Vanessa Morgan, creator of the website Traveling Cats and author of several thrillers and movie guides.

Ocean’s Twelve (2004)

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A splendid heist and great performances by George Clooney, Brad Pitt and Julia Roberts make “Ocean’s Twelve” delightful. This “Ocean’s Eleven” sequel by Steven Soderbergh promises charm, comedy, and depth. The film depicts Amsterdam’s beautiful canals and architecture.

Terry Benedict, a powerful opponent, blackmails Danny Ocean and his gang to repay the money they stole from him with interest, forcing them out of retirement. This sends them across the Atlantic to Amsterdam for a major theft. They use Dutch culture and scenery to execute a critical theft in a foreign city. While the film is fiction, its backdrop in Amsterdam’s lovely streets and canals gives credibility to the adventure.

By giving guests a cinematic backdrop to the Netherlands, “Ocean’s Twelve” can enrich their experience. Amsterdam’s old buildings, tiny alleyways, and rivers are like a character in the film. Visitors can walk in the protagonists’ footsteps and experience the city’s culture, history, and liveliness. 

While Ocean’s Twelve shows Amsterdam’s allure, Eindhoven could also be a dynamic setting for the crew’s future adventures.

The film encourages visitors to explore the Netherlands outside the regular locations. For fans of heist films and European escapades, it provides a fun introduction to Amsterdam and the Netherlands. 

Contributed by Lavina Dsouza at continenthop.com

The Best Netherlands Films to Watch Before You Visit

If you have appreciated watching these films, I also encourage you to visit the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam while on your trip. It is a combination cinema, museum and film archive in a stunning futuristic building.

Each of these films offers a unique perspective on the Netherlands, blending history, art, and culture in ways that will enrich your visit. Whether you’re wandering through the cobbled streets of Amsterdam, exploring the country’s museums, or marveling at its engineering masterpieces, these cinematic experiences will add depth and color to your journey. 

Have you watched any of these films? Do you have others that you recommend to travelers? Please tell us about them in the comments. Happy watching, and even happier travels! 

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What We Learn Through Travel– With Tips and Inspiration

Travel is one of life’s greatest teachers– in this article we will explore what we learn through travel and how to make the most of those powerful lessons. Travel offers us a deeper exploration of our own self-awareness, cultural understanding, and an appreciation of our planet and the people we share it with. 

I’m the founder of Trip Scholars and a travel education consultant. As an internationally certified travel coach and advisor and a published author on worldschooling, I am dedicated to supporting curious people who want to get the most from their travels. I’ve combined my love of travel with over 30 years in education to find the most inspiring and actionable ideas and activities to help curious people learn about the world and themselves through travel. 

Who am I in relation to myself and the rest of the world? Travel helps us understand ourselves from a unique perspective of time and space. It also invites us to discover what we are drawn to, what brings us joy, how we manage stress when we are outside of our comforts and daily habits, and how we relate to others– both strangers and those closest to us.

To truly unlock the transformative power of travel, consider approaching it with intention and thoughtful travel planning. Below, I’ll guide you through the LEARN Through Travel framework:

Listen, Educate, Advance, Revitalize, and Nourish.

These are steps you can take before, during, and after a trip to help you dive deeper into the enriching experiences travel can offer. 

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!
Photo by Trip Scholars

Listen to Yourself

In the early stages of planning a trip, it’s very helpful to tune into the WHY behind your travel. Ask yourself: What are my intentions for this trip? What do I hope to discover or experience? Also reflect on your travel companions, location, budget, as well as your physical and mental health to ensure your trip aligns with your personal values and circumstances.

Travel in many ways has become performative, which is no surprise since 35% of travelers say they get their inspiration from social media. But what does this do to our actual experience of travel if we are ticking off a list of the most popular sites and getting photos to show we were there? 

When I work with clients, we spend a lot of time exploring what they hope to get from their travels and it is a privilege to watch these thoughtful people settle into their own personal trips. That often means not visiting the most popular destinations and instead spending time on a farm with animals, doing some volunteer work, going on a backpacking trip, or picking a local neighborhood to relax into. I personally love visiting museums and historic sites, but that doesn’t mean the best choice for you. Each trip is unique and personal and it is worth spending time defining it for yourself.

**Tip:** Read this article and ask yourself, Why do I Travel. It includes questions to ask yourself and reflections from other travel writers about why they travel. Then incorporate practices like meditation, conversations with loved ones, or journaling to clarify your own travel intentions. 

Burke Museum Shop, Seattle, Washington, USA |Photo by Trip Scholars

Educate Yourself About Your Destination

Travel is a fantastic opportunity to expand your knowledge and curiosity about the world. Dive into the nature, culture, and history of your destinations while you are still at home and you can extend the joy of your trip far beyond your time on the road. 

Use resources like Trip Scholars to find books, films, games, online classes, cooking or craft activities, and more that are tailored to your interests and learning style. Have fun with kids and teens by leaning into their favorites to learn more from home while creating great memories together.

As a long-time secular homeschooling family, we used travel as a fundamental part of our approach to education. Many of our favorite travel memories that we still talk about were enhanced by diving in deep beforehand and then having real life experiences on the road. 

This approach will allow you to more deeply understand and appreciate the places that you visit, creating life-long memories and sometimes, even peak experiences. You will also be a more respectful and engaged traveler because you will understand these places as much more than tourist destinations. 

**Tip:** To make time for learning in your busy life, look for overlap between your interests or hobbies and your destination. Get your free copy of The Curious Traveler’s 5 Step Guide to More Meaningful Trips. This is what we specialize in at Trip Scholars. If you are traveling with others, engage with your travel companions in this educational journey. This collaborative approach not only deepens your travel experience but strengthens your relationships.

Our travel trailer|Photo by Trip Scholars

Advance Your Travel Planning Skills

Travel planning is an art that, when mastered, can significantly enhance the quality and enjoyment of not just the trip you are currently planning, but also all of your future trips. 

Learning through travel often requires that we travel more– and travel better. You will find many articles on this website focused on learning about travel skills to help you. We highlight the biggest barriers and challenges to travel and help people overcome them. I also focus on these skills in interactive workshops and private coaching

If you are doing this on your own, write out your challenges, fears, and obstacles to your travel plans. Then brainstorm solutions for each one and highlight the best options as your long term goals. Break these down into short term goals with actionable steps you can put on your calendar and make those travel dreams come true!

Throughout this site, you can get guidance on how to decide where to go, how to plan your itinerary (including budgeting tips), packing tips, finding travel deals, and even tips on how to be your own tour guide. 

Many people find travel planning to be overwhelming and frustrating, so you are not alone. The sooner you learn these skills, the easier it becomes for all of your future trips. 

**Tip:** For the most part, we have not been taught travel skills, but you can be learn and master them just like learning to cook or play an instrument. Remember, the happiest phase of travel often occurs during the planning stage so have fun while you are advancing these skills.

Finding a quiet place at the Jerónimos Monastery, Lisbon, Portugal |Photo by Trip Scholars

Revitalize Yourself

Being fully present during your travels allows for genuine connection with yourself, your companions, and your surroundings. Practice mindfulness and embrace new experiences to foster this connection. Engage all your senses, leave your phone in your pocket, and be open to the lessons each moment offers.

Research shows that we experience more happiness from our experiences than our possessions. Beyond that, travel also places us in new situations that force us to grow and create memories because they are unique and not part of our daily routine.  We are pushed outside of our comfort zone and inspired to challenge our past beliefs and also see what we are capable of.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one’s lifetime.

Mark Twain

On this site, you will find many suggestions for making the most of your travel experience.  Cultivating gratitude can enhance your travels– and your life. Get tips on visiting museums (and visiting them with kids). Some of your richest travel experiences can be visiting your ancestral homelands through heritage travel and connecting with your deep personal past. Consider activities like nature journaling, nature photography, stargazing trips to center yourself through nature on your travels. 

**Tip:** Use travel as an opportunity to practice mindfulness. Encourage discussions, share experiences, and remain curious. This not only enhances your travel experience but promotes a deeper understanding of yourself and the world around you.

“Dream” by ICY & SOT, MOCO Museum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands | Photo by Trip Scholars

Nourish Your Growth

Upon returning home, take time to reflect on your journey and integrate the lessons learned into your daily life. Whether it’s a new perspective on culture, a renewed sense of purpose, or a deeper understanding of yourself and your companions, travel has the power to transform. 

If you are looking for thoughtful ways to remember your trip with your travel companion(s) here are meaningful travel gift ideas.

If you are so inspired that you want to create a lifestyle or business around travel, learn more about becoming a travelpreneur.

**Tip:** Create a plan to reflect on your travels, such as sharing stories with friends, creating a photo album, or writing about your trip. This not only keeps the memories alive but helps you to see the lasting impact of your experiences.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah, USA |Photo by Trip Scholars

Learn From Travel

Travel is a powerful catalyst for growth, understanding, and change. By following the LEARN Through Travel framework, you can transform your travel experiences into profound journeys of discovery. Embrace each trip as an opportunity to listen, educate, advance, revitalize, and nourish your growth, and let the world teach you its endless lessons.

Remember, the journey doesn’t end when you return home; it’s just the beginning of integrating those rich experiences into your life, shaping a more informed, connected, and compassionate world view.

What have you learned about the world and yourself through travel? Let me know in the comments, I’d love to hear.

Safe travels, and may your journeys always lead to deeper understanding and joy.

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How to Become a Travelpreneur with Tips and Resources

Are you wondering how to become a travelpreneur and create a business based on your love of travel? This article is for you! We will explore what a travelpreneur is and some different travelpreneur jobs. Then we will share some of the first steps to launching a travel business. We will follow with some of  the exciting benefits of this lifestyle.

Being a travelpreneur is also a lot of hard work so I will also share the biggest challenges because it definitely isn’t for everyone. If you think it looks like a good match for you, you will find all of my favorite resources throughout the article so you can get started today.

As the founder of Trip Scholars, I am a travelpreneur myself. My vision for helping people learn more through travel encompasses many of the jobs we will discuss below, so I have firsthand experience and useful tips for people just getting started. I also coach travelers with their long-term travel dreams and help aspiring travelpreneurs create this lifestyle for themselves. I am a lifelong learner and avid researcher so I have taken the time to find the best resources to save you time and money as you launch.

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

Travelpreneur Meaning

First, what exactly is a travelpreneur? It is a new word and not yet recognized in established dictionaries. But, a quick search on the internet will give you volumes of search results and there are over 500,000 travelpreneur hashtags on Instagram. Chances are, the term will be formally recognized soon. 

The word is a portmanteau of travel and entrepreneur. In this article we will be using the Wikipedia/Wiktionary definition: An entrepreneur in the field of travel services. You will also find other interpretations like being an entrepreneur (in any industry) who also loves to travel or is nomadic. But in this article, we will be talking specifically about building your own business based on travel. 

Erica Forrest, the author typing on a computer with the beach an ocean in the distance, illustrating life as a travelprenuer
The author working from a beachfront room on Tortola in the British Virgin Islands.

Travelpreneur Jobs

There are many travelpreneur jobs to choose from. Lots of people creating this lifestyle have multiple income streams and do more than one of these. For example, you will find people who start as a travel blogger, become a travel advisor or coach to better support their growing audience, and eventually lead their own tours as people let them know they would love to join them on their travels. Read through some of these travelpreneur jobs to see what might be a good match for you.

Travel Blogger

Imagine writing about your journeys, sharing tips and guidance about travel, and inspiring others to explore the world. That’s the essence of being a travel blogger. 

This role involves crafting engaging blog posts, guides, reviews, and personal anecdotes about your travels, supplemented with captivating photos and practical tips. 

It’s a great match for those with a love of writing, an apptitude for storytelling, and a thirst for exploration. Successful travel bloggers are curious, persistent, and adept at digital marketing and SEO.

Recommendation: She Knows SEO

She Knows SEO is consistently recommended as the top training for travel bloggers learning SEO. I have taken the 6 Months to 50K Sessions course and found it both engaging and packed full of actionable steps. If you are just getting started with travel blogging the more comprehensive SEO Roadmap is an even better bet if you can afford the investment. Students in the program are becoming profitable much faster than average. 

Another course consistently recommended in  many travelpreneur communities is Scale Your Travel Blog.  Students frequently report great success and very supportive instruction and community. I have not personally taken this class but have learned some great ideas from them and I plan to take this course in the future. 

Early on I took The Business of Travel Blogging course with Nomadic Matt, but it is no longer offered. 

Travel Advisor 

Travel advisors are the architects of dream trips, offering personalized travel planning services to clients. They research destinations, curate itineraries, book accommodations, and arrange tours and activities. 

If you’re detail-oriented, love researching and planning, and enjoy making others’ travel dreams come true, this could be the job for you. 

Successful travel advisors are knowledgeable, resourceful, and possess excellent customer service skills, ensuring clients have unforgettable travel experiences. The most profitable advisors often focus on high end trips, group trips, cruises, and resorts.

Travel Coach

Travel coaching blends the art of travel with personal development, helping clients overcome fears, set travel goals, and enrich their lives through travel. A travel coach is part guide, part motivator, and part travel expert. 

This role suits empathetic, insightful individuals passionate about personal growth and travel’s transformative power. To thrive, you’ll need strong coaching skills, deep travel knowledge, and the ability to inspire and empower others.

Recommendation: The Travel Coach Certification Program

This is the only ICF certified program in the world for travel coaches and the one I earned my  certification through. I wish I had started with this program sooner in my journey as a travelpreneur since students are highly supported in building a whole travel based business and not just the skills needed for effective travel coaching. There is a strong community, ongoing support after certification, and a heavy emphasis on service, values, and meaningful travel. 
Erica Forrest, the author and travelpreneur behind a microphone and with headphones on in front of a bookshelf.
The author presenting online

Travel Vlogger

Travel vlogging is all about bringing destinations to life through video. As a travel vlogger, you’ll create captivating content that showcases destinations, cultures, cuisines, and adventures, sharing them on platforms like YouTube or Instagram. 

This job is perfect for outgoing individuals who are comfortable in front of the camera and have a keen eye for visual storytelling. Skills in video editing, content planning, and social media engagement are key to building a loyal audience that is inspired and educated by your content.

Travel Podcaster

Travel Podcasters are the voices behind the mic, bringing the world to listeners through engaging audio content. Perfect for storytellers with a passion for exploration and conversation, this role involves creating episodes that delve into travel tales, tips, cultural insights, and interviews with guests around the world. 

This job is ideal for those with a passion for storytelling, audio editing, and an insatiable curiosity about the world. It requires a good voice, research skills, and the ability to engage listeners. If you plan to interview others, it also requires excellent listening skills and a genuine curiosity about others. Successful podcasters are communicative, creative, and consistent, building a community of like-minded wanderers. If you dream of sharing your adventures and connecting with fellow travelers on a deeper level, this could be for you.

Recommendation: Start as a Podcast Guest

If you are thinking of launching a travel podcast one of the best things you can do is be a guest on other people's podcasts first. You will learn a lot and improve your ability to inform, entertain, and inspire. You will need to start with a one sheet (tip: make it with the free version of Canva). You also often need an established online presence before being accepted as a guest. Podcast Guest Collaboration Community and Professional Podcast Guests are two active and supportive groups to find guest opportunities.

Travel Podcast Equipment

Here is the podcasting equipment that I use and recommend.

Tour Operator or Host

This role involves creating and leading tours, whether they’re local day trips, retreats, or multi-week international excursions. As a tour operator or host, you’ll design unique travel experiences, manage logistics, and guide groups on their adventures. 

It’s ideal for those who love interacting with people, and sharing their passion for places. To be successful, you’ll need excellent organizational skills, a talent for storytelling, and a deep understanding of the destinations you’re showcasing.

Recommendation: TravelKinetics

I recently started a training with the founder of this company and highly recommend learning from her. There are multiple offerings for tour hosts including Global Guide Alliance, Tourprener, and private coaching. She is a leading force in modernizing the tour industry and is also in charge of trips at Atlas Obscura.

Check out the free group Tourpreneur for Tour Operators/Tour Professionals.

Online Travel Content Creator

Online Travel Content Creators craft e-books, courses, and guides, turning their travel expertise into valuable resources. By identifying travelers’ needs and packaging insights into engaging digital products, you empower others to experience richer journeys. 

It is perfect for those with an aptitude for research, writing, and digital design. This role demands creativity, technical skills, and a passion for sharing knowledge. 

Travel Influencer

In the world of social media, travel influencers inspire and educate their audiences about travel destinations around the world. You will share your travel experiences, tips, and stunning visuals on Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and beyond.

This role is tailor-made for charismatic individuals who have a talent for photography, videography, and engaging storytelling. The essence of being a successful travel influencer is a genuine love of travel and the ability to connect with and grow your audience. You’ll need to master the art of social media strategy, content creation, and eventually, build relationships with brands for collaborations. 

Travel Writer

Travel writing allows you to craft stories and articles for magazines, websites, publications, or your own books. It’s about capturing the essence of destinations, cultures, and experiences through words. 

It is ideal for independent spirits with a love for writing and a gift for educating and inspiring readers. To excel, you’ll need excellent writing skills, discipline to meet deadlines, and the persistence to pitch your work to editors consistently or successfully self publish. 

Travel Photographer

With a lens in hand, travel photographers capture the world’s beauty, diversity, and moments of wonder. This job entails shooting photos for clients, selling images as stock photography, or working on personal projects. 

It suits visually artistic individuals with a keen eye for composition and storytelling through images. Essential skills include photography expertise, creativity, and the business savvy to market your work and manage freelance projects.

The author and travelpreneur, Erica Forrest holding a camera in front of the dry stacked monk dwellings on the island of Skellig Michael in Ireland.
Taking photos is part of the job!

Travelpreneur MLM

There are also some businesses who have included the term travelpreneur in the name of their company. These are sometimes recognized as MLM (Multi Level Marketing) businesses. This post will not be reviewing any of these specific businesses. If you are interested in working with any of them, I encourage you to do plenty of research first.

Challenges of a Travelpreneur Lifestyle

The greatest challenges to being a travelpreneur are the same as they are for any entrepreneurial venture. There is no guaranteed income and it can take years of dedicated hard work before your business becomes profitable. 

The truth is that being a successful travelpreneur is a lot of hard work. In fact, depending on the study, it can take bloggers 6-12 months to start earning any income at all. Only about half of all small business ventures survive over five years

Because of this, many travelpreneurs need to already have savings or another source of income while getting started. They also need to be psychologically prepared to work hard on a daily basis without expecting a significant reward for months or years. 

Of course there are plenty of examples of people who are financially successful much sooner, especially if they already have a related background or they get the right training at the beginning. But this is not the norm and aspiring travelpreneurs should be aware of this before they start. If you decide to become a travelpreneur, I hope you can find success more quickly using some of the resources in this article.

An additional challenge that people dreaming of this lifestyle should consider is that it means you will often be working while traveling. That might sound obvious, but when many of our past trips have been relaxing, it can be surprising how different trips can become. 

For example, established bloggers, influencers, and advisors can take FAM trips (Familiarity Trips) for free or at greatly reduced rates. While on these trips they are gathering information, photos, videos, and often meeting with owners, directors, and the staff from different establishments so that they can create compelling and helpful content to share with their readers or clients about the destinations.

The author, Erica Forrest surrounded by glacial carved land, lakes, and glaciers in Norway.
The author enjoying life as a travelpreneur

Benefits of a Travelpreneur Lifestyle

The most obvious benefit to being a travelpreneur is that you can travel more! Most of these jobs are location independent so you can earn an income from anywhere. Additionally, many of them pay you specifically to travel or allow you to have travel experiences that are free, tax deductible, or at greatly reduced costs.

This ability to intentionally craft a meaningful lifestyle that allows you to travel long-term and deeply immerse yourself in your travel experiences can not be underestimated.

Some travelpreneurs are nomadic while others choose to keep a homebase and travel some of the time. With these jobs, you get to decide and can change your lifestyle based on your fluctuating needs and desires.

Another important benefit is that you can support and promote travel in alignment with your values. As an entrepreneur, you get to build a business based on your values with a focus on serving the audience of your choosing. I built Trip Scholars on values that promote meaningful, educational, and sustainable travel. You can do your own personal version of that too.

First Steps to Becoming a Travelpreneur

  1. The first step is to do a lot of self-reflection. Ask yourself these questions:
  • What do I believe about travel that I want to promote in the world?
  • What are my strengths that I bring to this endeavor? 
  • What problems exist in travel that I can help solve?
  • Who can benefit from what I want to offer? 
  • How am I different? How can I be unique and authentic in the industry? 
  • What do I want my lifestyle to be like now? In the future?
  • How much time can I commit to being a travelpreneur now? In the future?
  • How quickly do I want/need to make money from this business?
  • How much money can I invest in this endeavor? 
  1.  Look at the travelpreneur job ideas shared earlier in this article and see which ones match well to your answers in step one.
  1. Research! See where there are gaps in the market that you can fill. Learn what other people are doing in the field to learn more about your preferences. Pay attention to the recommendations of those who have been doing this for a while.
  1. Create a business plan and get feedback from a trusted mentor.
  1. Get out there and start sharing! 
The author, Erica Forrest with her daughter on a canal bridge in Amsterdam with a pink floral decorated bike, canal boats, and old buildings in the background.
The author sharing the travelpreneur life with family

Six Things Travelpreneurs Wish They Had Done Sooner

I am in multiple communities for different types of travelpreneurs and there are six things I hear repeatedly about what we all wish we had done sooner. I hope to help save you years of frustration and get your business off to a great start.

1. Start now

You don’t have to launch a website or invest money in the beginning, but get started today exploring your options and putting your ideas out into the world. Whether you do this on social media or in conversations, you will start to find your voice, your business values, and learn what resonates. You also might find that you don’t actually like being an entrepreneur and would rather find other ways to travel. (There are plenty– so don’t worry if you decide this isn’t for you!) This step is so important that I will cover it in full below.

2. Treat it like a business, not a hobby

You undoubtedly already have many responsibilities, but to be successful as a travelpreneur, you need to prioritize this as a business. That means adding it to your calendar and committing to work on it on a regular basis. Give yourself goals and deadlines and do regular check-ins. Consider getting an accountability buddy or coach who can cheer you on, hold you accountable to the goals you set for yourself, and help you pivot as you grow.

3. Get Training and Find Mentors

Consider investing in some of the excellent courses, trainings, and certifications available to help you grow in different aspects of your business. You can also learn an enormous amount for free through books, podcasts, videos, summits, and websites. 

Keep in mind that free versions might not be presented in a comprehensive and linear way. When using a hodgepodge approach you will also encounter contradictory ideas and advice shared by people without a proven track record themselves. Finally, there are also a lot of sub-par trainings created by people who excel more at marketing than the actual subject matter they are teaching, so do your research before investing or following someone’s advice.

If money is tight, many of the established trainings and classes I mention in this article have free resources and Facebook communities that you can start learning from today. You can slowly add paid classes and tools over time.

4. Join Communities

There are valuable online communities that you can learn from and get support within. You will usually need to have an established site or social media presence for your business before being accepted into most of them. But once your travelpreneur endeavor has a solid online presence, seek out communities. Use these to help build friendships, collaborate, network, and find the best conferences and learning opportunities.  

Recommendation: Wanderful

This is a  travel community that has been a great help to me-- and a lot of fun! There are membership levels for content creators and small business owners that come with lots of opportunities for collaboration, connection, training, and in-person events like WITS (Women In Travel Summit). I am such a fan that I am the Director for the chapter in Seattle, Washington! It is an inclusive community for anyone supporting women. They also offer scholarships if cost prevents you from participating.

5. Start Your Email List

Next to your body of work and what you learn, your email list is one of the most important things you can have as an entrepreneur. Your subscribers are the people who actually want to learn from you and appreciate what you have to share. 

When people start enjoying your content– whether through your blog, podcast, or social media– if they find it valuable, you should try to keep them in your world. Getting set up with an email provider, creating an opt-in, and crafting your emails is something that can take a significant investment of time, so many travelpreneurs put it off for months or years. I highly recommend you do this shortly after establishing your business’s online presence. 

Over time you will share your best content and advice with your subscribers, nurturing authentic relationships with them. If you eventually decide to publish a book, launch a course, or offer new services, these are the people who will likely benefit the most from it. They already know, like, and trust you. They are your ideal clients. You won’t be chasing sales, instead you will be providing something valuable that people are happy and even excited to pay for because you made it for them.

Recommendation: Amy Porterfield's Subscribed Bootcamp

If you have been thinking of starting a business, you might have come across Amy Porterfield and her NYT bestselling book, Two Weeks Notice. Once a year in February she offers a very affordable short class to get your email list started called Subscribed. It's packed with value and worth taking. It is also an exceptionally well designed pitch to encourage you to sign up for her more extensive (and expensive!) courses, so prepare to be tempted. 
Recommendation: Liz Wilcox

If you are looking for a relaxed and authentic approach to figuring out your email, check out Liz Wilcox. I haven't paid for any of her trainings, but I have seen her present multiple times and she is next on my list of people to learn from. The main reason I want to learn from her is because the small business owners who send me emails that I actually look forward to reading and get a lot of value from have been her students. I want my own subscribers to get  as much value and enjoyment from the newsletters that I send them.

Learn SEO

Search Engine Optimization is much more important than many new travelpreneurs realize and most established business owners wish they learned about it much sooner. Yes, at the beginning of starting your business you will feel overwhelmed learning new tech, creating a business plan, establishing your online presence and so much more. But I urge you to learn SEO as early in your journey as possible.  

SEO is the science and art of improving your visibility on the internet. You want to make it easy for the people you serve to both find you, and get what they need. You will do this by creating high-quality and relevant content with an excellent user experience. 

Even if you create incredible content, without SEO, people may never find you. 

I promise, it really isn’t as hard as it seems and once you understand it, you will have a much easier time knowing what your audience actually needs and wants. This will empower you to support your travelpreneur lifestyle by genuinely supporting your audience. SEO is important for travelpreneurs outside of blogging too– if you have an online business presence of any kind, it is a valuable skill.

The longer you wait to learn SEO, the more time  and energy you will need to go back and fix things. Take it from me, I am still cleaning up my early posts! These early articles have a lot of great content and are very helpful, but they will never show up in search results until I rewrite them with my new SEO strategy in mind.

Don’t plan to wait until you have a successful business to learn SEO, it doesn’t work that way. Learn SEO early, you will be so glad that you did!

Recommendation: She Knows SEO

She Knows SEO is consistently recommended as the top training for travel bloggers learning SEO. I have taken the 6 Months to 50K Sessions course and found it both engaging and packed full of actionable steps. If you are just getting started with travel blogging the more comprehensive SEO Roadmap is an even better bet if you can afford the investment. Students in the program are becoming profitable much faster than average. 

I took my original SEO training with Digital Nomad Wannabe. It was excellent but the course I took is no longer being offered. You can still learn from her super helpful Facebook Group and podcast. 

I have also completed the free training through Yoast Academy. If you can't afford to invest in your education right now, this is a great first step. You will learn a lot about general SEO, just without a lot of depth or focus on earning money.
Recommendation: Key Search

To learn and implement your SEO strategy, you will need a tool to find keywords. I'm a big fan of Key Search. Now that I have learned a lot about SEO, I use Key Search and am able to get most of my new articles on the first page of Google. There are many keyword tools out there, but Key Search costs a small fraction of the other major players and has almost as many features. It is also frequently the top recommendation from many others in the industry. You can test it out with their free trial.

What Not to Do When Starting as a Travelpreneur

Don’t Make Things Perfect

Start where you are, use what you have, and learn as you go. The path to success is paved with adjustments, not perfection. Let your passion and adaptability be your guide, not the elusive quest for the perfect beginning. Launch your ideas into the world even if they’re not polished to perfection. Feedback and real-world experiences are invaluable, offering lessons no amount of planning can provide.

Many new entrepreneurs spend hours choosing the right font, colors, and layout or years building courses without actually teaching or coaching real people first. Eventually these things may be important, but at the beginning it is much more valuable to get your ideas out into the world, interact with real people, and be imperfect. 

As a long time educator with a passion for learning, I love the Miss Frizzle quote, “Take chances, make mistakes, and get messy!” 

Don’t Make It About You

In the early stages of a travelpreneur journey, people often focus too heavily on personal narratives and adventures, neglecting the needs and interests of their audience. This approach, while rich in personal enthusiasm and passion, limits our ability to connect meaningfully and provide tangible value. 

Recognize how important it is to shift your focus from self to service. Storytelling is integral to the human experience and including your own travel stories will probably be a fundamental part of building your business. But it is crucial to adapt your approach to center on how your experiences can educate, inspire, or solve problems for your audience. A great thing to always ask yourself as a travelpreneur is, “how can this help my audience?”

Airplane window view of Mount Rainier and the surrounding Cascade Mountains in Washington state.
The office view on a good day!

Why Travelers Make Great Entrepreneurs

Travelers and entrepreneurs share a unique set of traits that equip them with a distinct advantage in the business world.

Curiosity and Lifelong Learning

A hallmark of avid travelers is their insatiable curiosity and desire to learn about new places, cultures, and experiences. This lifelong learning mindset is crucial for entrepreneurs, who must continually research and acquire new knowledge and skills.

Passion and Perseverance

A deep passion for exploration drives travelers to persist through challenging journeys. Similarly, successful entrepreneurs are driven by a passion for their venture, persevering through setbacks and failures with an unwavering commitment to their vision.

Adaptability

Travelers, much like entrepreneurs, thrive in changing environments. They’re adept at navigating unfamiliar territories, adjusting to new cultures, and overcoming unexpected challenges. This adaptability is crucial in entrepreneurship, where market trends, consumer needs, and technology evolve rapidly.

Problem-Solving Skills

Encountering and solving problems is a daily routine for travelers, whether it’s dealing with language barriers, finding transportation, or managing a budget. These problem-solving skills are directly transferable to entrepreneurship, where identifying issues, brainstorming solutions, and implementing strategies are key to success.

Creativity and Innovation

Travel inspires creativity, exposing individuals to diverse ways of thinking and living. This exposure broadens perspectives, fostering innovative thinking in entrepreneurs. They learn to approach business challenges creatively, finding unique solutions that set them apart from competitors.

Risk-Taking

Traveling involves a certain degree of risk and uncertainty. Travelers who embrace these risks develop a comfort with uncertainty that’s essential for entrepreneurs, who must often make decisions based on incomplete information and take calculated risks to capitalize on new opportunities.

Networking and Communication Skills

Travelers frequently meet new people, building networks across different cultures and backgrounds. This skill in building relationships and communicating effectively is invaluable for entrepreneurs, who rely on networking to find partners, customers, and mentors.

Yellowstone River and waterfall running through the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone with blue sky and white clouds above.
Teaching people about some of the most extraordinary places in the world is part of the job

When Should I Start as a Travelpreneur?

Many people wonder when they should begin their journey as a travelpreneur. If this is a pursuit you are interested in, my advice is to start now. There are many reasons that today is the day to begin. 

As  mentioned above, it can take months or years before you start to earn an income and become profitable. In this industry, profitable may sometimes mean covered travel instead of money– but still profitable in some way. If you are planning to use these income streams to fund a worldschooling, retirement, or other exciting adventure in your future, get started before that chapter begins.

Whether you are a student, stay-at-home parent, are working nomadically for someone else, or still have a day job– making time to start your travelpreneur endeavor now allows you to time learn more new skills than you ever knew you could. 

No matter what your current powerhouse skill set is, being a solopreneur means that you are going to be out of your comfort zone on a daily basis for a while. In most jobs we know we have landed well when we are surrounded with a team of people around us who do many things better than we do. But as a solopreneur, you’ll likely be doing all of them yourself, at least for a while. Starting early also allows you to make thousands of inevitable mistakes without the risks being too high. 

Additionally, you can take this time to  find your voice and really clarify your mission and your why behind your business. You will have time to let people know what you are doing as you naturally build your audience. You will be able to listen to them and find out what they actually need and want and eventually, truly serve them. 

Remember, everyone starts from the beginning. Every blog has a first post, every social media account starts at zero, every writer gets published for the first time. Today is the day to start, you can only grow from here!

The author, Erica Forrest, in Antelope Canyon X in Arizona, USA. Woman with a camera looking up to towards the sky in a dramatic orange and yellow slot canyon.

Becoming a Travelpreneur

Are you interested in becoming a travelpreneur yourself? What questions do you still have? If you are already a travelpreneur, what tips and advice do you have for those who are just getting started? I’d love to hear in the comments!

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The Best Books to Read Before Going to Norway 

Whether you are planning a trip or just dreaming of fjords and Vikings, we have gathered the best books to read before going to Norway. In this post, we’ll explore a curated collection of books about Norway that will transport you there, even before you pack your bags. 

From engaging novels and insightful histories to delightful children’s books and cookbooks, there’s something for every traveler and book lover. Each book we’ve selected not only tells a story or shares knowledge about Norway but also enhances your upcoming trip, making your experience more enriching and immersive.

I was finally able to travel to Norway myself this summer and, as the founder of Trip Scholars, I spent time learning a lot about the country before I left. Here I’ve gathered some of the best Norway books and asked other travel writers to share their favorites too. So, grab a cup of hot cocoa, get cozy, and let’s dive into these pages that promise to take you on an enticing Norwegian adventure, one book at a time! 

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

Novels Set in Norway

Out Stealing Horses, by Per Petterson

Norway’s rugged beauty and the depth of human emotion intertwine in Per Petterson’s Out Stealing Horses. This poignant novel tells the story of Trond Sander, a man who, in his later years, moves to a remote part of Norway to live a life of solitude. He reflects on his past, particularly the summer of 1948 that changed his life forever. We are transported to Norway’s breathtaking landscapes and tumultuous history.

The book is more than a journey through Norway’s past. It’s an exploration of the human spirit, of loss, and of the bond between father and son. Petterson’s prose brings the story to life and makes this one of the best books about Norway.

Reading Out Stealing Horses before going to Norway enriches the experience by providing a deeper understanding of the country’s history and the Norwegian people. As you traverse the same landscapes described in the book, you’ll find yourself connecting with the story on a more intimate level, appreciating Norway’s reflective culture that values natural beauty.

Sophie’s World, by Jostein Gaarder

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder is not just a novel; it’s an exploration into the world of philosophy. Set in Norway, this internationally acclaimed book takes readers on a journey through philosophical thought and history through the eyes of a young girl, Sophie Amundsen. The story unfolds as Sophie receives mysterious letters from an unknown philosopher. Each one takes her deeper into philosophical questions and theories.

The novel masterfully blends a coming-of-age story with a crash course in philosophy, making complex ideas accessible and engaging. It’s a reflection on life, existence, and the universe, set against the backdrop of a quaint Norwegian town. I have taught philosophy to young people and recommend Sophie’s World to adults, teens, and tweens who are looking for an engaging way to learn more about one of humanity’s most interesting pursuits.

Sophie’s World is one of the best books to read before visiting Norway because it engages the mind in rich philosophical thought. As you travel, you may find yourself pondering the same existential questions as Sophie. It’s a book that not only educates but also transforms the way you view the world, making it an ideal companion for the intellectually curious traveler.

The Snowman, by Jo Nesbø

Jo Nesbø’s The Snowman is a thrilling journey into the darker side of Norway. This crime novel introduces readers to Detective Harry Hole, who is investigating a series of chilling murders in Oslo. Each victim disappears on the day of the first snowfall, and a snowman is found at every crime scene. Nesbø masterfully weaves a tale of suspense and intrigue that keeps you on the edge of your seat.

The book’s setting in the urban landscapes of Norway, particularly Oslo. It is vividly rendered, giving readers a sense of the contemporary Norwegian life and culture. The dark, cold winters and the stark contrast with the country’s otherwise peaceful reputation play a key role in the story.

Before visiting Norway, The Snowman offers a gripping, albeit fictional, perspective on Norwegian society. While exploring Oslo, you can’t help but recall scenes from the book, adding a layer of intrigue to your journey. It’s a way to connect with the city beyond its tourist spots.

Trollstigen, Norway photo by Megan at Megan and Arron

The Best Guidebooks About Norway

Fodor’s Essential Norway

Fodorʻs Travel Essential Norway is a travel guidebook published in February 2020 that covers the entire country. It highlights the best attractions, things to do, hotels, and more across various regions of the country. 

The guidebook is broken down into different chapters putting each region into focus. I actually co-authored this book and wrote all of the Arctic Norway chapters! You will find everything from the best restaurants in the Lofoten islands to canʻt-miss festivals in Oslo. 

Essential Norway has maps and practical information that makes planning your trip a breeze. As I covered the Arctic Norway section of the book, I can say I visited the many places I talked about in the guide. Some of the main destinations covered in the book are Tromsø, Bergen, Trolltunga, Stavanger, Svalbard, Flåm, Oslo, the Lofoten islands, and Trondheim. 

Another special feature of the book is that it contains useful words and phrases in Norwegian. These can help you get to know the locals (although they speak stellar English).

While I think there are many great books about Norway out there, sometimes you need a travel guidebook to really get to know the place before diving into other pieces of literature about the country.

Contributed by Megan at Megan and Arron

Lonely Planet Norway 8, by Anthony Ham, et al.

Lonely Planet books are widely known to be the best travel guidebooks for pretty much any city and any country in the world, and this applies to Norway too.

The latest version for Norway is Norway 8, the 8th edition travel guide to Norway from Lonely Planet. It is jam-packed with information on travelling to Norway, and quite literally tells you everything you need to know.

From what to expect in each month of the year, to the best restaurants, things to do and even some local tips and tricks, you won’t have any questions left afterwards. Plus, the Lonely Planet books are known for helping people travel on a budget and that is no different for their Norway travel guide. The book even teaches you how to explore Norway Fjords for free. 

I always get a Lonely Planet book when I’m planning a trip, even if it’s just the pocketbook. Even though it sometimes feels expensive, it’s always worth it. You simply can’t get the insight that Lonely Planet books offer anywhere, even online. 

The travel guide will help your trip to Norway go smoother, no doubt about it. 

Contributed by Josh at A Backpacker’s World

Rick Steves Norway, by Rick Steves

Rick Steves Norway is another excellent guide for any traveler looking to explore Norway, from its vibrant cities to its serene fjords. Renowned for his practical and accessible travel advice, Rick Steves offers a comprehensive guide that covers all the essentials of traveling in Norway, including tips on accommodation, dining, transportation, and sightseeing. This is the primary guidebook we used on our recent trip to Norway.

The book is filled with insightful commentary on Norwegian culture and history, making it more than just a guidebook. Detailed itineraries help travelers maximize their time, while Rick’s personal recommendations lead you to authentic experiences and hidden gems across the country.

Reading Rick Steves Norway before your trip will enhance your Norwegian adventure. It prepares you with practical tips and cultural knowledge, ensuring a smoother and more enriching travel experience. From navigating the streets of Oslo to cruising the fjords, this guide helps you connect more deeply with the places you visit. It’s an indispensable resource that empowers you to explore Norway confidently and meaningfully, just as a well-informed friend would.

Photo by Josh at Backpacker’s World

The Best Nonfiction Norway Books

Norwegian Wood: Chopping, Stacking, and Drying Wood the Scandinavian Way, by Lars Mytting

Norwegian Wood by Lars Mytting is an engaging read about the art and tradition of wood chopping in Norway, making it one of the best nonfiction Norway books. . It’s a beautiful blend of practical guide and cultural exploration, delving into how the Norwegians have turned wood chopping into both a necessity and an art form.

The book not only teaches about different types of wood, tools, and techniques but also explores the historical and cultural significance of wood in Norwegian society. Mytting’s writing is warm and engaging, turning what could be a mundane topic into a fascinating journey.

Reading this book before visiting Norway offers a unique perspective on a key aspect of Norwegian life and tradition. It will give you a deeper appreciation for the simple yet profound elements of Norwegian culture. Imagine walking through Norwegian forests or rural landscapes with a newfound understanding and respect for the woodlands that have shaped much of the country’s history and lifestyle. This book is a tribute to the Norwegian way of life, connecting you to the land and its people in a unique way.

January 8, 2024 11:27 am

History of Norway, by John Yilek

History of Norway by John Yilek is one of the best books on Norwegian history. It is an essential read for anyone interested in delving into the rich tapestry of Norway’s past. This book provides a comprehensive yet accessible overview of Norwegian history, from its ancient origins through the Viking era, and into modern times. Yilek skillfully narrates the evolution of Norway, highlighting key historical events, cultural shifts, and influential figures that have shaped the nation.

For travelers planning a visit to Norway, this book is invaluable. It is a great addition to making a history timeline before you travel. It offers context to the historic sites, museums, and cultural landmarks you’ll encounter. As you wander through ancient Viking grounds or gaze upon medieval stave churches, the stories and facts from this book will come to life, transforming your trip into a more meaningful journey through time. Reading “History of Norway” before your trip will deepen your connection to the landscapes and people of this fascinating country.

North: How to Live Scandinavian, by Brontë Aurell

North: How to Live Scandinavian by Brontë Aurell is a delightful exploration of Scandinavian culture. This book covers everything from design and fashion to food and traditions, offering a comprehensive and entertaining guide to understanding what it means to live like a Scandinavian.

As a traveler to Norway, this book will enrich your experience by providing context to the design, cuisine, and lifestyle you will encounter. It’s like having a friendly insider explain the essence of what you see, taste, and experience. Reading this book before your trip will add an extra layer of enjoyment and understanding as you immerse yourself in the Norwegian way of life.

Nordic Baking, by Magnus Nilsson

Nordic Baking by renowned chef Magnus Nilsson is a delightful journey through the rich and varied baking traditions of the Nordic region. This comprehensive cookbook is much more than a collection of recipes; it’s a deep dive into the heart of Nordic culture and its baking heritage. Nilsson beautifully presents a wide array of breads, pastries, cakes, and traditional holiday treats, each recipe steeped in tradition and regional flavor. The color photographs taken by the author make the book a visual delight.

For travelers heading to Norway, Nordic Baking offers a unique approach to explore the country. The act of baking and the breads and pastries themselves are integral to Norwegian daily life. Understanding this culinary tradition enhances the travel experience, whether you’re savoring a skillingsbolle in Bergen or enjoying a slice of kransekake at a local festival. This book not only guides you through baking your own Norwegian treats but also enriches your appreciation of Norway’s cuisine.

Jostedal Glacier, Norway, photo by Trip Scholars

The Best Norwegian Folktales

Nordic Tales: Folktales from Norway, Sweden, Finland, Iceland, and Denmark, Illustrated by Ulla Thynell

Nordic Tales is a beautifully illustrated collection of folktales from across the Nordic region, including Norway. These stories, rich in mythology and folklore, are a tapestry of tales about trolls, giants, and mythical creatures. They reflect the cultural and spiritual beliefs of the Nordic people.

The illustrations by Ulla Thynell add a magical touch, bringing these tales to life in a visually stunning way.

For travelers to Norway, Nordic Tales is an enchanting primer to the mythical backdrop of the country. Reading these stories will deepen your connection to the Norwegian landscape. You’ll find yourself looking at the fjords, mountains, and forests through a mythical lens. The stories will enrich your understanding and appreciation of Norwegian culture and history, making your travel experience more meaningful and multilayered.

Photo by Josh at Backpacker’s World

Best Books About Norway: Plays

A Doll’s House, by Henrik Ibsen

Henrik Ibsen, a towering figure in Norwegian literature, penned A Doll’s House, a play that is essential reading for anyone interested in Norwegian culture and history. This groundbreaking work, written in the late 19th century, challenged the traditional roles of men and women in society, particularly within marriage.

Reading A Doll’s House offers insight into the social and cultural transformations that have shaped modern Norway. As you visit museums or interact with locals, you’ll have a deeper understanding of the progressive values and feminist roots that are an integral part of Norwegian society. The play is not only a window into Norway’s past but also a reflection of its present.

Norsk Folkemuseum, Oslo, Norway, photo by Trip Scholars

Children’s Books About Norway

If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway: A Child’s Introduction to Cultures Around the World, by Carole P. Roman

Carole P. Roman’s If You Were Me and Lived in…Norway is a charming and educational book. It takes young readers on a delightful journey to explore the daily life, culture, and traditions of Norway. This book is part of a series that introduces children to different cultures around the world. It is a perfect pick for families preparing for a trip to Norway or simply exploring global cultures from home.

Through vivid illustrations and engaging writing, Roman presents aspects of Norwegian life such as popular names, foods, and activities, making it relatable and fascinating for children. The book helps young readers imagine what it would be like to live in Norway, introducing them to concepts like the midnight sun and traditional celebrations.

For families traveling to Norway, this book is an excellent way to prepare children for the trip. It provides them with a foundational understanding of Norwegian culture, making the travel experience more meaningful and educational. Kids will enjoy recognizing elements from the book in real life, creating a connection that enhances their travel adventure.

The Best Books to Read Before Going to Norway

I hope you found the perfect books to read before your trip to Norway and that they help you make the most of your travels! Trip Scholars is committed to helping you learn more through travel, both about your destinations and about yourself. Here is a great collection of films to watch before your trip to Norway. We also have a wide range of articles to support your particular travel interests. Find advice and engaging activities on ancestry travel, family travel to Norway, to visiting stave churches and museums. We even have suggestions for crafting your trip around your favorite books!

Do you plan to visit Norway or have you in the past? Do you enjoy reading books before you travel? Have you have any favorites in this article? Tell me about it in the comments, I would love to hear!


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Visiting a Sacred Space

Nortre Dame Cathedral dramatically lit up at night

What does it mean to enter a sacred space? When people enter Notre Dame, the light falls from the colored stained glass equally upon the devout and the non-religious. The same air surrounds, cooled by stone, and the same haunting music echoes quietly among the shadows.

Even the non-religious can feel its beauty and the spark of reverence it invokes. But is there a difference for one person over the other? Both are called here because of its sanctity, perhaps neither for religious reasons per se. But it is the sanctity of the cathedral that made it such an important site for devout Christians, and it is the sanctity that caused it to be built with such splendor.

But what of large roughhewn stones standing casually in a field? Do they too hold this sanctity? Religions throughout time and across the globe have segregated special places in which people can enter and associate with the divine. The ether touches our mundane world in these sacred spaces, which are as varied in form as there are beliefs.

From towering temples to natural grottos to nothing itself, in the ephemeral sacred emptiness – the religions the world over have pointed to this place or that and have said, “Here human, here is where the veil is lifted and the divine meets us.” 

Traveling to a Sacred Space

With so much of history wrapped around religion and religious tourism being a popular travel niche, sacred sites all over have become havens for not only the spiritual, but also the curious. Sacred tours and sacred travel have been important both throughout history and in the modern age. Look on any city’s webpage for its history, archaeology, and architecture and you will see how tourism cannot help but come face to face with religion.

I am an independent historical researcher specializing in religion and mythology. My research is is featured in diverse publications, including the World History Encyclopedia and my YouTube channel. In this guest article, I extend an invitation to readers interested in traveling to sacred spaces and hope you find information and inspiration for your own visits.

But back to our original question, what does it mean to be in the presence of a holy site? How can we increase our understanding of what we are experiencing?  To start, we begin by understanding what a sacred site is and then move on to contemplating the vast diversity of form and functions of these sites worldwide.

A statue of Mary, Mother of Jesus, in a church in Bruges, Belgium. Photo by the author, April Lynn Downey. Find more of her photography at Phoenix Feather Books & Curios.

What Makes a Space Sacred?

It would be hard to have a discussion about sacred space without mentioning Rudolf Otto (1869-1937), the German philosopher and theologian, and Mircea Eliade (1907-1986), the Romanian historian of religion. They are both very influential in this topic. 

Rudolf Otto traveled the world to explore ways in which religion manifested itself across the diversity of cultures. He came to call the Deity “the Wholly Other”. He sought to explain the meaning of holy and its contrast with the everyday world, the mundane.

Numinous Spaces

Otto created the term “numinous” which stems from the Latin word numen meaning “god”, “spirit”, or divine”. When a place feels numinous, the holy comes forth and that place is a separate space from the regular world. It is where people have had or can have a hierophany – a revelation of the divine reality. This is no small thing. Whether one believes in the literal event or not, the real-world consequences of such events are both apparent and common.

Axis Mundi

Mircea Eliade added to the conversation of what is a sacred space and what is ordinary. He coined the term axis mundi – meaning, the axis of the world. It is a place where the underworld, the earth, and heaven are connected through a sacred, central pillar – such as a tree, a pole, a mountain, an altar, or a temple. The cosmos turns around this axis.

A famous example of these pillars are Yggdrasil the cosmic tree of Norse mythology. Another is the Kaaba the most holy of Islamic temples, around which pilgrims circumambulate. An imago mundi is a representation of the rest of the cosmos around the axis, such as a city being built outward from the temple.

Voodoo Alter in New Orleans. Photo by April Lynn Downey. Find more of her travel photography at Phoenix Feather Books & Curios.

Sacred Emptiness

Another religious term to acknowledge is sacred emptiness. It is a deliberately empty space – void of anything mundane claiming to be a representation of God – in which the divine is given room to manifest. Here it is not the building, alter, statue, or natural feature that emanates the divine, but the lack thereof.

This idea also turns up more esoterically in certain mystic and religious practices where one empties their mind. This allows the Ultimate Reality to be revealed internally. Similarly, one can also explore the nature of God through apophatic theology. This is defining God through negation, what God is not: “God is not X. God is not Y.”

The most famous and dazzling example of sacred emptiness was in the Holy of Holies, the inner most chamber of Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem. The God of Abraham would become the one God of the world’s three great monotheistic religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. And in His highly adorned temple of gold and copper, bull and cherubim iconography, and sacrificial smoke, his throne room laid nearly empty. Two magnificent cherubim with outstretched wings guarded the Holy of Holies, the meeting place of the Lord, who was symbolized as nothing. No image, no symbol, no statue. The God of Abraham was too great.

The Diversity of Sacred Sites Around the World

From the grandest structures ever created to simple private shrines in a home, cultures the world over have set aside spaces to be special, sacred, and where the Wholly Other can be experienced. Of course, no one can miss how churches fall into the category of sacred space, but the sacred isn’t always so obvious.

Let’s take a brief saunter around the world to see the diversity of sacred spaces where human spirituality has been expressed.

Hindu Temples and Shrines

The Kodandarama Temple, a major Hindu temple at Vontimitta. Photo by P. Madhusudan, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

There is no one Hindu religion; it is a complex network of varied traditions, practices, and mythologies. How a Hindu person practices their religion is often determined by their denomination and ethnicity, or their sampradaya. This a tradition focused on a specific deity.

Sometimes a mandir (temple) will be a sanatana (Sanskrit) or sanatan (Hindi) temple. This means it is ecumenical and appropriate for Hindu worship from any tradition. Hindu temples are famous for being large, grand structures with intricate ornamentation and carvings. Worship can also be done at small private shrines within the home. These shrines sometimes take up an entire room dedicated to worship, but can be also be on small shelves or in cupboards.

Whether at home or in a mandir, worship can consist of praying, singing, mantras, incense, food offerings, and caring for idols. All these types of sacred spaces in Hinduism are called devalaya, or “God’s abode”. Here devotees experience darshan – the beneficial act of being in the presence of a god and looking into each other’s eyes. For this reason, both temples and shrines include statues and/or pictures of deities.

These spaces must remain shuddh – “pure”. Hindus must be careful not to pollute their god’s space. For example, they perform ritual purification before worship. Also, a temple priest will not perform funerals. This is because funerals are considered contaminating and require a specialist to perform the function. It is important to understand and respect Hinduism’s emphasis on purity when visiting their holy places. 

A Srividya adept practicing a Tantric ritual at his home shrine in Kerala, India. Photo by Devi bhakta, via Wikimedia Commons, public domain

Ancient Standing Stones

Erected 5,000 years ago, the Calanais Standing Stones on the Isle of Lewis in Scotland are an amazing Neolithic site thought to have possibly been an astronomical observatory. Photo by Thilo Rose via Wikicommons, public domain.

Next, we turn to an extremely ancient form of sacred site – standing stones. Stonehenge is most likely the image that comes to most people’s minds when talking about standing stones. But did you know that they were used across the world in even much older times for religious and ritual purposes?

Standing stones from across the world are often monumental and were moved into place with a great deal of effort (although many are more petite). Standing stones are often aligned with astronomical events, such as the solstices or equinoxes. 

Massebot

One example of these is the ancient Near East’s massebot. Massebot are standing stones of different shapes but are often semi-elliptical.  None of them have anthropomorphic details.

They have been found in open air sanctuaries and in temples and temple courtyards all over the Levant, including Arad, Lachish, the Bull Site in Manasseh, Dan, Tirzah, and Hazor along with hundreds of sites throughout the Negeb and Sinai. Their use spanned millennia, starting in the Mesolithic Period and going through the 8th century CE.

Massebot stood as single stones or in groups, often of two, three, and seven. These are common numbers for deity groupings in the ancient Near East. They are an example of aniconism. They did not represent a physical likeness of a deity but still call upon the deity’s presence. You can read more about the ancient religion of Israel here.

A scaled down recreation of the massebot (standing stones) at the Orthostat Temple in Tel Hazor, Israel. The archaeological site is from the 15th-13th century BCE.  Photo by Gary Todd via Wikimedia Commons, public domain.

The Labyrinth

The symbol of the labyrinth goes far back in antiquity, back to the Neolithic period.

However, the oldest known constructed labyrinth was in Hawara, Egypt. Flinders Petrie discovered the site of this labyrinth in 1886. Long before this discovery, it had been deconstructed, and it’s building material repurposed. However, in its day, this labyrinth was quite awe-inspiring to see. The Greek historian Strabo considered it comparably impressive to the pyramids.

Another famous labyrinth is the Minotaur’s on the island of Crete in Greece. This story is believed to have sparked from the complicated palace of Knossos built by the Minoans on the northern side of the island.

Palace of Knossos and legendary location of the Minotaur’s Labyrinth on Crete, Greece. Photo by Trip Scholars.

The Labyrinth as a Journey

But here and elsewhere throughout humanity, the labyrinth was not a temple for a god, but represented another aspect of human spirituality. It is not just a place but also a period of time, a journey. The labyrinth carves out a space where one embarks on a journey of self-knowledge, meditation, and life and death. One comes to the end changed, no longer the same person who entered.

This concept has pervaded human contemplation for many millennia. Mircea Eliade explained that labyrinths are archetypes associated with initiation rites and the cycle of nature. They are the gateway between life and death.

Carl Jung believed that the labyrinth was a symbol for personal growth and for the process of connecting the internal self and the outer. He states in his Stages of Life, “The meaning and purpose of a problem seem to lie not in its solution but in our working at it incessantly.” As one would go through a labyrinth, it is the journey not the destination.

The Tahkuna stone labyrinth on the island of Hiiumaa, Estonia. Photo by HendrixEesti via Wikicommons, public domain.

Reasons for Labyrinths

Labyrinths have been used for many things, such as protection and magic. Fisherman in Nordic cultures used to walk stone labyrinths called Trojaborgs before setting out to sea. This was thought to increase their luck and to restrain bad spirits and trolls within their walls. Churches used carvings of mazes for protection.

They were apart of Native American, Northern European, Asian, and African cultures, among many others. Labyrinths are still being constructed today, as paths for self-discovery and meditation. This is because the concept of this winding journey has had such a visceral impact on the human psyche.

The First Central Presbyterian Church Meditation & Community Garden and Walking Labyrinth, Abilene, Texas. Photo by Michael Barera via Wikicommons, public domain.

The Devil’s Tower

The Devil’s Tower in Wyoming. Photo by Colin Faulkingham via Wikicommons, public domain.

The Devil’s Tower in Wyoming is an example of how sacred space and modern entertainments can collide in an unfortunate way. While many churches and temples around the world have learned to blend tourism into their daily routines, sometimes benefiting from the revenue, the Devil’s Tower is a point of contention.

The 867-foot-high natural rock tower, formed from a volcanic intrusion, has became a United States National Monument. But for many Plains Native Americans, its significance reaches far back in time and is an enduring sacred site. The Arapahoe, Cheyenne, Crow, Kiowa, and Lakota all have similar stories with differing details about the creation of the tower, called Bear Lodge or Bear Tipi.

In each of these stories, the Great Spirit saved people from a bear attack by causing the rock to rise up and lift the people high into the air. The bears trying to reach those on top scratched the sides, causing the striation lines we see. The Lakota people call it Mato Tipila and still go to the natural wonder today to worship in this sacred space.

Managing a Sacred Space and Public Use

They have the misfortune of having to share this popular monument with climbers. The Bear Lodge is a great place for mountain climbers, but unfortunately the climbing peak season is in June which also happens to be an important religious month for the Lakota.

Lakota come to the tower to worship amid the athletes enjoying the spectacular views from this unique natural structure. Since 1996, the National Park Service has asked visitors to not climb the tower in June, although following this request is voluntary. While this does not let the Lakota worship in complete privacy, it has significantly reduced the number of climbers during their sacred month.

Should we favor the public’s enjoyment of one of the nation’s great natural wonders or defer to a relatively small population’s religion? Perhaps with just a bit more voluntary respect, we won’t have to choose. 

Visiting a Sacred Space

The concept of spirituality and religion is uniquely human. While many animals value the lives of themselves and their companions, humans alone on this planet attempt to reach out beyond the physical realm and touch the sacred.

This practice goes far back into our past, back to our very early ancestors, at least over 30,000 years ago. Some speculate religion sprung from a desire to explain the seemingly unexplainable forces of nature. Some say that psychedelics may have played a part in sparking that first initial religious flame. Others believe it was our literal souls that were inspired to seek the truth, an innate and natural drive humanity has within. Whatever religion’s first cause, the history of the world has been animated by people’s ardent feeling of spirituality.

When we travel to places of spiritual significance, we become a part of their story – whether still visited by devoted practitioners or abandoned long ago as an artifact of time. Each of these places continue its journey through history as edifices of humanity’s distinctiveness and our call to the unknown and the unknowable.  

What sacred spaces have you visited that have impacted you? Tell us about in the comments, we would love to hear.


This Guest Post was contributed by April Lynn Downey, M.A.

Follow April Lynn Downey on YouTube and at Phoenix and Feather Books and Curios Store – a fascinating online store and a portal to educational articles, historical consulting services, and a quarterly newsletter called Journal of Tales.

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Tips For Visiting a Museum With Kids

One of the greatest experiences in life is witnessing a child’s excitement about the world. And museums hold some of the world’s greatest treasures, offering countless opportunities to ignite that wonder. Exploring museums with children can be enriching and educational experiences for the whole family. But, they can also be stressful and challenging to plan. In this post, you will find lots of valuable tips for visiting a museum with kids to keep it fun, engaging, educational, and low stress.

I am a travel education specialist and have over three decades of experience as an educator, spanning roles as a public school teacher, director of a private school, and as a homeschool parent, teacher, and program founder. I am also the founder of Trip Scholars and have a deep passion for learning through travel. 

Photo by Urbancow from Canva Pro

Museum visits can be highlights of many trips, even more so when they are shared as a family. I’ve visited many museums with kids of all ages and want to offer my best tips to help you craft a visit that is not only stress-free and enjoyable but also profoundly meaningful. I’ve also done the research so that I can share practical tips for visiting a museum with kids that are applicable before, during, and after your excursion.

These tips are meant to make your trip easier and more impactful, but don’t feel like you need to include all of these tips. Find the ones that work for your family and plan your visit. The most important thing is just to go visit a museum and enjoy yourselves!

This post is specific to families. Check out the article Museum Tips: How To Make the Most of Visiting a Museum for lots of ideas for saving money, skipping the line, deciding on tours, and much more.

Before You Go: Tips for Visiting a Museum With Kids

Choose Your Museum

Photo by Trip Scholars

Keep in mind your child’s interests and your own hopes for the visit. Many large cities have children’s museums that are specifically created for kids. These can be a great place to start because children are free to interact with the exhibits and their enthusiasm is welcome. 

After these initial visits, look for museums that match up well with what your child is interested in. Whether it is science, nature, history, music, pinball machines, or spies– there is an amazing array of museums to choose from! Starting with museums that will naturally engage your child sets the tone for museums being treasured and important outings in your family.

Once your family has a culture of museums being joyful and interesting excursions, you can branch out to other types of museums that might stretch family members a little more. 

Of course, if you still have a babe in arms, you can enjoy museum visits as you have in the past, just maybe a little shorter!

Visit the Website

Photo by Trip Scholars

Before heading to the museum, take some time to plan your visit. Identify a few age-appropriate sections for your children and consider creating an itinerary. This not only helps in managing time but also ensures that the visit aligns with your kids’ interests.

You will also alleviate stress by planning in advance  things like parking, public transportation options, food options, ticket costs and discounts, and avoiding crowds and lines.

Build Interest and Excitement

Photo by Trip Scholars

One of the best tips for visiting a museum with kids is to get them on board with the museum visit by nurturing their curiosity and excitement before you even arrive.

Many museums have a section of their website for educators and parents. You will likely find activities you can do at home and at the museum. Even if you don’t want to do these activities, you will get some great ideas about questions to ask your kids (and yourself!) to enhance the experience. 

Use books, movies, games, timelines, art projects, and more to help them learn about some of the exhibits. As their interest grows, ask them what they want to see in person and, for older kids, let them help with some of the planning. Trip Scholars is dedicated to helping travelers find these resources and you will find many ideas for families throughout the site.

We also have a free guide for parents offering step-by-step suggestions for making this as enjoyable and engaging as possible. You can get your free copy here.

Set the Stage

Discuss the visit with your children before you arrive and set realistic expectations. Explain the importance of following the guidelines of the museum. For example, if they are not allowed to touch exhibits, tell them you will also visit the kid’s section where they have lots of items to play with. Or ,let them know that you are excited to talk with them about what you see, but that you will all need to talk quietly while in the building. 

Pack Essentials

Photo by RichLegg from Canva Pro

For the most stress free visit, make sure everyone is well rested and well fed before you arrive. As busy parents, we’ve all been there! Especially when we are traveling and are trying to pack a lot into a short time. But, and I speak from experience, it is much better to shorten the museum trip than to try and get tired or hungry kids to have a peaceful visit. 

To minimize these challenges, grab snacks in the car or take advantage of the museum’s cafe. Let younger kids nap in their sling or stroller while visiting.

Arrive Well Rested and Fed

Improve your visit by packing essentials such as water and snacks. Some museums offer a place for visitors to enjoy their own food from home, which can save a lot of money.  Also pack any necessary items for young children like diapers or a change of clothes. Ensure you have a comfortable stroller if needed, just double check the size stroller that is allowed. 

While You Are There: Tips for Visiting a Museum With Kids

Enjoy Your Visit

Photo by Trip Scholars

While you are visiting the museum, enjoy the wonder and curiosity of your child. If you have done some planning in advance, head to those areas of the museum. Otherwise, let your child lead for a while and see what interests them.

If they are disinterested, there are a number of things to try. First consider finding interactive areas of the museum where children can move their bodies to touch and experience the exhibits with multiple senses. Consider some of the questions below, allowing them to naturally lead to further questions or areas at the museum to visit. You can also try one or more of the activities shared below. 

Ask Questions

Photo by 74Images from Canva Pro

Encourage curiosity by asking open-ended questions about the exhibits. This not only enhances your child’s critical thinking skills, creativity, and empathy but also fosters a deeper connection between you. 

For  young children you can ask questions like what do you see and can you find something red? As children get older, consider some of the open ended questions below. Keep it relaxed, there is no right answer. Enjoy the thoughtful conversation and connections that it brings.

Questions for Museums with Kids

  1. How does this piece make you feel?
  2. What does it remind you of?
  3. What do you think the artist was feeling or thinking when they made the piece?
  4. If you were a character in this painting/exhibit, what would your story be?
  5. What caught your attention the most in this exhibit?
  6. How do you think this was used in the past?
  7. What do you imagine life was like during the time period depicted in this display? 
  8. How do you think (a particular scientific phenomenon) works based on what we’ve seen here?
  9. Can you help me better understand this?
  10. What questions do you have about (a specific topic) now that we’ve seen this?
  11. How does this exhibit relate to what we’ve been talking about in school or at home?
  12. What has been your favorite so far?
  13. Why do you think this is important for people to see and learn from?

Museum Activities with Kids

Photo by ASphotofamily from Canva Pro

To ensure your visit is not just educational but also full of fun, we’ve curated a list of playful activities to captivate your little ones throughout the museum journey.

Many museums will have a section of the website dedicated to educators and parents. You will likely find some engaging activities on this page. When you arrive at the museum, you can also ask at the front desk about activities. Some will have a booklet or game for kids, often with different versions for different ages. 

Here are some other options.

Photo by Trip Scholars

1. Museum Scavenger Hunt

Transform the museum visit into a quest by creating a scavenger hunt. Before arriving, prepare a list of items or features to find within the exhibits. It could be as simple as spotting specific colors, shapes, or themes. Provide each child with their scavenger hunt list and watch as their curiosity grows with each discovery.

2. Sketching

Encourage your budding artists to bring along a sketchpad and pencils. Set aside time in various rooms for them to sketch what captures their imagination. This can be a valuable activity to continue at home.

3. Nature Journaling

If your budding naturalist is already using a nature journal, natural history museums and gardens can be a wonderful place to continue the practice. If you are interested in getting started here is a great article.

4. Storytelling 

Engage your children’s creativity by encouraging them to craft stories inspired by the exhibits. What tales might unfold behind ancient artifacts or paintings? This activity not only stimulates imagination but also deepens their connection to the historical or artistic elements on display.

5. Museum Bingo

Create a customized Bingo card featuring sites commonly found in the museum, such as a specific artifact, a type of artwork, or a particular theme. As you explore, children can mark off items on their cards. 

6. Photography

Photo by Trip Scholars

Bring along a camera or use your smartphone to capture memorable moments throughout the museum. Encourage your children to take photos of their favorite exhibits or interesting artifacts. Back home, they can share their photos and stories with an online photo album, a slide show to share with the family, or through their favorite creative endeavor.

10. Expressive Movement

Depending on the museum, consider encouraging expressive movement. Encourage them to mimic the poses of statues or imitate the motions suggested by artworks. This not only releases pent-up energy but also fosters a kinesthetic connection to the exhibits. You might want to check with a docent first– we were once told to stop!

Making Memories in Museums

By combining education with entertainment, you’ll not only spark curiosity but also create lasting memories for your children. 

Beware of Sensory Overload

Photo by Trip Scholars

Museums, especially children’s museums, can be overstimulating for many kids and grownups. If this is a concern, check the museum’s website to see if they offer low stimulation times where extraneous sounds are removed, lighting is dimmed, and crowds are kept to a minimum. Some even offer headphones, earplugs, and other helpful items.

If that isn’t an option, plan your visit to avoid peak times so there are fewer people. Often this will be mid-week and outside of holiday seasons. Keep in mind that many school groups take field trips to museums and bring large crowds. By arriving in the early afternoon on a school day, you will likely get there just as those groups are leaving. School field trips are often much more frequent at the end of the school year rather than the beginning, so fall is better than late spring.

Take Breaks 

Photo by Gyuszko from Canva Pro

Recognize the attention span of your children and plan breaks. Many museums have outdoor spaces or designated rest areas. Some cafes are especially child friendly. Use this time to review what you’ve seen, have a snack, and let the kids stretch their legs.

Another option for breaks are presentations, films, planetarium shows, and other events where you can all sit down for a while. Check the schedule when you arrive. 

When you notice energy flagging or stress building, it’s likely time to leave and save the rest for next time.

After Your Visit: Tips for Visiting a Museum with Kids

Photo by Trip Scholars

Extend Curiosity at Home

Once you’ve left the museum, take some time to reflect on the visit with your children. Discuss their favorite exhibits, what they learned, and answer any questions they may have. 

Continue the learning experience at home by exploring more about the topics covered in the museum. This is a primary focus at Trip Scholars and you can find many engaging ideas in my free guide: the Busy Parent’s 5 Step Guide to More Meaningful Trips. Although it is intended for extended trips, most of the advice is great for visiting individual sites and museums too!  Another great place for ideas is this post. Finally, I serve families as a certified travel education coach and love supporting parents in finding ways to kindle their children’s curiosity. You can learn more here.

Camps, Classes, Overnights, Memberships, and Volunteering

Photo by Trip Scholars

Most museums offer camps, classes, and memberships. If the trip was exceptionally inspiring, consider deepening your relationship with the museum if you live nearby. 

Camps and classes are often highly engaging for motivated kids. The costs can be high, so always consider applying for scholarships if they are prohibitive. 

Many museums also offer memberships so you can revisit multiple times in a year, letting your kids dive deep into exhibits and spend a long time with what is most interesting to them. Membership often includes special events such as previews of new exhibits, guest lectures, and sleepovers. These events help kids genuinely treasure the museum and can create lifelong memories for families. 

Finally, if your older child is exceptionally interested and you live nearby, consider becoming a volunteer. Some museums will have an established program available for teens and some may require the parent to be the main volunteer with the child assisting. This is a much bigger undertaking, but can be transformative in a child’s life.

Visiting a Museum With Kids

Photo by Trip Scholars

Looking for more tips about visiting museums like how to save money, skip the line, decide on tours, and much more? Check out the article Museum Tips: How To Make the Most of Visiting a Museum.

By following these tips about visiting a museum with kids, you can turn a visit to the museum into a memorable and educational adventure for your family. The key is to plan ahead, engage actively during the visit, and reflect on the experience afterward. With the right approach, a trip to the museum can be a transformative and enjoyable experience for both parents and kids alike.

What are your favorite things about visiting a museum with children? What have been your challenges? Let us know in the comments, I’d love to hear and help you find solutions if you have questions!

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Why I Travel: 25+ Travelers Share What Inspires Them

When we ask ourselves, why I travel, the reasons are varied and fascinating. Our intentions and motivations are often different for each trip and most travels encompass multiple whys. To explore this idea further, I asked other travel writers to each share their answer to, why I travel. They all have multiple reasons, but shared just one of their favorites here.

In this article, we will start with some questions we can use to dive into our own whys. Then we share short stories about why others travel. The motivations fall into three general categories that are expanded below: to learn more about the world, to learn more about ourselves, and to connect more with others. I encourage you to use these stories as a jumping off place as you reflect on your own reasons for traveling.

Let’s dive into the fascinating world of why we travel!

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Questions to Explore, “Why I Travel”

When you consider your own travels, both past and future, ask yourself why you travel. What are your intentions and hopes about your next trip and the travel lifestyle you are aspiring towards? Stay curious about yourself as you dig deeper into these questions and let your answers guide you in planning your trips.

Here are some questions to ask yourself.

  • What have I most appreciated about my past travels?
  • How is my life better because of my travels?
  • How have I grown and changed from my past travels?
  • What have I overcome through my past travels?
  • What have I learned about myself through my past travels?
  • How have I better connected with others through travel?
  • What am I most looking forward to about an upcoming trip?
  • What intentions do I want to set for my upcoming trip?
  • What is my ideal travel lifestyle?

These questions are only the beginning. I encourage you to continue exploring them through contemplation, journaling, conversation, or working with a travel coach like myself. By engaging in this self reflection we can make travel plans, as well as life choices, deeply in alignment with our values and intentions. And that can make all the difference!

Why I Travel: To Learn More About the World

To Experience Art

Photo by Waves and Cobblestones

One of my favorite things to do when I travel to new places is to visit a museum.  It’s so awe-inspiring to view famous works of art up close.

When I was in Rome, I was amazed by the painting by Michelangelo on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.  But I also loved my visit to the Borghese Gallery, where I was able to take my time viewing stunning sculptures by Bernini.  Be sure to look from all angles to appreciate the lifelike details!

Don’t like classical art?  No problem!  There are museums that cover every interest.   One of the most popular museums in Lyon is the Cinema and Miniatures Museum.  It’s a unique combination of props and special effects from blockbuster films, along with an impressive collection of miniature models in 1/12th scale.

Sometimes the museum experience is diminished by people who aren’t there to appreciate the art, but to just get a selfie in front of it.  Don’t be the person at the Louvre taking a selfie with the Mona Lisa!

So, on your next trip, plan a museum visit.  It’s the perfect way to spend an afternoon — especially if rain is in the forecast!

Contributed by Lisa Garrett at Travel to Lyon

To Learn About History

Photo by Tiny Footsteps Travel

One reason I travel is to learn, and also teach my kids, about history. Being able to learn about history through real-life visuals and experiences promotes more understanding and appreciation for their significance.

Many of us have heard of famous buildings in Italy such as the Colosseum in Rome, or the Leaning Tower of Pisa, but seeing them in-person allows you a deeper knowledge of why they were built and appreciation for who built them, and those who once used these buildings in their daily lives.

Learning about history first-hand when travelling leaves us with more empathy for people that came before us, and a greater appreciation for the technologies and societies that we live in today. 

No matter where you go, there will be history there; possibly history that you didn’t realize existed. Here are some ways to learn more about history from traveling.

  • Take a walking tour. Walking tours are a great way to get an introduction to an area’s local history. 
  • Take a guided tour of a museum or old landmark. Tour guides often have a more in depth level of knowledge than what you can read about from a pamphlet and can give you lots of great information
  • Read a historical fiction book that takes place in the place you’re travelling to before you go. This can give you inspiration of old landmarks you might want to see

Contributed by Kristen at Tiny Footsteps Travel

To Provide Our Child With a Unique Education

Hobbitenango in Antigua, Guatemala, photo by Our Offbeat Life

Traveling is more than just an escape or break from daily life; it’s our lifestyle, passion, and most importantly, our classroom. As digital nomads, our family has chosen this path for the freedom it brings and the unique global education it provides our son.

The world is our teacher. Through full-time travel, our son learns geography by exploring different lands, history through ancient monuments, and culture by immersing himself in local customs and cuisine. Language is acquired through genuine conversations, not textbooks.

We don’t just show our son pictures of landmarks; we take him there. These experiences bring lessons to life in ways traditional classrooms cannot. And the best part? We learn and experience these amazing things right alongside him.

But it’s not just about the destinations; the journey matters too. Travel teaches patience, resilience, and adaptability – invaluable lessons hard to teach in a classroom.

Contributed by Brodi Cole of Our Offbeat Life

To Try New Food and Drink

Photo by Travel Compositions

One of the reasons why I travel is to expand my palate and try new foods. Discovering what other countries eat on a normal basis and how they flavor their foods is just as interesting to me as visiting their famous historical sites.

I’m all about having a “when in Rome” mentality when it comes to trying foods while traveling. When in Scotland, I tried a haggis sandwich. When in Hawaii, I tried sea urchin with my poke. When in Costa Rica, I tried swordfish ceviche. 

Visiting a grocery store in another country is an attraction in and of itself. It’s fun to see what locals buy for their meals and then find new foods for myself to try that might become a new favorite. Like Ribena, a blackcurrant juice, is something I always crave now.

Besides trying the country’s own foods, eating at ethnic restaurants is also a way of broadening my tastebud’s horizons. Indian food in the UK tastes different than in the US. Or even a McDonald’s hamburger tastes different in France than the US. 

Traveling with a food or drink theme can also help plan my travel itinerary. On my beer themed trip through Germany, I visited off the beaten path destinations just to try a specific beer.

Contributed by Tabitha at Travel Compositions

To Research

Photo by Past Lane Travels

As an author of historical fiction novels set during the Civil War, I started traveling to battlefields, museums and historical sites for research. My readers loved discovering these off-the-beaten-path sites so much that I started to focus on the travel as much as the research. Now, no matter where I go when I travel, I search out the little-known history of the area.

During a recent family beach vacation, I discovered an old fort that was built to defend the coast against pirates. Since the fort was the site of a Civil War battle, it was like finding a treasure from the past, hidden in plain sight.

Everyone can look for hidden gems while traveling and enhance their trips with, history, mystery and new discoveries. For me, these outings into the past have proven to be, not just enjoyable and educational, but also instrumental in crafting authentic, award-winning fiction.

Contributed by Jessica James at Past Lane Travels 

To See Natural Landscapes

Lake Ohrid, North Macedonia looking towards Albania, photo by Map Made Memories

We are fortunate to live in a part of the U.K where we have hills and valleys on our doorstep. However, one of the main reasons we travel is to show our children the diverse natural landscapes that the world has to offer. 

We have taken our children to the snow capped Andes in Patagonia, to glaciers in Switzerland, to waterfalls in Iceland and to Australia’s arid inland. We have snorkelled on coral reefs in Samoa, crossed Lake Ohrid in North Macedonia by boat, ridden bikes on the Mongolian Steppe, hiked in the rainforests of Costa Rica and dipped our toes in Lake Baikal, the deepest and largest freshwater lake in the world. Our highlights include visiting Iguazu Falls in Argentina and seeing lava in Hawaii. 

As hoped for, our experiences have molded our children into eco-minded, outdoor orientated individuals. I recommend varying the natural landscapes you see on your travels: it will keep travel fresh but can also impact on your lifestyle and activities at home. Why not try something new next time? Next stop for us is the desert! 

Contributed by Sinead from Map Made Memories

To See Wildlife

Corcovado National Park, Photo by Sally Sees

One reason why I travel is because when I think back to my most treasured travel memories, many of them revolve around wildlife. 

Our world is full of so many fascinating creatures of all shapes and sizes, and travelling across the globe to chance an encounter is one of the main reasons I travel. 

Wildlife watching is slow and thrilling at the same time. It requires a lot of patience. 

There is no guarantee you will ever see an animal out in the wild, but the excitement you get when you finally spot something is electrifying! I have been lucky enough to have many exciting animal encounters around the world, both on land and sea. 

From friendly grey whales in Mexico, swimming with manatees in Belize, seeing orangutans in Borneo and hiking deep into Corcovado National Park in Costa Rica, the most biodiverse place on earth, to spy anteaters and tapirs. 

Each encounter has left me humbled and grateful for the beautiful planet we call home. 

You can add a wildlife-watching element to any destination! Next time you’re planning a trip, take some time to research any native animals found in that country. Any trip that includes wildlife tourism also requires research about our impact on the animals and the ethical practices of any tour groups or guides we work with.

You’ll need to work out the best time to see the animals (some are migratory or seasonal) and where to view them. Some animals can be seen independently, like hiking through national parks, while others require guided experiences like whale watching tours, snorkel or dive excursion or guided walks. 

Contributed by Sally at Sally Sees

To Experience Cultural Events and Holidays

Buddhist Monks in Thailand, Photo by The World Overload

Part of the reason we travel is to experience other cultures, especially when it comes to holidays and cultural events. Each country showcases it’s unique traditions in fascinating ways that we should all experience at least once in our lives. It helps to enrich us in ways we didn’t even know was possible.

I learned this while on my own travels. While in Norway, I was able to celebrate their Independence Day. I not only learned the history of the holiday but also how it’s celebrated with the particular Russefeiring tradition. It’s amazing to see how similar yet so different the normal customs can be in other countries.

It also helps to increase your knowledge and spirituality. In Thailand, Iparticipated in the Tak Bak ceremony with Buddhist Monks. I felt myself spiritually elevated even though it is not my religion of choice. The excitement of just being there and having the opportunity makes me want to travel more.

Incorporate this into your traveling by researching your destination. Find out if there are any national holidays or even just local unknown holidays or events for that region you are visiting. You may be surprised by the gems of other cultures you can find.

Contributed by Nick at The World Overload

To Experience the Wonder of Other Cultures

Cappadocia in Turkey, photo by Happy Little Rover

I travel to experience the incredible wonders of other cultures across the world. From wandering through ancient temple complexes in Chiang Mai to exploring the bustling Spice Bazaar in Istanbul, there are so many sights, sounds and tastes to be savoured. And there’s no better way to immerse yourself in the local culture of another country or region than to visit and delight your senses.

Most of my favourite travel memories revolve around cultural experiences, like being taught how to say thank you in Turkish by the sweetest lady while pouring tea into a tiny, tulip shaped glass. Or seeing the amused reactions of my newfound friends as I tried the salty yoghurt concoction of ayran for the first time.

My best travel tip for experiencing new cultures is to go in with an open mind and respect for the local inhabitants of your destination. Try to go with tours and experiences that are run by locals as opposed to external companies where possible. Learning a few simple phrases of the language and doing a bit of research before you embark will pay off dividends during your travels.  

Contributed by Jenelle Ryan at Happy Little Rover

To Better Understand the Culture of My Own Country

Lord of the Miracles Festival (El Señor de los Milagros) in Peru, Photo by I Travel Peru

I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to travel to more than thirty countries. As a child and before getting to know my own country well I had already visited several places abroad and thought they were much nicer than where I live. Because we are so used to where we are from, it’s easy to take all that our country has to offer for granted. However, the more one gets to know a certain place, the more it has the potential to become the most interesting and prettiest of all.

The more I have traveled throughout the years around my country, Peru, and gotten to know the unique traditions of certain regions, some of the hundreds of the Peruvian festivals there are, the beliefs in the natural deities,and the connections people form with them, the stories that the patterns of every textile in every traditional clothing item have to tell, I appreciate it more and more.

That’s why I travel: to keep discovering my own culture and traditions and to keep falling in love with my own country. I invite you to do this as well.

Contributed by Sharon at I Travel Peru

To Tell Stories Through Photography

Photo by Fleurty Girl Travels

Travel photographs are more than just memories of past vacations and trips. By capturing small glimpses into other cultures, history, communities, and social situations, travel photographs tell a story about a place I’ve visited. Often, travel photos will spark a memory of where I was in my life, which allows me to reflect on my own personal journey. 

In this digital world, it’s also beneficial to be able to instantly view pictures while I’m telling a story about a destination.  

I take photographs with my phone camera, an action camera, and a drone. The drone shots are my favorite and come with some challenges, like, the availability to fly in a location and avoiding obstacles.

One of my favorite tools is my tripod selfie stick. I love the flexibility of being able to get the lens down low or sticking up over a crowd. Thankfully, our phone cameras have such great technology and quality, that I can leave my cumbersome DSLR camera at home. This was a tough transition for me, but I’m glad to have the extra room in my carry-on!

Contributed by Stephanie at FleurtyGirlTravels

Why I Travel: To Learn More About Myself

To Challenge Myself and Gain Confidence

Traveling solo, Photo by Periodic Adventures

I have been traveling since I was a kid. Whether I realized it at the time or not, the exposure to the unfamiliar that one can only get while traveling was challenging me to push my boundaries and gain confidence in myself.

Now, I continue to travel as an adult and find that travel still has that incredible effect on me.

For example, it can be quite intimidating to overcome language barriers, navigate the intricacies of the European train system, or even figure out what to order at a restaurant. But, once you do it, even if you stumble through greatly, you did it. It’s done, which means you are capable of doing that and more! This always makes me more confident in myself and my capabilities.

Not to mention, this type of confidence translates directly to my experience at home. Navigating to a new place in town, being unaware of a parking situation, or simply calling to make a doctor appointment – while these may have induced some anxieties in the past, my confidence boost because of traveling makes things like this a breeze!

Contributed by Alanna from Periodic Adventures

To Cultivate a Healthy Perspective

Seljalandsfoss Waterfall, Iceland, Photo by Gather and Go Travel

In daily life, it is easy to get caught up in the never-ending to-do lists related to work, family obligations, or home management. Then, double down that with interpersonal dramas or conflicts, which can often feel larger than life. 

Travel, especially to beautiful places, offers a way to step away and get respite from both. And it is one of the many reasons I love to travel, even when I feel like I cannot go because my responsibilities are too pressing. Or people are too dependent on me. 

By leaving home and all its detailed demands behind, I can carve out a separate space to get out of my head, forming a buffer between me, my obligations, and the stories I tell myself. 

This physical distance creates a place for perspective. And when I get to combine this with the beauty that I see while traveling, whether from an awe-inspiring structure, like the Hallgrímskirkja in Reykjavik, Iceland, or the Seljalandsfoss waterfall later on the same trip, I get a feeling of lift. Essentially—an elevated reminder of how insubstantial my problems are. And of how big, beautiful, and impressive the world can be and how grateful I am to be able to bear witness to it. 

Contributed by Janice Moskoff of Gather And Go Travel

To Have Adventures in Nature

New Zealand, Photo by New Zealand South Island Travel Insider Guide

I travel to have adventures in nature because it’s where I feel most alive. The feeling of being surrounded by the beauty of the natural world is beyond words. 

Many adventures in nature have left me in awe and made me realize there are endless natural wonders to explore and discover in this world.

Exploring rainforest trails is always the highlight of my trips. However, I also enjoy indulging in water sports, such as kayaking, snorkelling, swimming in waterfalls or cruising through majestic waterways, as they allow me to connect with nature. 

Nature adventures like hiking and other outdoor activities allow me to disconnect from everyday life stresses, enhance my mood and health and relax.

To incorporate more nature into your life, you can start by exploring a local reserve or botanical garden.

Adventures in nature offer so many diverse experiences, from animal encounters such as horseback riding or wildlife watching to extreme activities for adrenaline junkies such as bungee jumping, caving, skiing, cycling, ziplining, hang gliding, and skydiving. 

Additionally, there are leisurely experiences such as nature photography, stargazing, hot air ballooning, nature meditation, yoga, and camping.

Have an adventure in nature, embrace the unknown, and enjoy the journey. Experiences in nature can often become the most memorable highlight of a trip.

Contributed by Oli at New Zealand South Island Travel Insider Guide

To Relax

Coastline in Bali, Photo by GuideYourTravel

Travel, for me, is an escape into tranquillity, a journey to unwind the knots of everyday stress. Amidst the hustle of life, I seek solace in the art of relaxation that different destinations offer. One vivid memory takes me to the beaches of Bali, where the gentle lull of the waves became a soothing melody, and the rustling palms painted a serene backdrop. It was there that I discovered the rejuvenating power of disconnecting, embracing the simplicity of a quiet moment.

For those yearning to incorporate relaxation into their travels, consider destinations like the Maldives or the Amalfi Coast, where the rhythm of nature sets the pace. Embrace local spa traditions or simply find a quiet spot to be present and still.

Travel, for me, is a ritual of self-care. It’s about finding balance amid chaos and returning home not just with memories but with a renewed spirit. So, let your next adventure be a gentle embrace, a journey to relax and reconnect with yourself.

Contributed by Victoria from GuideYourTravel

To Better Understand Myself

Namibia, Photo by Two Empty Passports

Traveling has been my ultimate teacher, pushing me to learn more about myself than any classroom ever could. Whether it is exploring for adventure, curiosity, or relaxation, each journey is a lesson in resilience, independence, and self-discovery.

I live with chronic pain and fatigue, so travel comes with additional challenges. I have had to learn how to survive air travel, modify my activities, and adjust my travel style to fit each destination. But I have experiences and memories that I could never have without travel.

Like so many others, it was my dream to go on a safari in Africa, and I did that in Namibia. I wanted to see wild animals, stand in one of the few places in the world where sand dunes meet the sea, and learn about a different culture. 

An adventure this size was more challenging because of my health, but I was stubborn and determined to achieve my lifelong dream. Travel has become the key to unlocking the strength within myself.

Travel is not just about visiting new places. It’s about the journey of self-discovery, an ongoing exploration of your strength, confidence, and willingness to step outside your comfort zone to find out what makes you shine! 

Contributed by Robyn Dirk at Two Empty Passports 


To Escape My Daily Routine

Photo by BeyofTravel

Traveling is one of the most enriching experiences anyone can embark on. For me, it allows me to escape my daily routine and immerse myself in a whole different world, even if it’s just for a short period of time.

I am sure for many people too, this is a usual way to break up mundane activities. People get caught up in their routines, waking up at the same time every day, going to work or school, dealing with responsibilities and obligations. It can all become overwhelming and monotonous. 

When I travel I also plan a digital detox away from my laptops and other screen time. I spend time outdoors, take it slow to relax and get away. Apart from relaxation and rejuvenation, traveling also offers a great opportunity to learn something new. I love using my camera and learning about photography as a way to break the routine. 

You can also book engaging activities like guided tours, walks, and adrenaline excursions when you travel. Trying new things on your trip can also help you break the daily routine and do something fun!

Contributed by Stephanie from BeyofTravel

To Experience Things While I Can

Photo by Uprooted Traveler

I want to experience everything I can before it’s no longer available to me. 

One of my primary reasons for exploring the world is that I’ve known a host of people who had grand plans for traveling and, unfortunately, life—usually, sickness or even death—got in the way. For example, my sweet older neighbor almost boarded a cruise to Antarctica in 2021 that was ultimately canceled due to COVID. When trying to reschedule the trip, he decided that such extensive travel was too hard on his body and he ultimately wouldn’t be able to go. 

As a lover of hiking and the outdoors, I’m taking every chance I can to experience everything I can when I’m relatively young and able. From doing that bucket list road trip I’ve always wanted to take through as many charming Oregon Coast towns as I could find to squeezing in every backpacking trip during hiking season, I want to see and experience as much as I can while my brain, knees, lungs, and mind allow me to.

After seeing one too many loved ones missing their “someday” that they had once planned, I’ve engineered my life so that I can experience and see as much as possible. These experiences don’t have to be huge Antarctica-level excursions. Check out that state park that’s in your backyard, go try that restaurant that just opened. You’ll rarely regret getting to see and experience something. And, at the end of the day, you won’t have to ask yourself any what ifs.

Contributed by Jess of Uprooted Traveler

To Create Work-Life Balance

Monica at maxedoutPTO.com

Working in corporate American comes with many benefits, like a steady paycheck, insurance, and paid time off. But, corporate culture can also lead to things like increased stress levels, burnout, strained relationships, and missed opportunities. Because of these things, one of the main reasons why I travel is for work-life balance.

The best way to clear your mind, rest and rejuvenate from a high pressure and busy work environment, in my opinion, is to travel. Travelling will get you in a completely different headspace then the one you are in when you are sitting at your desk for 8 hours a day. 

Getting away from your office for travel can allow you to spend focused and quality time with your loved ones and can reduce your burnout at work. Improving your burnout and stress levels can even improve your productivity when you return to the office and increase your job satisfaction.

My husband and I attempt to travel every other month, or once a quarter at the least. Spreading out your paid time off for travel will allow you to have something to look forward to and will help you obtain a fantastic work-life balance.

Contributed by Monica at maxedoutPTO.com

To Experience the Mental Health Benefits of Being in Nature

Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii, Photo by Trysta at This Travel Dream 

As someone with a challenging job in corporate America, I constantly need a break from the everyday hustle and bustle. 

When I travel, I often leave behind the chaos of my daily life and dive into the beauty of nature. Being in nature is amazing for my mental health, and it’s one of the main reasons I travel.

I spend most of my time vacationing in Hawaii, where I can escape the stress of city life and recharge my batteries. Kauai is my favorite Hawaiian Island because of its breathtaking landscapes, gorgeous waterfalls, and perfect blue waters. Every time I visit, I feel a sense of peace wash over me as soon as I step off the plane.

There are many things to do in Kauai, but my favorite activity is hiking. There’s something special about being in the midst of nature, surrounded by greenery and fresh air. As I hike through lush forests, I feel calm and at peace. 

But why is nature so beneficial for our mental health? Studies have shown that being in nature can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. It allows us to disconnect from our daily worries and reconnect with ourselves. Spending time in nature improves my overall mood, happiness, and well-being. 

Being in nature is also a time to connect with my boyfriend. We spend our days exploring the island together, trying unique activities like kayaking and snorkeling. The fresh air, beautiful scenery, and adventure produce a positive mindset.

I recommend everyone take a break from their daily routines and spend some time in nature on their next vacation. Whether hiking through the mountains, spending a day at the beach, or simply sitting in a park, being in nature can do wonders for you.

Contributed by Trysta at This Travel Dream 

To Re-learn Life’s Beauty After Mental Health Struggles

Lou at Hello World, Here I Come

I started traveling the world solo at 18 years old, and for most people, that’s where my story begins. But fewer know that between the ages of 13 to 17, I struggled with severe mental health issues- and that is one of the biggest reasons why I travel today.

I was diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) in primary school and suffered with self-harm throughout high school. This came to a pinnacle in 2020 when I was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa. 

From 15 to 17, I was a revolving door patient, either hospitalized or about to be. I was fed through a feeding tube as I couldn’t eat myself. But in the back of my mind, I had a dream of traveling the world, and in many ways that kept me afloat.

Just 10 months after my last hospital admission I dropped out of high school to travel the world and never looked back. My travel is in part about re-discovering the beauty of life and the world after illness and suffering. 

Because of travel, I can say I am almost completely recovered from my eating disorder, dealing with my anxiety, and no longer suffer from self-harm. I am proof that travel can heal!

Contributed by Lou at Hello World, Here I Come 

Why I Travel: To Connect More With Others

To Connect With My Partner

Taylor at Culture Craving Couple

It’s easy to get into the same routine – come home from work, make dinner, watch Netflix – and it’s easy to take each other for granted! However, when we go on trips and snuggle up on a motorbike as we drive through rice paddies in Vietnam, it’s like the start of being married all over again! 

One of the reasons why I travel is that it gives us time away from the same old pattern and we can spend more focused energy on continuing to learn about each other because you always are – even after being married 10 years!  When we’re at home, it’s easy to not put as much effort in. When we’re snuggling up in a cozy cocktail bar in Denmark or have hours on the road to ask each other couples-focused road trip questions, in Iceland we have memories of unique experiences and have time to develop a deeper bond! 

I think that our best years of marriage have been since we started traveling and I encourage couples to slow down on their trips to be able to focus on not just the scenery, but each other!

Contributed by Taylor at Culture Craving Couple

To Strengthen Our Relationship 

Soca Valley, Slovenia, photo by Ticket 4 Two Please

Travelling as a couple can be stressful, but when you do it right, it is guaranteed to create memories that last a lifetime and strengthen your bond together.  

Travelling full-time together has many advantages, each of which helps solidify your relationship and creates relationship resilience that you can take forward with you into your life outside of travel. 

If you can survive being hospitalized in Bolivia (when neither of you has a single word of Spanish between you), as happened to us back in 2019– then there’s a good chance that the next time a small challenge arises back in the real world, that you’ll be able to figure out a solution quickly and without any stress. 

Whether you’re experienced travellers that have navigated the globe together, or at the beginning of your travelling journey and looking for some gap year inspiration for couples, travelling together allows you to learn to manage your finances in tandem, learn to live in close proximity for an extended period of time and learn to overcome hurdles together. Best of all though, travelling is able to strengthen your relationship and make you a stronger couple, which is why we continue to travel together to this day. 

Contributed by Ben at Ticket 4 Two Please

To Give My Child Experiences

Photo by Hey Micky Travel

It all started with a trip to Walt Disney World.  When I was a kid I was 
a huge Disney fan.  I am talking playing hooky from school so I could 
binge-watch the Disney channel. The one thing that I always wanted was a 
trip to Walt Disney World.  But being a kid from Minnesota in the 80’s 
and 90’s, a trip to Florida just wasn’t in the cards.

Fast forward 20 years later.  I was a new mom to a little girl of my own 
and watching her fall in love with all things Disney just as I had done. 
I desperately wanted to give her the Disney World experience that I 
never got to have as a child.  So we booked the trip and did a big 
countdown and we spent 3 glorious days in the Most Magical Place on 
Earth.

Little did I know how much giving that experience to my daughter would 
spark something in me.  How many other experiences could I give her that 
I had never gotten myself? Since that time we have been coast to coast 
and so many places in between.  From national parks to beaches; small 
towns and big cities.  Nothing has been off-limits. And each time we 
travel I am broadening her worldview and giving her the confidence to go 
after the things she wants most.

So my advice to you… book the trip, make the plan, and just do it!  
Start with destinations driving distance from where you live. Do just 
one overnight or a long weekend.  You don’t need to jump right into a 
big trip, but I promise that any travel experience you can give your 
kids is the best investment!

Contributed by Tina Tolbert at Hey Mickey Travel 

To Connect With Friends

Amber from Amber Everywhere

I love to travel with my friends. Often, spending time with friends at home looks like sharing a meal at a restaurant and then going our separate ways. It’s nice, of course, but I rarely feel like we created new memories together. 

Travel, on the other hand, is all about making new memories and having experiences. I’ll never forget hanging out in a pub in Ireland or hiking the West Highland Way in Scotland, both memorable experiences with two wonderful friends. 

I also relish the chance to spend largely uninterrupted days with my friends, another rarity in my daily life. From sunup to bedtime, we have hours to talk, share stories, cultivate inside jokes, and deal with the fact that we’re mildly annoying each other. 

When planning a trip with friends, always discuss a budget and itinerary beforehand. There’s nothing worse than being on the road and realizing that the plans are a financial stretch for someone in the group. 

I also recommend keeping your trips to a maximum of four people because the more people on a trip, the more dynamics to manage. 

Contributed by Amber from Amber Everywhere

To Meet New People

Friends made at a hostel in Washington D.C., Photo by A Backpacker’s World

The reason why I travel is to meet new people. I’m a strong believer that the world is full of good people, you just have to find them, and travelling has proved this to be true.

Whenever I’m travelling, I always try to speak to people, hear their stories and get to know them a bit. For example, I recently took a trip to Washington D.C. and since it’s the US capital, there are police everywhere. I had five or six amazing chats with cops. 

It can be hard knowing how to start a conversation out of nowhere, so I always approach people with a question in mind. Once they’ve answered, the conversation just carries on. People always ask tourists “Where are you from?” and the conversation goes from there.

One way I’ve found it really easy to meet new people is by staying in hostels. Everyone is in the same position and has similar mindsets. I’ve met people in hostels who have become genuine friends that I speak to regularly. You never know who you’re going to meet- so always have a smile on your face and be friendly to people. 

Contributed by Josh at A Backpacker’s World

Why Do You Love Traveling?

I hope you have found some interesting and inspiring ideas about the whys behind travel in these stories and questions. Our reasons are often much deeper than we initially recognize and it can be especially helpful to keep asking ourselves for the why behind each answer. Why do I want adventure, relaxation, or connection? What is it I am really looking for?

If you are looking to explore these questions more fully, I offer travel workshops and coaching where we dive into these questions further. You can learn more here or book a free discovery call with me here.

What is one reason why you travel? If you reflect on the why behind your travels, how has that already impacted your trips and your life? I would love to hear in the comments!

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Cultivating a Heart of Gratitude for Better Travel

One of the most powerful things we can do to enjoy better trips is to cultivate a heart of gratitude long before we walk out the door. Both our own personal experiences and numerous scientific studies show that gratitude enhances our lives and our travels.

Many people spend thousands of dollars to travel to some of the most captivating places on the planet, yet they are unable to experience deep joy or growth through the trip. Why is that? Often it is because they have not learned to cultivate a mindset of gratitude and mindfulness.

Through the Trip Scholars blog, classes, and coaching I focus on supporting travelers in learning more about the world and themselves through travel. A key to this is building our ability to practice gratitude. In this blog post, we will explore the benefits of gratitude and practical tips to weave it into your life and your travels.

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

Benefits of Gratitude

Cape Roca, Portugal | Photo by Trip Scholars

Gratitude is much more than just being polite and saying thank you. It is a powerful and often intentional state that can positively impact our mental, emotional, and physical well-being. When we approach life with a heart filled with gratitude, we open ourselves up to a myriad of benefits including the following:

  • Reduced Stress
  • Increased Happiness
  • Enhanced Overall Well-being
  • Improved Relationships
  • Better Sleep
  • Reduced Anxiety
  • Greater Resilience
  • More optimism
  • Greater Life Satisfaction 

Benefits of Gratitude for Travel

Photo by Trip Scholars

Setting out on a trip with a mind focused on gratitude can remarkably enhance every facet of your travel experience. It has the power to shape your perspective, enrich your interactions, and elevate almost all aspects of travel.

1. Enhanced Mindset

  • Gratitude fosters a positive mindset, allowing you to approach challenges with resilience and an open heart.
  • By focusing on the positive aspects of your travel experiences, you create a mental framework that amplifies joy and minimizes stress.

2. Deeper Connections

  • Expressing gratitude cultivates a spirit of appreciation for the people you encounter during your travels.
  • Whether it’s family and friends, locals, or service providers, acknowledging and thanking them fosters meaningful connections and cultural exchange.

3. Heightened Awareness

  • Gratitude encourages mindfulness and can help create transcendent experiences.
  • Being grateful for the landscapes, sounds, and flavors you experience keeps you present and makes your memories last longer.

4. Increased Resilience

  • Gratitude acts as a buffer against the inevitable challenges of travel.
  • Instead of viewing setbacks as obstacles, a grateful mindset enables you to see some of them as opportunities for personal growth and learning.

5.Transformative Learning

  • Gratitude encourages a mindset of continuous learning and personal growth.
  • Viewing each encounter and experience as an opportunity for learning adds depth and meaning to your travel, turning it into a transformative educational journey.

Tending Our Thoughts to Create a Heart of Gratitude

Photo by Trip Scholars

It helps to think of our mind as a fertile field. Whatever thoughts we plant will grow and likely thrive. This is challenging because the human mind has evolved to be alert to danger and threats, we fixate on the negative and mistakes. This well documented pattern is an example of the negativity bias. We exist today because these thought patterns were well honed in our ancestors keeping them safe and alive.  But it also means that the seeds that are naturally planted in our own minds are often negative and filled with worry. 

Most people bypass what is good and refreshing in their lives, and habitually focus on the unpleasant, bad elements.

-Plutarch

When we think of our minds as fields and thoughts as seeds, it is easy to see that left untended, our thought patterns can grow into a thorny and dangerous place where the world looks frightening and other people are adversaries filled with faults. 

Cultivating gratitude is a way to tend the garden of our own mind. Countless thoughts land as seeds but we can pull the weeds and nurture those that we want to thrive. Mindfulness with an intentional focus on gratitude allows us to tend these thoughts. 

Learning to do this over many moments, days, and years, we can grow our thoughts to focus on gratitude and growth instead of judgment and fear. When we bring this mindset of thankfulness to travel we dramatically enhance our experiences.

Growing a Heart of Gratitude as a Conscious Choice

Isaac Hale Beach, Hawaii | Photo by Trip Scholars

Cultivating a heart of gratitude is often misconstrued as wishful thinking or adopting a Pollyannaish view of the world. However, at its core, practicing gratitude is about operating at a higher level of awareness—one that empowers you to choose your response to the many situations you encounter during your life and your travels.

Choosing gratitude is not about ignoring the challenges or complexities that life may present. It’s about acknowledging them with a discerning eye and choosing how you want to perceive and react to them. You will not always choose to be thankful. 

Being grateful doesn’t mean that you ignore the horrific atrocities and great suffering in the world. But it can give you strength and motivation to try to solve these challenges and it offers a proven way to create respite and calm in your mind.

The root of joy is gratefulness…It is not joy that makes us grateful; it is gratitude that makes us joyful.

― Brother David Steindl-Rast

Why Grow a Heart of Gratitude Now?

Rock climbing in Norway | Photo by Trip Scholars

Shifting our thought patterns takes time and effort. It is much easier to do when life is easy, but will prove to be invaluable when life is difficult. I’ve been tending my thoughts to cultivate gratitude since I was first introduced to the idea as a teenager. I’m 54 years old now and continue to learn and grow in my practice. I’m very far from perfect, but my efforts have profoundly enhanced my life.  

Recently,  my younger sister and both of my parents died. At the same time one of our children also endured a very painful medical condition that had them bed-bound for years.  If I hadn’t done the internal mindset work during the good times, I would have been rudderless under the weight of these tragedies. It certainly did not make it easy and there were plenty of experiences where I was not focused on gratitude. But it was one of the powerful tools to help me get through the most difficult time in my life.

On a more manageable scale, all seasoned travelers know that there are aspects to travel that are uncomfortable, frightening, and difficult. After our child’s recovery we recently were finally able to take a long awaited international family trip. They were healthy enough to realize their dream of rock climbing in Norway. Unfortunately, we all got our first cases of Covid while we were traveling! 

Thanks to plenty of gratitude work, we were still able to appreciate our trip and be grateful for much of what we were experiencing. Building this strength while home and in the comfort of what is known and easy, makes it easier to adopt this mindset while in the midst of travel stresses.

How to Cultivate Gratitude

Bee in the yard of the author | Photo by Trip Scholars

There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as if everything is a miracle.

– Albert Einstein

There are many things we can do to cultivate a heart of gratitude while we are still home so that we are able to continue it while traveling. Here are some ideas to try now.

1. Practice Mindful Appreciation

  • Engage your senses and be fully present in each moment of your routine.
  • Take time to appreciate the sights, sounds, and scents unique to your home environment.
  • Mindful appreciation enhances your awareness and allows you to find gratitude in the simple yet profound aspects of your daily life.

2. Express Thanks

  • Vocalize your appreciation to those you interact with in your everyday life.
  • When saying thank you, pause and think about what it is exactly you are thankful for. Dig deeper and consider sharing those reasons with the recipient of your gratitude.

3. Volunteer or Give Back

  • Engage in acts of kindness and service at home and during your travels.
  • Volunteer for local initiatives, support community projects, or simply lend a helping hand to those in need.
  • The act of giving back not only cultivates gratitude within you but also contributes positively to the destinations you visit.

4. Keep a Gratitude Journal

  • Dedicate 5-10 minutes each day to reflect on the positive aspects of your life and your travels.
  • Document specific moments, people, or experiences that you are thankful for in a travel journal.
  • This written record serves as a tangible reminder of the richness and abundance present in your journey.

5. A to Z Gratitude List

  • Create an A to Z gratitude list specific to your life or your travels.
  • From the awe-inspiring architecture of a new city (A) to ziplining with your family (Z), this exercise encourages you to find gratitude in the details of your journey. 
  • By focusing on the unique aspects of each destination, you foster a deeper appreciation for the diversity the world has to offer.

Grateful Travel Quotes

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington, United States | Photo by Trip Scholars

Gratitude can transform common days into thanksgivings, turn routine jobs into joy, and change ordinary opportunities into blessings.

– William Arthur Ward

I would maintain that thanks are the highest form of thought, and that gratitude is happiness, doubled by wonder.

– G.K. Chesterton

I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.

– Brene Brown

Look at everything as though you were seeing it either for the first or last time. Thus is your time on earth will be filled with glory.

– Betty Smith

There is a calmness to a life lived in gratitude, a quiet joy.

— Ralph H. Blum

Being thankful is not always experienced as a natural state of existence, we must work at it, akin to a type of strength training for the heart.

– Larissa Gomez

Reasons to be Thankful for Travel

Author in Pompeii Archeological Park, Italy | Photo by Trip Scholars

There are many reasons to be thankful for traveling. Next week’s post is one of my favorites. I’ve asked other travel writers why they travel and they have shared fantastic stories of what they are thankful for. Stay tuned for this article!

Cultivating a Heart of Gratitude for Travel

View from the houseboat where we recovered from Covid | Photo by Trip Scholars

I hope this article has helped you find inspiration and ideas for cultivating more gratitude in your life and your travels. I join you in this life-long pursuit and hope that it motivates us all to be kinder, more engaged in seeking justice and equity, and more able to deeply enjoy and profoundly appreciate our lives and our travels.

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Chihuly Garden and Glass Review With Tips From a Local

In this Chihuly Garden and Glass review, I’ll share lots of tips as a local Seattleite so that you can get the most from your visit to this remarkable exhibition. The museum and gardens showcase the incredible work of world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. From stunning chandeliers to intricate glass sculptures set in an enchanting garden, it offers a unique and visually stimulating journey into the world of contemporary glass art. 

I have visited multiple times and recently celebrated my birthday by visiting the museum. On this last trip, I asked the tour guide and docents for their advice and best tips so that I can share them all with you. This guide will provide all the essential information for planning your visit to Chihuly Garden and Glass.

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

Is Chihuly Garden and Glass Worth It?

Winter Brilliance Gallery

The first question most people ask is, “Is Chihuly Garden and Glass worth it?” Unless you are on a tight budget, the answer is yes! It is such a visual delight and unique experience, that it is definitely worth including in your trip to Seattle. 

That being said, it is relatively expensive for its size, so I also encourage visitors to get their ticket as part of a combo pass. Stand alone tickets range from $26-$35 per person but if you plan to see many sites in the area,  use the links below to purchase a combo ticket with the Space Needle or get a Seattle City Pass with admission to multiple local attractions.

Get Your Tickets Now

I also recommend that you visit the website to confirm the hours on the day you plan to visit.

Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum

Wall of Native American blankets from Dale Chihuly’s personal collection

Dale Chilhuly is arguably the most famous glass artist in the world. He was born just south of Seattle in Tacoma, Washington in the United States in 1941 and fell in love with glass while studying Interior Design at the University of Washington. After a career that brought his stunning and easily recognizable installations to hundreds of sites around the world, he was asked about opening a museum at the base of Seattle’s iconic Space Needle. 

Chihuly Garden and Glass opened in 2012 and the 1.5 acre site includes the Exhibition Hall, Glass House, and Garden. It is one of many world class attractions at Seattle Center, where visitors and locals enjoy museums, performances, playgrounds, gardens,  sculptures, an interactive fountain, and multiple cultural and musical events.

How Long Does It Take to Go Through Chihuly Garden and Glass?

The Chihuly Garden

When planning your trip to Seattle, most people want to know, “how long does it take to go through the Chihuly Garden and Glass?” On average, visitors spend about 1.5 to 2 hours touring the exhibits and the outdoor garden. However, your pace may vary depending on the time you have available, your level of interest, and how much of the museum you want to enjoy. 

In this Chihuly Garden and Glass review, I suggest planning for 3 hours so that you can watch the glass blowing demonstration and short films. This also gives you time to take a free docent-led tour, grab a bite in the quirky cafe, and find time for quiet contemplation on the benches throughout the exhibit. If you finish early, you’ll have a wealth of interesting options to choose from at Seattle Center.

Chihuly Museum: What to Expect

Chihuly Garden and Glass at Seattle Center

You will start your Chihuly Museum experience at the entrance where you can purchase tickets in person either at the desk or from kiosks. Again, I recommend getting a combo pass and these can be purchased in advance. There is also a coat check where you can drop off jackets and large bags. Umbrella strollers are allowed, but not larger ones. There are also wheelchairs available for use.

Chihuly Audio Tour

The Persian Ceiling Gallery

Every museum docent I asked for advice from recommended that visitors listen to the Chihuly Audio Tour. I agree that it makes for a more a memorable experience!  Download the free Chihuly Garden and Glass audio tour onto your phone. You will delve deeper into the stories behind the artworks, gain insights into the artistic process, and listen to fascinating anecdotes about Dale Chihuly’s life and career. It is narrated by Chihuly and other experts.

Chihuly Garden and Glass Tour 

Chihuly Garden and Glass Tour

When you enter the museum, check the times for the free docent led tours. These are engaging and informative and you can get all of your questions answered about the exhibition. There are multiple tours in English every day.

Exhibition Hall: Chihuly Chandeliers, Baskets, Boats, Bowls, and Mille Fiori

The Mille Fiori Gallery

Exhibition Hall has eight gallery rooms that are a complete visual delight! Dale Chihuly’s signature chandeliers are a highlight of the museum. But the museum’s collection goes far beyond these chandeliers, featuring a diverse array of sculptures, including the iconic glass boats, bowls, and the breathtaking Mille Fiori garden.

Exhibition Hall: Education Station

The Chihuly Education Station

Also in Exhibition Hall, you will find the Education Station staffed by a friendly and knowledgeable docent where you can touch and feel different types of glass and materials used in the glass blowing process. You can also ask questions and get lots of helpful advice.

Chihuly Glasshouse and Glasshouse Hours

The Chihuly Glasshouse

Next you will visit the famous Glasshouse, the centerpiece of the museum. This glass and steel building houses one of Chihuly’s largest suspended sculptures in a dazzling array of reds, oranges, and yellows. There is plenty of seating and this is a wonderful place to enjoy some quiet appreciation of the space. The sculpture also dramatically frames the Space Needle that soars above it, creating beautiful views and photos. 

The Glasshouse is sometimes rented out for private events and is not always open. Because the Glasshouse hours can be different from the rest of the museum, check the website for the actual hours on your intended day.

Chihuly Garden

The Chihuly Garden

As much as I love the indoor displays, the garden is my personal favorite. The design is truly awe inspiring. The placement of the glass sculptures highlights the architecture of the surrounding buildings, including the Glasshouse and the Space Needle. Yet it is the interplay of the sculptures with the natural surroundings that breathes life into the experience. 

The plants enhance each of the sculptures carefully chosen for their colors, textures, and movement in the wind. The Chihuly Garden is relatively small, but there are multiple vignettes that you will want to enjoy.

Get Your Tickets Now

Chihuly Hotshop

Chihuly Hot Shop

Also in the garden is the Chihuly hotshop where you can watch glass blowing artists enjoying their craft. There is ample seating and multiple displays throughout the day as long as the weather permits.

Chihuly Theater

As you exit the garden, take time to visit the theater. There are multiple short films about Chilhuly and his work that will give you a deeper understanding and appreciation of all that you have seen in the museum.

Chihuly Museum Gift Shop

Chihuly Glass Museum Gift Shop

If you are looking for mementos to remember your visit stop in the Chihuly Museum Gift Shop. It is a large gift shop with artwork, clothing, stationary, jewelry, and more. They offer many items with Chihuly artwork on them as well as those thoughtfully crafted by local PNW artists.   

Chihuly Garden and Glass Restaurant 

The Bar at Chihuly Garden and Glass

Even if you aren’t hungry,  take a peek into the restaurant called, The Bar at Chihuly Garden and Glass. It is decorated with over 25 of the artist’s collections ranging from tin toys to plastic radios. This creates a quirky and unique dining experience. They have an extensive drink menu, much of it locally sourced, and the food is inspired by the Pacific Northwest.

Chihuly Garden and Glass Free Photos

Free photo taken by a professional photographer

In this Chihuly Garden and Glass review, a good tip is to keep your eyes open for the professional photographers. They will take your photo and you can download free copies from this link when you get home. Just be sure to keep your ticket, which has a code that will allow  you to retrieve your photos.

Chihuly Garden and Glass Photos

Macchia Bowl with opaque layer of glass

This museum is photography friendly and you will likely want to capture a lot of the experience on camera. Tripods and selfie-sticks are not allowed. 

To allow yourself to stay present to the artwork, consider enjoying each room fully before going back to particular pieces you want to photograph.

Both indoors and out, you are allowed to use your flash. In fact, in the final gallery room called the Macchia Forest, you will find a fantastical collection of bowls. He mastered the art of adding an opaque layer of glass inside of each bowl. 

When I asked one of the docents what she wished people knew about the museum, she was happy to teach me about the impact of lighting on these bowls. She used her phone’s flashlight to show how dramatically different the colors are with different angles of lighting. It was striking and observing with your flashlight  is allowed by the museum.

Chihuly Glass Museum Parking

I have found parking near Seattle Center hundreds of times, and my best advice is to give yourself plenty of time to find a parking space or take public transportation. 

There are parking garages and lots all around the area, as well as street and valet parking. Most parking throughout downtown is expensive and is usually paid for with parking apps through your phone.

If you are visiting Seattle from out of town and staying in the downtown area, the best way to get to the Chihuly Museum is public transportation. In fact, you can take the monorail which is probably the least expensive attraction ticket in the city!

Best Time to Visit Chihuly Garden and Glass

Sun and weather impact viewing in the garden

The best time to visit Chihuly Garden and Glass is during the week when it is less crowded. Crowds are also smaller in the morning and after 5:00 PM. The most crowded times are weekends in the summer.

The outdoor sculptures are beautiful but different in sunlight and the dramatic nighttime lighting. 

Learning More Before and After Your Trip to Chihuly Glass and Garden

The author enjoying the gardens

If you are planning a trip to Seattle, I have a whole article dedicated to helping you make the most of your visit to my hometown. It’s filled with activities, books, movies, sites, and more. You can learn more here.

Looking for tips about visiting museums? I’ve got you covered in Museum Tips: How to Make the Most of Visiting a Museum. 

Chihuly PBS Special and Hot Shop

Ikebana and Float Boats Gallery

Learn more about Dale Chihuly’s journey and artistic process by watching the PBS special dedicated to the artist. Gain a behind-the-scenes look at the creation of his masterpieces, including a glimpse into the famous Chihuly hot shop where molten glass comes to life.

Watch on Youtube Watch with Amazon

More Glass Art In Washington

A short drive south of Seattle will bring you to the world-famous Museum of Glass and the adjacent Chihuly Bridge of Glass in Tacoma. If you enjoyed Chihuly Garden and Glass you will also love this museum.

Seattle has multiple glass workshops where you can make your own blown or fused glass artwork. Our family has done this a couple of times, but the studios we worked in are no longer open. You can find some to consider here.

Chihuly Garden and Glass Review Conclusion

I hope this Chihuly Glass and Garden Review helped you plan a fantastic trip!  With the information provided in this guide, you can plan your visit with confidence, ensuring that you make the most of your time at this spectacular Seattle attraction. The Chihuly Garden and Glass promises an unforgettable experience and I wish you a wonderful visit.

If you have any questions or thoughts about your visit, let me know in the comments and I will do my best to answer them!

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The Best Movies About Norway to Watch Before Your Trip

Stave Church Norway

In this article, we have gathered the best movies about Norway to watch before your trip. By enjoying them before you leave you will ensure your trip is as meaningful and enjoyable as possible. Learn more about the history, culture, language, and extraordinary natural beauty of Norway before you arrive and you will enhance many parts of your trip.

I’m a travel education specialist and support curious travelers like you in finding ways to learn more about their destinations. This summer our family was finally able to enjoy a dream trip and visit our ancestral homeland of Norway. We spent months learning about the country before we went and it improved our trip dramatically.

In this post, I’ve asked other travel writers to share some of their favorite shows and movies about Norway and why the recommend them to other travelers. I hope you find some great films to add to your watch list and that they help you have an even better trip!

Norwegian Documentaries and Docudramas

Kon-Tiki (1950)

Watch on Prime

Before leaving on your trip to Norway, be sure to watch the documentary Kontiki (1950). It is directed by the explorer himself, Thor Heyerdahl. He and his crew set out on a wooden raft to test his theory that the Polynesian Islands were originally populated from Peru, not Asia. 

Kon-Tiki won the 1952 Academy Award for the year’s Best Documentary. The film chronicles a daring expedition 101- day journey across the Pacific, reflecting the Norwegians’ spirit of exploration and adventure. As you witness the challenges faced by the crew, you’ll gain insight into the country’s maritime history and the tenacity of its people.

To deepen your connection with the film, visit the Kon-Tiki Museum in Oslo, housing the original raft and artifacts. The Bygdøy Peninsula, where the museum stands, also features other maritime gems like the Fram Museum, the Norwegian Maritime Museum, and the Viking Ship Museum (closed until 2027). These sites offer a captivating glimpse into Norway’s seafaring heritage, providing context for the documentary.

Kon-Tiki (2012)

Watch on Prime

Fast forward to 2012, where directors Joachim Rønning and Espen Sandberg reimagine Heyerdahl’s epic tale in a feature film. Watching “Kontiki” (2012) brings the narrative to life with stunning visuals and a contemporary perspective.

It was nominated for an Academy Award for the Best Foreign Film of the Year and won multiple other awards. While the film takes some creative liberties for dramatic effect, it remains remarkably faithful to the spirit of the original journey.

The Kontiki documentary-docudrama duo serves as a cinematic gateway, enriching your travel experience with a deeper understanding of Norway’s rich heritage and adventurous spirit.

22. July (2018)

22. July is a compelling and emotionally charged docudrama based on a true story. It offers a harrowing yet important cinematic experience. Directed by Paul Greengrass, the film delves into the horrifying events of the 2011 Norway attacks, primarily set in Oslo and Utøya.

While the Norwegian film uses actual events as its basis, it includes some fictional elements to enhance the narrative. Starring Jonas Strand Gravli, the movie effectively captures the resilience of the survivors and the nations response to the tragedy. It’s a gripping and well-acted account of the attacks and their aftermath.

22.July is one of the best movies about Norway to watch before a trip because it will enhance the viewer’s experience. It provides historical context and a deeper understanding of the resilience and unity of the Norwegian people in the face of adversity.

Travelers will gain insights into the country’s culture, values, and how the nation came together during a dark period. This film offers a unique insight into the human spirit and the power of solidarity in the face of tragedy.

Contributed by Victoria at Guide Your Travel

Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway (2023)

Mrs. Chatterjee vs Norway is a movie loosely based on Sagarika Chakraboty’s memoir, The Journey of a Mother. It tells a story about her battle to fight the Norwegian Child Welfare Service for her children’s custody after they were forcibly taken from their family house and moved them to foster home. 

Set in Stavanger, the movie follows the story of Debika and her husband Aniruddha. They get a visit from the Norwegian Child Welfare Service (Velfred) employees. 

The Chatterjee family moved to Norway from India and, during these Velfred visits, there were some obvious cultural differences that resulted in Velfred’s decision to take custody of their children. Some things that are common in Indian culture such as feeding their children with their hands or letting the kids sleep with their parents, were seen as unfit by the Norwegian authorities. 

Starring Rani Mukherjee as Debika, the movie highlights some interesting aspects of Norway that most people wouldn’t see otherwise. The media often portray Norway and other Scandinavian countries as picture-perfect places to live, but this movie highlights the flaws and struggles that immigrants could face due to cultural differences. 

The movie is suitable for families with kids, especially if they plan to move overseas. It will highlight the importance of knowing the basic law implemented in the country that you’re going to. 

It is one of the best movies about Norway to watch before your trip because culture shock is real. The best thing you can do is be prepared for it because something common in your culture can result in the involvement of law enforcement elsewhere if you’re not careful.

Contributed by Marya at The BeauTraveler

Norwegian World War 2 Movies 

The Heroes of Telemark (1965)

Watch on Prime

Based on a true story from the second world war, most of the film is true to fact. However, this Norwegian World War Two movie has been given the Hollywood treatment through adding a few elements to make it more dramatic.

The story is about a group of resistance fighters trying to sabotage a plant manufacturing heavy water which is used in atomic bombs.

The film starts with two Norwegian resistance fighters traveling to Britain where a raid against the plant is planned together with British intelligence. Unfortunately the plane carrying the English officers to Norway is shot down. To ensure the Germans don’t get access to the heavy water the Norwegian resistance fighters decide to undertake the operation on their own.

Much of the film is shot in Telemark and shows what Norwegian winters can be like. Although it showcases Norway’s mountain scenery, that is not the main reason to watch the film.

Watching the film before traveling to Norway will give you some understanding of Norwegian history. Norway is a relatively young country and therefore acts of bravery like this are viewed as important historic events. Being Norwegian myself I used to watch this film at school. I have watched it several times, as have most Norwegians.

Contributed by Kristin at Scotland Less Explored

War Sailor (Krigsseileren) (2022)

War Sailor is a gripping WWII series that tells the tale of Norwegian sailors fighting for their country’s freedom. The show brilliantly intertwines factual events with a rich narrative, revealing the undying spirit of the Norwegians during a tumultuous time. Its breathtaking cinematography paints a vivid picture of the scenic beauty of Norway, particularly the picturesque city of Bergen.

Visiting Norway after watching this series will give travelers a unique perspective. The streets of Bergen, portrayed with so much historical significance in the show, will come alive as you walk them. The series introduces viewers to the country’s wartime past and deepens their appreciation for its enduring beauty and resilient spirit despite the difficulties of their lives.

In essence, War Sailor is more than just a historical drama; it’s a bridge to Norway’s past. Whether you’re a history buff, a fan of well-crafted stories, or someone planning a trip to Bergen, this series offers a moving and immersive experience. It’ll linger in your thoughts long after the credits roll, making your connection to Norway even more profound.

Contributed by Odo at caribevibes.com

The King’s Choice (Kongens Nei) (2016)

Watch on Prime

The King’s Choice is a multi-award winning historical drama that offers insight into a crucial chapter of Norway’s past. Directed by the renowned Norwegian director, Erik Poppe, the film portrays the events of April 1940, when Nazi Germany invaded Norway. 

It primarily revolves around the difficult choices faced by King Haakon VII (grandfather of Harald V, the current king of Norway). The king is played by Jesper Christensen, and he grapples with the decision to resist the German occupation or surrender to avoid bloodshed. The film is based on real-life events but takes some creative liberties in the telling of the story. 

There is a focus on the king’s personal and political struggles instead of a heavy emphasis on action and battle scenes. Set against the backdrop of Norway’s scenic landscapes and historic sites, The King’s Choice beautifully captures the country’s rich history and its role during World War II. 

It is one of the best movies about Norway to watch before your trip because it will enhance your understanding of the country’s resilience and its people’s commitment to their sovereignty. It provides a poignant perspective on the challenges faced during a tumultuous period in Norwegian history. History enthusiasts and those interested in the human aspects of wartime decisions will find The King’s Choice an engaging and thought-provoking film.

Atlantic Crossing  (2020)

Watch on Prime

Atlantic Crossing is a different interpretation of the same events that inspired the previous recommendation, The King’s Choice. Eight episodes tell a longer version of the complex story of diplomacy, espionage, and the impact of World War II on Norway and the United States. Created by Alexander Eik, the show is recognized as a more fictional account  but still offers a riveting look at a lesser-known chapter of history and the personal lives intertwined with the fates of nations.

At the center of the series is the relationship between Norwegian Crown Princess Märtha and U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Their connection is framed by the backdrop of global conflict. Cinematic liberties showcase the personal sacrifices and political maneuvering that shaped the course of history.

To delve deeper into Norway’s World War II history, travelers can explore sites like the Norwegian Resistance Museum in Oslo, the War Museum in Narvik, and the Norsk Krigsleiemuseum in Narvik, where exhibits and artifacts offer a tangible connection to the era depicted in “Atlantic Crossing.”

Atlantic Crossing is a captivating portrayal of a little-known facet of history. This series not only provides viewers with a dramatic narrative but also deepens our understanding of Norway’s unique role during World War II. It’s a must-watch for history enthusiasts and travelers seeking to uncover the intricate relationships and events that shaped Norway’s past and its place on the global stage.

Norwegian Dramas

Thelma (2017) 

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Thelma is a fascinating and thought-provoking Norwegian drama that expertly blends psychological drama and supernatural mysteries. Through fiction, this film skillfully mixes the supernatural with a struggle for identity. It causes the audience to question the boundaries between the real and the imaginary. 

The movie is directed by Joachim Trier and is about a college student who starts experiencing extreme seizures while she is studying at a university in Oslo. It follows the journey of her violent episodes and how they are a symptom of dangerous supernatural elements.

This Norwegian film stars Eili Harboe as the main character. She gives a fascinating and subtle performance that perfectly captures the core of Thelma’s internal problems and emotional agony. 

It provides viewers with a breathtaking visual depiction of the captivating natural landscapes of Norway in Europe. It focuses on the charm of Oslo and its surrounding areas in particular. 

The film portrays Norway’s stunning beauty and explores Norwegian culture and society. It is an excellent introduction to the country’s rich legacy and mesmerising landscapes. 

It provides a unique opportunity for travellers considering a trip to Norway to immerse themselves in the country’s fascinating ambience and develop a greater appreciation for its cultural intricacies and picturesque places.

Contributed by Lavina D’souza at Continent Hop

Varg Veum (2007 – 2012)

Watch on Prime

Varg Veum is a wonderful Norwegian crime television series by Lumiere. It’s the perfect series to watch if you are a fan of “Nordic Noir” or if you are interested in watching crime series in general. Not only the suspense of this show is great but it also intrigues with an authentic portrayal of Norwegian culture and scenery. 

The television series centers on Varg Veum, a private detective based in Bergen, the second-largest city in Norway. Set against the backdrop of Bergen’s iconic wooden houses and surrounding fjords, Detective Veum tackles a range of crime cases, often delving into the darker sides of Norwegian society. Throughout the series, you get a genuine taste of Bergen’s atmosphere and a glimpse into the complexities of its inhabitants.

The storylines of the series are based on the novels of Norwegian writer Gunnar Staalesen and are, however, completely fictional. 

Several talented Norwegian actors have brought the characters of Varg Veum to life on screen but most notable is Trond Espen Seim who stars as detective Varg Veum. The series has had multiple directors, each bringing their unique style to the episodes.

The series is predominantly set in Bergen, one of Norway’s most historic and beautiful cities. As a traveler, you will surely visit this city as a part of your itinerary. Through the series, you will already be familiar with its streets, squares, and landmarks and feel a sense of connection when you actually visit. 

The series also provides useful insights into Norwegian culture giving travelers a more in-depth understanding of the country’s people, their way of life, values, and the challenges they face. Lastly, the series also boasts various off-the-beaten-path locations in and around Bergen that you can visit on your trip!

Contributed by Annelies from Travelers & Dreamers

Norwegian Action Movies

Troll (2022)

This is an action-filled Norwegian movie that integrates modern life with traditional Norwegian folklore. The trolls are deeply integrated into Norway’s folklore, and in this movie, the legendary giants come to life as they wake up from a deep sleep. They walk from the mountainous areas and into modern cities in Norway destroying everything that comes in their way, while a team of local experts are set to stop them.

The stories and legends about the trolls that are told throughout the movie are all tales that every Norwegian kid has grown up with for centuries, so it definitely gives you a sense of Norwegian roots.

It is directed by Roar Uthaug and stars Ine Marie Wilmann, Kim Falck, Mads Sjøgård Pettersen, Gard B. Eidsvold, Pål Richard Lunderby, and Eric Vorenholt.

It is not recommended for kids under 13 years of age, but is a great film to see for families with older kids, especially action lovers mixed with the mystery of old folklore. The movie also shows incredible nature which will spark an interest for anyone wanting to go hiking in Norway on their upcoming trip.

Contributed by Linn Haglund of Brainy Backpackers

The Wave (Bølgen) – 2015

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The Wave was the first of several popular Norwegian disaster movies. It depicts the catastrophic consequences of what would happen when a large piece of the mountain collapses into the narrow Geirangerfjord below. It creates a tsunami flooding through the fjord and towards the village at the end of it.

There are several mountain sections like this in Norway, that are in danger of collapsing and creating such a wave (although not as dramatic). This is what inspired the movie. We follow a geologist, played by Kristoffer Joner, as he races to save his family before the wave hits the village of Geiranger.

Anyone planning a trip to Norway will enjoy this movie, especially if you are visiting the western fjords. Geiranger is a popular tourist destination, and The Wave showcases the Geirangerfjord (one of the #1 attractions in the area) in a new light.

It also introduces travellers to the potential natural disasters threatening Norway; mainly landslides and avalanches. In Norway we live next to these mountains that threaten us in a way that is imilar to how in certain US states people can experience (and are prepared for) hurricanes and tornadoes.

Contributed by Lisa Stentvedt at Fjords & Beaches

Vikings

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The television series Vikings is a multi-award winning historical drama that immerses viewers in the tumultuous world of Norse warriors and their legendary explorations. It was a global sensation and reignited interest in Viking history. Created by Michael Hirst, Vikings offers six seasons of exciting television viewing to explore the rich history of the Viking age.

At the heart of Vikings is the enigmatic figure of Ragnar Lothbrok, a powerful character from Norse legends. His quest for exploration and conquest takes audiences on a thrilling journey to distant lands that later became places like England and France.

The series is loosely based on history, in part because of how much is unknown about Viking culture, religious traditions, and ceremonies.  Instead, the striking visual storytelling inspires viewers to do their own research after many episodes. The series also interweaves elements of Norse mythology, portraying gods like Odin and Freyja into the story.

The story is set in the fictional town of Kattegat in Norway. Most of the filming was done in Ireland, but there are many scenes filmed in Norway. Especially as the seasons unfold, filming was done in many other countries. Set against the breathtaking backdrop of Scandinavia’s fjords, forests, and coastlines, the show achieves stunning scenic realism. 

For travelers eager to experience the Viking world in person, Norway offers a wealth of opportunities. Visitors can explore historical sites like the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo, the Lofotr Viking Museum in the Lofoten Islands, and many Viking living history centers around the country. These locations provide a tangible connection to the Viking legacy portrayed in Vikings, allowing enthusiasts to step back in time and immerse themselves in the history, culture, and heritage of these seafaring warriors.

Norwegian Comedies

Home for Christmas (2019-2020)

This modern Norwegian TV show aired on Netflix and took the world by storm despite being entirely in the Norwegian language (with English subtitles), thanks to its relatable characters and classic Christmas rom-com storyline. 

Filmed in Oslo and the adorable small Norwegian town of Røros, this hilarious series follows the perpetually single Johanne (played by Ida Elise Broch) who is looking for a new boyfriend to bring home for Christmas, purely to divert from the usual family harassment surrounding her single status. Any females in their 20’s or 30’s who have faced similar questions throughout their lives can relate to this great plot line! 

While this Norwegian comedy is complete fiction, the traditions, customs, and societal situations are very true to life in Norway and give you a great insight into the country’s culture in everyday life. Whether you’re dating a Norwegian or visiting during the holiday season, this two season show will absolutely prepare you for what to expect at the Julebord (Christmas table).

Contributed by Kate Fletcher at Bags-Always-Packed

Norsemen

Watch on Prime

Some Norwegian humor can be very entertaining. This is what you will see when watching Netflix’s Norwegian comedy Norsemen. This series combines the pre-medieval Viking culture and lifestyle with modern humor in the character’s day-to-day lives. 

The setting is a fictional village where the Viking characters live and interact with each other. It comedically deals with the issues and problems of that time including slavery, religion, family, sexual orientation, societal expectations, and modernization. With the locations being shot in parts of Southern Norway you get to see part of the landscape beauty of this country. 

If you decide to watch this before going to Norway, it may pique your interest in learning more about the history of the Vikings and their impact on the rest of the world. Learn about their ships, weapons, religion, games, and royalty. Even if it does not make any changes to your perception of Norway, it is always fun to see the different types of comedy from around the world. You may find you enjoy it more than your own.

Submitted by Nick of The World Overload

Norwegian Family Movies

Frozen (2013)

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With an amazing story and soundtrack, Disney’s Frozen is one of the most successful and beautifully animated musical films ever produced. Set in the fictional Kingdom of Arendelle, it draws inspiration from many Norwegian locations including Arendal and Bergen.

The film follows Princess Anna on an epic adventure as she travels across the Kingdom with her friend Kristof and his reindeer Sven on a mission to end the perpetual winter accidentally brought on by her sister, Queen Elsa.

Idina Mensel and Kristen Bell bring Anna and Elsa’s voices to life with directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee skillfully navigating the film to its emotional conclusion.

Children and adults will love this movie’s mix of catch sing-along songs and its divergence from traditional fairy tale conventions. Visitors to Norway will love looking out for the many architectural and scenic similarities that run through the film. From stunning fjords to traditional stave churches, after watching the film you’ll feel like you have stepped into the world’s largest movie set!

Contributed by Tom and Katie at www.trekkingthedream.com

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

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What makes How to Train Your Dragon a great movie to watch is its universal appeal to both kids and adults. This animated gem, directed by Dean DeBlois and Chris Sanders, combines exciting visuals, a heartwarming story, and a lovable dragon named Toothless. It’s set in the fictional island of Berk, which draws inspiration from the rugged landscapes of the west coast of Norway. While the film is a work of fiction, its landscapes echo the majestic fjords and coastal beauty that Norway is known for.

In this film, a young Viking named Hiccup, voiced by Jay Baruchel, learns about acceptance and friendship as he befriends Toothless, a Night Fury dragon. Together, they strive to change their community’s perception of dragons. 

Watching How to Train Your Dragon can enhance your trip to Norway by sparking a sense of wonder for the country’s natural beauty and curiosity about its past. Families can explore the coastal regions of Norway, and children may imagine themselves on their own dragon-riding adventures amidst Norway’s enchanting scenery. It can also spark conversations and deeper dives into learning more about Viking history and Norse Mythology, where dragons played an important role.

The author and her family hiking Jostedal Glacier in Norway

Movies About Norway to Add to Your Watchlist

I hope you found some wonderful movies about Norway to add to your watchlist in this article! Let they joy of your trip extend far beyond your time in Norway by learning and enjoying as much as you can before you arrive. Trip Scholars is dedicated to helping you make the most of learning through travel so take some time to explore our site and see how we can enhance your travels.

Tell us about your plans for Norway in the comments or your favorite Norwegian films. We’d love to hear from you!

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Museum Tips: How To Make the Most of Visiting a Museum

Museums are often the crown jewels of a place, concentrating valued treasures into a single, exhilarating space. Within their walls we find some of the most vivid and profound windows into the art, history, culture, and natural wonders of our world. But with so much value in one place they are often vast, overwhelming, and expensive, leaving visitors looking for the best museum tips for their visits.

Personally, I have had some of the most meaningful experiences of my life in museums and I know how powerful they can be. I have also organized multiple group visits to museums and have experience helping visitors make the most visiting a museum. In this article, I’ll share how to make your visit as stress free, enjoyable, and meaningful as it can be with tips you can use before, during, and after your trip.

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

Visiting a museum with kids or teens? Read our supplemental article here: Tips for Visiting a Museum With Kids

Museum Tips: Before You Go

The First People, Susan Point

Know That You are Welcome

You don’t need to know anything special to enjoy yourself in a museum. They are made for everyone and your experience will be personal to you. There are countless types of museums, choose one that appeals to you and enjoy it in a way that is meaningful to you. The rest of this article will share many ways to enhance your trip, but the most important thing is just to go! Choose the tips that are best for you and plan your trip to a museum today.

Visit the Website

One of the best museum tips is to visit the website before you go. Most museums have websites and apps that provide detailed information about their collections, temporary exhibitions, special events, opening hours, and admission fees. Look at the maps, suggested tours, and exhibits. Planning ahead allows you to focus on what interests you most, saving time and ensuring you don’t miss out on your favorite experiences while you are visiting the museum.

Plan Your Visit

The most frequent mistake visitors make when visiting a museum is using their energy and time at the exhibits that happen to be closest to the entrance. Research shows that we usually spend the most time and energy with the first exhibits we see. By the time we reach further rooms, we are often experiencing museum fatigue. So spend time before you arrive thinking about what you really want to see and go to those rooms first. You don’t need a detailed itinerary, unless you want one! Instead, choose a few things you are most interested in and head there early.

Planning a trip to Greece Minoan Ladies In Blue, Knossos Palace, Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete, Greece
Heraklion Archaeological Museum, Crete, Greece

Learn  Before You Go

Use books, blogs, movies, videos, the museum’s website and other resources to familiarize yourself with the collections. Many museums offer a section on their website for educators or parents with activities and resources to enhance learning before and after the trip. Even if you don’t engage in the actual activities, you will get ideas about creative ways to approach the exhibits.

The more we understand the context of what we see, the deeper our understanding often is. Trip Scholars is dedicated to helping travelers learn more and you will find many resources throughout this website. We also have a free guide with step-by-step activities you can do to learn more before you go. Grab your free copy here!

 Check for Discounts and Special Offers

Many museums offer discounts or free admission on certain days or specific times, especially for students, seniors, and children.  If you are traveling with anyone in these groups, be sure they bring their school or government ID so they can get free or discounted admissions.

Additionally, many libraries have museum passes to nearby museums that  locals can check out with their library card. Some museums offer free admission to underserved communities through programs like Museums for All. 

The majority of  museums also have memberships that provide benefits like free entry for a year, discounted tickets for guests, and invitations to special events. If you plan on going multiple times in one year, these passes are a great deal. There are also reciprocal relationships between many museums, like the North American Reciprocal Museum Association (NARM), so check your fine print. 

The line outside of the Palace of Versailles that we skipped

Skip the Line if You Can

Some of the most popular museums in the world have entrance lines that can take hours to get through. If you only have a limited time in a city, this can significantly impact your trip. There are frequently multiple ways to skip these lines, but you have to do some research beforehand to take advantage of this museum tip.  

Savvy travelers who plan to visit multiple museums in a city or region find out if there is a local museum pass program. These allow you to visit multiple museums and other sites within a set period of time for one price. If using a multi-site pass that requires picking it up in person, consider picking it up at one of the less frequented sites so you can skip the line. Many can be purchased on your phone in advance.

Another option is to buy timed entrance tickets online in advance. Many entrances will have two lines, one for general entry and another, much shorter line, for timed tickets. You can often purchase the timed ticket from your phone while you are standing in front of the entrance and save yourself lots of time.

One of the best features of many tours is that they allow you to skip the lines. Get Your Guide has options for most major museums, with some offering just a skip the line option without an actual tour.

I have found some of the best skip the line options by reading travel forums like Tripadvisor, Rick Steves, and Fodors. Use the search feature and see what you can find. We were able to skip the enormous line at Versailles by eating breakfast in a restaurant that exited directly into the entrance to the palace. We have also learned about less well known entrances that have shorter lines and a quicker entry on these forums.

Not all museums require a skip the line option though. Read up before you spend money and find out if these skip the line museum tips are really needed.

Chihuly Glass Museum, Seattle, Washington

Consider Timing

If you want to avoid crowds when visiting a museum, consider visiting during non-peak hours, such as weekdays. Keep in mind that schools often have field trips during the week, so early morning and mid afternoon on those days often have fewer visitors. Sensory-friendly hours are being offered at more museums too, often before museums open to the general public and you will find fewer crowds and lessened stimulation. 

Free admission days or times are often the most crowded, so plan accordingly if avoiding crowds is important to you.

Museums frequently close on specific weekdays (most often Mondays), so be sure to check the website. Additionally, check if the museum has special events or exhibitions during specific times that might interest you. 

Also choose a time that is good for you personally. Ensuring that you and your companions are not hungry, thirsty, tired, or sick will make for a much better trip.

Wear comfortable shoes so you are ready for a lot of walking

Dress Comfortably

Wear comfortable shoes because you will likely do a lot of walking and standing on hard ground. Layers of clothing are a great idea, as museum temperatures can vary. Some, like the Vatican Museums, have a dress code so check before you go especially if it is a religious museum.

Understand the Etiquette 

Each museum has its own set of rules and policies. Some may have restrictions on large bags, food, or drinks, while others may not allow strollers or backpacks. Knowing the rules in advance of visiting the museum will help you prepare accordingly. Many offer a coat and bag check so even busy travelers can visit enroute to their next destination.

Photography guidelines vary considerably, sometimes even within a single museum. If you plan to take photos, look up the guidelines before you go.

Common courtesy will serve you well in museums just like anywhere else. If there are many people around an exhibit, wait patiently but don’t be shy about approaching a piece closely when it is your turn. Enjoy the experience, then step back after viewing if others are waiting. You can always circle back or linger and wait for a break in the crowds. In fact, there will often be  waves of crowds at the most popular sites. On multiple occasions, I have waited for the wave to pass and appreciated viewing mostly to myself.

Tile Museum, Lisbon, Portugal

Museum Tips: While You are There

Start with a Map

Museums are some of the biggest buildings in the world! When you arrive at the museum, pick up a map or use an app if available. Familiarize yourself with the layout and identify the areas or exhibits you’re most excited about. This way, you won’t feel overwhelmed by the vastness of the space. Feel free to meander, but use a map to help you get to the sites you most want to see.

Take in the Big Picture

When you arrive in each room, take a moment to step back and take in the big picture. What catches your eye? You don’t need to stop at every piece. This can also be a fascinating opportunity to watch others interacting with the exhibits and notice the flow of the space.

Javanese Art, Asian Civilizations Museum, Singapore

Take Your Time

Spend as much or as little time as you need in each section, absorbing the history and culture behind each piece.  A study shows that the mean time visitors spend with a piece is 29 seconds. It is not possible to take in a piece fully in that amount of time, so instead, dive deeper into the pieces that you are drawn to.

Notice your natural reaction to a piece and spend time reflecting on how it makes you feel or what it makes you think about. Wait to read the label and honor your own thoughts before reading what others have to say about it.

Audio tours are a great option

Choose Your Tours Carefully

Tours can greatly enhance a museum experience by helping visitors understand the historical and cultural contexts of the exhibits. 

Many museums offer audio tours.These can be a fantastic option because they are affordable and you can choose which exhibits you want to learn more about. Some have their audio tours available for free download before you arrive, allowing you to skip the audio tour checkout  line inside. There are also third party sites like Rick Steves that offer free and paid audio tours for popular museums. Consider bringing your own earbuds that you can use with some audio guides. 

Tour guides, who are often gifted at bringing the exhibits to life, can be another valuable option. Many museums offer free and paid guided tours and it is worth checking the website to see what time they offer tours in a language you speak. While guided tours can be informative, don’t feel obligated to stick with the group the entire time. It’s perfectly fine to break away and explore at your own pace if you find something particularly fascinating. There are also third party sites that have tour guides available for hire and these are often the best choice for private tours.

You can also act as your own tour guide by doing research in advance. This not only allows you a much richer understanding of what you are seeing, it also gives you the space to be fully present. Visitors sometimes have transcendent experiences in museums and that can be more natural when standing alone next to a piece instead of being in a large group listening to a guide.

Share the Museum With Others

Visiting a museum can be enhanced both by time alone and time with others. Depending on your trip, you might want some of both.

Museums easily ignite curiosity and new ideas so they are ideal places to share with others. As Adam Gopnik shares in an article in The Walrus, “Talking in museums is one of the things that makes them matter.” I’ve enjoyed fascinating conversations with loved ones, students, and strangers in museums and have grown from many of them. 

Finding a quiet corner

Consider Going Solo

Time alone in a museum can be transformative. This is known as the numinous museum experience and in the words of K.F. Latham at Kent State University  it is, “characterized by deep engagement or transcendence, empathy, and a feeling of awe or reverence.” To reach this psychological state it can help to be alone with the exhibits. Giving ourselves the space to dive deep into our thoughts while standing in front of a Van Gogh painting or touching a massive meteorite can bring us to rapturous tears and is well worth finding some time alone when visiting a museum.

Time alone in a museum also allows us to find our own rhythm and spend as long or as little as we want with each piece. We can find a quiet corner or bench in front of a favorite piece to nurture our reflections or move quickly through spaces that don’t pique our interests.

Sketch or Journal

Bringing a sketchbook or journal when visiting the museum can be a creative way to engage with the collections. You don’t need to be an artist, jotting down your impressions can deepen your connection to the exhibits.

Lunch titled “Still Life” at the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam where even the food is a work of art!

Take Breaks

The human brain has limits on how long we can concentrate, so if you are at a museum for an extended period add in some breaks. 

Many museums have cafes, some quite beautiful and inviting with menus inspired by the collections. They can be a wonderful place to connect with family and friends and share what you have been seeing. If you are visiting solo, they are a great place to process what you have been experiencing and make decisions about the rest of your visit.

Another good place for a break is the gift shop. Even if you choose not to buy anything, you might find books, films, or activities to enjoy once you are home.

Many museums have a garden, sculpture garden, or other outside space that offers a quiet place for contemplation and rest. Some are even offering rooms that serve as meditation of yoga spaces. You can also often find a film or amphitheater that will give you a chance to rest in between exhibits.

Finally, one of the best options is often a quiet corner or bench away from the crowds. It can be fascinating to watch others interact with the exhibits  while you are appreciating the museum and resting.

Jeff Koons, Venus with the author taking a photo reflected in the piece

Keep Your Phone in Your Pocket

One of the best museum tips is to keep your phone in your pocket. Museums allow us to enter a state of flow where we can be fully present. Our phones distract us and break this opportunity for deeper thought and connection.

It is common to find many visitors taking multiple selfies in front of famous works, only to quickly move on to get their next photo. All without appreciating or being fully present to what they are seeing.

Yet, museums allow us to experience in person things we have thought about for years before arriving and it is natural to want to capture it in a photo. What is the best way to navigate these competing ideas?

One idea is to decide in advance not to take photos. Some museums restrict all photography so the decision will be made for you. In this case, you can decide instead to get books, postcards, or prints to enjoy at home instead.

Another option is to control our impulse to take out our phone while we enjoy an exhibit and only upon leaving the room, decide what to go back and photograph. This keeps us in the present moment, but also allows us to capture a few pictures to remember the day.

Museum Tips: After Your Visit

Reflect on Your Experience

After leaving the museum, take some time to reflect on your visit. What did you find most captivating? Did any particular piece leave a lasting impression? 

Continue the Conversation

Share your museum experience with friends, family, or fellow art, history, science, or nature enthusiasts. Discussing your visit with others can deepen your understanding and appreciation of the artworks and artifacts you encountered.

Museum gift shops provide opportunities to continue learning at home

Explore Further

If a particular exhibit or artist piqued your interest, consider delving deeper. A great museum tip is to read books, watch documentaries, or attend lectures related to the subject. Learning more about what you saw can enhance your appreciation. Trip Scholars offers a range of ideas in this free guide.

Keep the Memories Alive

There are many ways to continue nurturing the thoughts and feelings you experienced in the museum. Share your photos in static or digital frames, create photo books and collages, or share them on social media. Journaling or sketching once home can let you dive much deeper. The gift shop will likely have home decor, clothing items, holiday decorations and much more that will serve as vivid reminders of your visit. 

Inspired by your museum visit, try your hand at creating art or exploring a new hobby. You might discover a latent talent or find a new way to express yourself. You will often find activities that you can bring home in the gift shop whether it is a set of watercolors, a science kit, or a field guide to bring out on the trail. 

Keeping museum memories alive

Become a Member

Consider becoming a museum member. Museums rely on community support to thrive and continue to offer valuable experiences. 

Members often receive free admission for a year, discounted or free tickets to share with others, behind the scenes information and newsletters, and invitations to special events. If you plan to visit more than once a year, museum memberships can be a fantastic choice especially because you can enjoy short visits on multiple occasions.

Consider giving the gift of museum memberships to friends and family. These can be very thoughtful and useful presents. Memberships are often ideal for families and people who prefer experiences to things. I have been both the grateful recipient and gift giver of museum memberships and know that they are some of the most memorable of all gifts!

Check out our supplemental article Visiting a Museum with Kids

Making the Most of Visiting a Museum

Visiting a museum can be a truly enriching experience if you take the time to prepare, engage, and reflect. By following these museum tips before, during, and after your visit, you’ll not only make the most of your museum trip but also develop a deeper connection with the diverse array of human creativity and expression on display. What tips do you recommend to others? Tell us in the comments or let us know what questions you have about your next museum visit!

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Destination Inspiration: Where to Next?

Destination Inspiration boat in clear water near a small island

Are you looking for destination inspiration and wondering, “Where should I travel next?” With a world full of incredible destinations you want to learn about, it’s natural to seek inspiration for your next travel adventure. Finding your next travel destination can be an exciting journey in itself.

Keep a running list of the places you hope to visit. One of the keys to frequent or affordable travel  is flexibility. If you already know where you want to go, you can take advantage of deals and opportunities when they arise.

If you are traveling as a family, with your partner, or with friends, be inspired by their dream destinations too. So, where can you turn to for that much-needed travel destination inspiration in ways that are authentic to you, your dreams, and your values? Let’s explore some sources that can help you answer, “Where to next?”

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

1. Books

Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Books have the power to transport you to different worlds, both real and imaginary. Dive into travel literature, memoirs, or novels set in exotic locales. Trip Scholars is filled with book recommendations related to many destinations that might spark your interest. Learn how to plan your own trip inspired by your favorite books or authors in, How to Plan a Literary Trip.

2. Movies and Television

Film has the ability to capture the essence of a destination. Watch travel documentaries, movies, animated series, historical docudramas, international television shows and more. They will showcase breathtaking landscapes, highlight local actors, directors, and writers, and peak your interest about the rich cultures of your destinations. Check out these inspiring films in Hawai’i, Greece and France to help you answer the question, where to next?

3. Music

Flamenco dancing in Madrid, Spain

Music is a universal language that can evoke feelings and memories of a specific place. Create a playlist of songs from your favorite travel destinations or listen to local music from countries you’re interested in. Let the rhythm guide you to your destination inspiration.

4. Games

Video games and board games can be a surprising source of inspiration. Games like “Assassin’s Creed” are known for their stunning, immersive worlds that inspire travel. Board games such as Seven Wonders and Ticket to Ride might spark an interest in the historical and cultural aspects of a location. The Best Video, Card and Board Games– Travel the World From Home offers dozens of travel inspired games.

5. Curiosity

Perhaps one of the most significant sources of inspiration is your innate curiosity. What questions do you have that could be better understood by experiencing them in person? What inspires you to learn more about our world? Plan a trip around your questions for some of the most impactful travel experiences.

6. Personal Growth

Sometimes, the desire to travel is driven by a desire for personal growth and self-discovery. Seek destinations that challenge you, push you out of your comfort zone, and help you grow as an individual. If you are traveling to heal or rest, choose places of rejuvenation.

7. History

The past can be a treasure trove of inspiration. Explore the history of different regions, learn about their ancient civilizations, and be captivated by their stories. Historical sites often make for fascinating travel destinations. Get ideas about visiting archeological sites and visiting UNESCO World Heritage Sites in our inspiring articles. For a unique and much deeper understanding consider Ideas for Timelines: Organize Your History Travel Studies.

8. Nature

Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone
Grand Canyon Of The Yellowstone, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA.

For those who find solace in the beauty of the natural world, nature itself can be a powerful source of travel inspiration. Whether you’re drawn to towering mountains, pristine beaches, lush forests, or arid deserts, there’s a world of wonder waiting to be explored as you decide where to next. Find more inspiration from our natural world by including astronomy travel, nature photography, and nature journaling into your travels.

9. Art

For art enthusiasts, the world is endlessly intriguing. Explore destinations with renowned art museums, street art scenes, or and galleries. Find inspiration for your own creative expression and pack your sketchpad and pencils on your next trip.

10. Food & Drinks

One of the most delightful aspects of travel is the opportunity to indulge in the culinary delights of different regions. Exploring food and drinks can often be a powerful source of travel inspiration. If you’re a foodie, let your taste buds lead the way to your next destination.

11. Heritage and Ancestry Travel

Morocco music travel education
Instruments in Morocco

For those seeking a deep, personal connection to their heritage, ancestry travel is a compelling option. Explore the lands of your ancestors, discover your family’s history, and connect with your cultural roots in a profoundly meaningful way. Heritage Tours: How to Plan Your Own Ancestry Travel provides an easy to follow step-by-step guide.

12. Performances

Live performances around the world are often the cornerstones of the best travel itineraries. From Broadway shows in New York to traditional theater in Tokyo or the Globe Theater in London, experiencing performances in their cultural context adds a unique layer to your travel experiences.

Carnival, Venice, Italy

13. Festivals

Learning about the local culture through festivals can be intriguing. Experiencing unique traditions, celebrations, and religious events can be a significant factor in choosing your next travel destination.

14. Sports

From the World Cup to the Olympics, sports can be a passport to thrilling destinations. Plan your travels around sporting events or pursue your passions like golf, surfing, or hiking in iconic locations.

15. Connect with Family

Seeing family is one of the most popular reasons to travel. Visiting relatives in their hometowns can strengthen bonds, create lasting memories, and provide an authentic local perspective that traditional tourism often can’t match. Consider meeting up in a new location with relatives or planning a reunion to connect multiple generations.

16. Volunteering

Consider travel that makes a difference. Volunteering opportunities worldwide allow you to immerse yourself in local communities, contribute to meaningful projects, and leave a positive impact. Unfortunately there are unethical voluntourism organizations, so it’s imperative to research carefully.

Pena Palace, Sintra, Portugal

17. Well-Traveled Family and Friends

Your loved ones who’ve explored various destinations can offer firsthand recommendations and insights. They can share their experiences and help you decide where you should travel next.

18. Travel Blogs and Podcasts

Follow travel blogs and podcasts you are drawn to. They provide in-depth information about various destinations, including travel tips, local experiences, and must-see attractions. The best are created by passionate and well informed travelers and who will inspire some of your most unforgettable trips.

19. Online Forums and Travel Communities

Join travel forums and online communities like TripAdvisor, Rick Steves, or Reddit. FaceBook has many useful travel group specific to particular kinds of travel. Fellow travelers often share their experiences and recommendations, and you can engage in conversations to gather insights.

20. Social Media

Travel Education Site
Mount Fuji, Japan

Humans are visual animals and in today’s digital age, social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest are treasure troves of travel inspiration. Follow travel influencers and bloggers who share captivating images and insightful information about their adventures. Keep in mind that much of what we see is not an accurate representation of what we might see in person.

21. Travel Points and Deals

Leverage travel rewards programs and keep an eye out for special travel deals and discounts. Sometimes, the opportunity to visit a new place can come down to the cost, so being savvy about points and deals is crucial.

Destination Inspiration

In the end, inspiration for your next travel destination can come from anywhere. The key is to remain open, curious, and ready to plan travel that will create lasting memories and enrich your life in countless ways. How do you like to answer the question, “Where to next?” Tell us in the comments, we would love to hear from you!

Happy travels!

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How to Plan an Itinerary: Your 9 Step Guide to Amazing Trips

Person writing in a notebook with a map, passports, camera and phone on desk showing how to plan an itinerary

Are you excited about your next trip, but confused about how to plan an itinerary? You’re not alone, planning the itinerary is challenging! In this post, we’ll break it into easy to follow steps and dive into the best way to organize a travel itinerary, how to write one from scratch, and even explore tools and templates that will make the process fun and easier!

If you are wondering how to write a travel itinerary, it all depends on your preferences and the kind of trip you want. Some people prefer to be spontaneous, some like things scheduled by the hour, and many people prefer something in-between. Local and slow travel can often have looser plans than once-in-a-lifetime dream vacations. 

At Trip Scholars we focus on learning through travel so these steps will also highlight how you can learn more about your destination (and yourself!) through planning your itinerary.

Ready to make your travel itinerary? Let’s get started!

This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for your support!

Step 1: Decide On Your Destination

Deciding on your destination is an exciting, but sometimes daunting, first step. It can be helpful to keep a running list of places you want to visit. As you plan each new trip, look at your list while considering how long you will be traveling. Also think about when you will travel. Weather has a big impact on travel plans and seasons play a major role in costs and crowds.

Step 2:  Define Your Travel Goals

The most important  step when deciding how to plan an itinerary is to clearly define your travel goals and reflect on what you hope to get from the trip.  Ask yourself some key questions:

  • What do you want to see and do on your trip?
  • Why do you want to take this trip? Are you seeking relaxation, adventure, cultural immersion, connection with your family or friends, self exploration, or a mix of these?
  • Who will you be traveling with? What are their hopes and needs?
  • Do you have physical and mental health concerns to consider in relation to the trip?
  • How will your values impact your travel choices?

By being self-reflective and having a clear understanding of what you hope to experience, you can tailor your itinerary to your specific needs and preferences.

Step 3 : Create a Travel Budget

The next step in creating your itinerary is to create a travel budget. At this early stage, decide how much you have available to spend on your trip. 

Grab our free budget planner or make a document with the different categories of trip expenses: transportation, lodging, food & drinks, activities, gear, education, etc. The biggest travel expenses are usually transportation and lodging so look at these first. Fill in estimates for each category as you research and the other steps in this guide.

To stay within budget, you will need to trim expenses in one category in order to splurge in another. 

Track your actual expenses while traveling and make adjustments as needed. When you return from your trip, take time to compare your expected with your actual expenses. This will help you make adjustments for your future travel budgets.

There is enormous variability in the costs of travel depending on location and travel styles. If your travel budget is especially frustrating, consider changing your destination, length of your trip, or your travel style.

Grab our free Travel Budget Planner here!

Step 4: Research Your Destination

Thorough research is the foundation of a successful itinerary. Start by gathering information about your destination, including:

  • Attractions and landmarks
  • Local nature, culture, and history
  • Weather conditions during your travel dates
  • Recommended accommodations, restaurants, and transportation options

Trip Scholars offers many resources to help you learn more about the nature, history, and culture of your travel destinations. Get your free guide with activities you can start enjoying today here.  Your richer understanding of the destination will help you find the perfect activities and get the most out of them in person while traveling.

You can also use guidebooks, travel websites, blogs, and more to gather insights and recommendations.

Step 5: Book Your Transportation

If you are flying, you can generally find the best prices 1-3 months ahead for domestic flights and 2-8 months ahead for international flights. If you have very specific travel dates or you are traveling during peak times, get your tickets earlier.

Use flight search tools like Google Flights or Skyscanner to compare your options. Consider setting up an alert so you are notified when prices drop. When you find the flight you want, book it directly with the airline so that if there are delays, cancellations, or other disruptions, you can communicate directly with the airline.

Step 6: Reserve Your Accommodations

Select and book accommodations that suit your budget and preferences. Consider the proximity to your top sites and public transportation.

Step 5: Create a List of Activities

Start a brainstorming list where you can add sites, activities, performances, events, festivals, restaurants, lodging options, interesting transportation ideas and more. If you are traveling with friends or family, invite them to add their ideas too. Include the hyperlinks so people can learn more about each potential itinerary activity.

Once you have a list of all the things you might want to do, the best way to organize a travel itinerary is to prioritize the experiences that matter most to you and your travel companions. Identify your must-see activities and let everything else be a bonus if you have time. Research hours, prices, closures, and discounted or free options for the places you want to visit. Attraction websites and travel forums can often provide useful tips. 

FOMO is real, and it can help to assume you will return someday. Keep in mind that overloading your schedule can lead to exhaustion, so strike a balance.

Prioritize your favorite activities like visiting the Viglands Sculpture Park in Oslo, Norway.

Step 6: Plan an Itinerary for Your Trip

With your goals and research in mind, it’s time to create your itinerary. Decide on the number of days you’ll spend at each destination and allocate time for key activities and attractions. 

Once you have your top picks and know when sites are open, you are ready to plan each day of your trip. First add any events that can only happen on a specific day such as performances or difficult to get reservations. Then group activities in similar areas together.  

Some people prefer to assign specific time slots to activities while others prefer to loosely plan around a couple of key activities each day. Try different options until you find your own travel style.

Transportation between activities often takes longer than expected so you can use maps, navigation apps, and public transportation options to get accurate times. Don’t forget to add meals, grocery shopping, laundry, and relaxation to your plan.

There are many formats to choose from to create your actual itinerary. Whether using paper and pen, spreadsheets, maps, or apps, there is an option for everyone. Keep reading to see many tools to choose from below in this article.

Step 7: Make Your Reservations and Purchase Tickets

Gone are the days of seeing popular destinations without a reservation. Reservations are now required at many of the world’s most visited national parks, museums, campgrounds, and sites. To avoid disappointment, even those who love spontaneity now book these in advance.

Occasionally, these may sell out months in advance and within minutes of going on sale. In this case, take this step much earlier in your itinerary planning.

If you are visiting a major city, consider getting a pass that includes admission to major sites and local transportation. These often allow you to skip long lines at attractions, although you may still need to secure reservations for the most sought after sites.

This is also a good time to get reservations at popular restaurants you want to visit.

The Anne Frank House in Amsterdam is one of many places where reservations are required far in advance.

Step 8: Expect the Unexpected and Plan Downtime

While it’s helpful to have a structured itinerary, don’t forget to leave room for disruptions and spontaneity. Unpleasant disruptions are often more bearable when we realize that, to some extent, they are an inevitable part of life and travel. And serendipitous discoveries and unexpected experiences can often be the most memorable part of your trip! 

Respecting the physical and mental health of everyone we are traveling with (including ourselves!) is key to making the best use of our itinerary. If people are hungry, overwhelmed, or exhausted, let go of the itinerary and adjust the plans.

And, as tempting as it is to see every site, build in downtime as you plan an itinerary. You’ll be able to reflect on and appreciate your journey as well as rest and rejuvenate yourself in the midst of your adventures.

Step 9: Enjoy Your Well Planned Trip!

Now it’s time to enjoy the trip that you have so thoughtfully planned! Use the digital or physical tools below to make the most of your itinerary while you travel.

Example of a Travel Itinerary

For a clearer understanding, let’s take a peek at an example of a travel itinerary:

Example of Travel Itinerary

Plan an Itinerary: The Best Tools

Many travelers use a combination of tools to make the most of their trips. I use a combination of Google Maps, a spreadsheet for the details, and TripIt to hold and organize all of my reservations and tickets.

In this digital age, creating a travel itinerary is easier than ever. Here are some valuable tools and templates that will keep important information well-organized and easily accessible during your trip.

Free Travel Itinerary Apps

If you prefer a mobile solution, there are several free travel itinerary apps available for download. Apps like TripIt, TripCase, and Roadtrippers, are designed to streamline your travel planning and many offer real-time updates on flight changes and delays.

Creating a Travel Itinerary Map

Consider creating a visual map of your itinerary using Google Maps. If you are planning a road trip, here is a great guide. It’s a great way to see the locations of your planned activities.

Create a Travel Itinerary Template

If you’re a frequent traveler, creating your own template is a smart move. You can tailor it to your specific needs, ensuring that your future trips are organized seamlessly. 

Glacial lake in North Cascades showing the value of planning an itinerary
Road trips benefit from itineraries too, helping you see sites like Diablo Lake in Washington.

Planning a perfect itinerary is a balance of careful planning and the flexibility to adapt to the unexpected. By following these steps, you can craft a well-thought-out travel plan that maximizes your experience, minimizes stress, and ensures that you make the most of your precious time exploring new destinations. Remember that the perfect itinerary is the one that aligns with your travel goals and allows you to savor every moment of your adventure. 

What steps would you like more support with? Tell us in the comments and so we can get you the answers. Happy travels!

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Worldschoolers Book

Erica Forrest, author with her book Worldschoolers: Innovative Parents Turning Countries Into Classrooms

Worldschoolers Book

 This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for helping us keep the lights on!

I’m one of twenty-two authors in the best selling and inspiring anthology, Worldschoolers: Innovative Parents Turning  Countries Into Classrooms! Benefit from the wide range of experiences and lifestyles to find creative and exciting travel ideas for your own family. The incredible breadth between the covers of this book invites the reader to jump around and find what will work well for their own family.

There are also loads of helpful ideas and tips readers can use. Many of the authors support worldschooling and traveling families professionally, like I do, so there is access to a wealth of additional resources.

The common themes are powerful and uplifting! Despite the wide range of approaches, there is considerable overlap in the choices the authors made and the ways in which they talk about families, respecting their children, learning, and traveling. 

 

DO YOU WISH YOU COULD TRAVEL MORE?
You've landed in the right place! Tripscholars is here to help you extend the joy and wonder of travel far beyond your days on the road. Find travel education tips and inspiration in our ROADMAPS BLOG. Save yourself time and money by using our TRAVEL RESOURCES LIBRARY where we have already gathered top resources for you to enjoy from home. Tripscholars is where curious travelers come for meaningful travel planning and trip research.

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Nature Journaling and Field Sketching: Creating a Personal Practice

Nature Journaling and Field Sketching: Creating a Personal Practice

Photo and sketch by the author

Nature journaling and field sketching are excellent activities for travelers. Here you will discover how to create your own personal nature journaling practice that you can enjoy anywhere. To discover my simple four step process for getting started, read Nature Journaling for Beginners: Art on the Go Starts at Home.

The most important thing to practice before you start nature journaling and field sketching is simply paying attention. 

Prime your mind to notice nature – the colors, the scents, the specific types of plants. Pay attention to the weather, to the little details of the day, such as the shape of a tree’s leaves and the exact color combinations of a blooming flower. And remember to jot them down. 

The more you pay attention, the easier it becomes to keep a nature journal. 

With time and practice, you’ll be able to develop a habit of paying attention to nature and keeping a nature journal will become second nature.

 This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for helping us keep the lights on!

A great way to practice is to replicate the illustrations in a field guide.

Nature Journal Ideas

To get your imagination activated, here are a few nature journaling challenges to try. 

Real Time Observation

Sit still and quiet, observing, and then writing or sketching what you see. Start with your Quick Check-in then expand it to include anything that is most notable to you. While at home, imagine you’re on a trip in a place you may never return to. What stands out to you? What would you want to remember later? See if you can put that onto paper.

Look Closely

Sit still and quiet. Try to capture what you see in sketches, words, and colors. To exercise your imagination, pick something around you. Look closely and carefully at all its details. Look away and draw it from memory. Look again, what did you miss? Repeat this process until you feel your sketch is complete. Sketching in this way helps stick an image in your mind.

Colorful Compositions

Mix pieces of scenery into a composite of things you see, narrowing focus, distorting proportion to create perspective, and bringing the page to life with the colors around you. This type of nature journaling distills the immense amount that you see down to a unique composition of your observations. 

Mind’s Eye Imagining

When you get back from a hike or excursion, sit for a few minutes with your journal. Close your eyes, retrace your steps. What stands out? What can you still see clearly? Then, put your memories onto paper.A great way to enhance your ability to see things clearly in your mind’s eye and to exercise your imagination. 

These are the teachings of my mother, the naturalist author, Ellen Haas. You can find her books and her column on my site at Ziebee Media. You can also purchase through her books through Amazon below.

Create a Routine Before You Leave

When on the go, it is easy to forget to carve out time to sit with your journal, to sketch the day’s notes, and to document the details you want to remember. This is why it is key to practice at home before you go on your trip. 

Paying attention applies here too, as you’ll want to pay attention to the best times in your day’s natural flow to pause and put pencil to paper in your journal. 

Here are some of my favorite times to mix nature journaling into my day.

A snapshot of my indoor nature journaling sit spot.

Greet the Day with Nature Journaling in the Morning

This is a great way to get grounded and set the tone for a productive day. Take in all the sights and smells of your surroundings and let the peace of nature wash over you. Put your nature journal and pencils right on your bedside table. When you get up, grab your supplies and take a look outside. Quickly jot down the date, time, location, and weather. Then, add a doodle or short paragraph about one noteworthy thing that you observe. This can take as a little as 5 minutes or upwards of 20 depending on how much time you have. 

Take a Break with Nature Journaling at Lunch Time

When you’re taking a lunch break, whether on a hike, at home, or on the go, set aside 15 minutes to journal. Add some sketches to capture your current scenery and pay attention with all your senses to what’s happening around you. Practice putting it onto paper, narrowing it down to just a few key things.

Reflect on the Day with Nature Journaling in the Evening

At the end of the day, before you head to bed grab your nature journal and find a comfortable place to sit. Close your eyes. Replay your day. What stands out? What was noteworthy? Allow your mind to wander and jot down the best words you can think of to capture the day.

How to Create the Habits You Want

The Power of Habit 

The key to a daily practice is to make it a habit, this book can help you understand how to create habits of your choice. 

Create Your Own Nature Journaling and Field Sketching Personal Practice

Did you find a nature journaling and field sketching challenge you are ready to try? How about a journaling routine you can incorporate into your day? Tell me about them in the comments!

They are sure to enhance both your days at home and while traveling. Grab your journal and give them a try!

This guest post was contributed by Mackenzie Bakewell

We love to learn from our guest writers and appreciate their expertise! Visit her website by clicking on the image or name below. 

Picture of Mackenzie Bakewell

Mackenzie Bakewell

Mackenzie is a multimedia artist and author and the creator of Journey of Colors, a coloring book product line designed to help people of all ages relax, get creative, and have fun making art in their everyday lives. She is the author of Coloring is Good for You: 13 Reasons to Color Daily and the publisher of the Curious Coyote Nature Education book series. Based in the Pacific Northwest, Mackenzie’s work is inspired by a lifetime of exploring nature and new places with her camera and sketchbook in hand.
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The Best Books About Greece to Inspire Your Travels

The Best Books About Greece to Inspire Your Travels

 This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for helping us keep the lights on!

Be inspired by this engaging collection of books about Greece! Enhance both your trip to Greece and your time at home by extending your discovery and excitement for weeks, months, or years beyond your time in the country! Get started today and dramatically enrich your understanding of Greek history and culture, which will amplify your experience of the country. I have asked seasoned travel writers to share the books they most recommend to other travelers and hope you find a few books on Greece that are perfect for you!

Table of Contents

Books About Greek History

The Hemlock Cup: Socrates, Athens and the Search for the Good Life by Bettany Hughes

The Hemlock Cup transports readers to Socrates’ Athens—the fifth century B.C.E. in the heart of ancient Greece’s Golden Age. The 528-page book is packed with historical information while remaining very entertaining and readable, which makes it one of the best books about Greek history.

Essentially a biography of the philosopher who left no writings yet is credited as the founder of Western philosophy, The Hemlock Cup recreates Athens as Socrates knew it during his 70-year lifetime.

The celebrated British historian and television presenter Bettany Hughes creates a vivid portrait of the ancient city devastated by war yet simultaneously giving birth to democracy.

First-time visitors to Athens will be struck by how many ancient structures still exist among the modern-day buildings. As Hughes muses, “Walking through the bleached bones of ancient sites, it is easy to forget how hectic they once were.”

But in The Hemlock Cup, she’s able to bring these remnants of ancient Greece back to life, enhancing your visit to Athens and encouraging you to seek out the streets that Socrates walked so many centuries ago.

Contributed by Carrie Ann at Should Be Cruising

The Greek Treasure by Irving Stone

The Greek Treasure is a historical novel about the German archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann and is another of the best books on Greek history. Schliemann is still regarded as one of the most important and controversial archaeologists of all time, despite his lack of formal education in the field. Schliemann excavated the presumed site of Homeric Troy and the Mycenaean sites Mycenae and Tiryns. His profound love for Greek antiquity led him to live the second part of his life in Athens with his Greek wife, Sophia.

The book follows each step of his improbable marriage with a very young Greek girl and their journeys to unearthing ancient treasures. It also tells the story of their life at home in Athens from the 1870s-to 1890. Those pages will take you back in time. You will hear the horseshoes on Athens’ streets, the voice of the yogurt seller in the morning, and you will smell the fresh coffee in the Plaka neighborhood. 

When you look for the non-touristy Athens, you can make your way to their mansion, now a numismatic museum, and learn more about the couple that dedicated a lot of their lives to Athens and Greek treasures. It will also enhance your visits to the archeological sites and to the National Archeological Museum where many think that the famous “Mask of Agamemnon” was altered to look like Heinrich Schliemann himself!

Contributed by Anda Bartos at Travel for a While

Books About Greek Mythology

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Circe by Madeline Miller

Circe is the retelling of the life of the book’s namesake, Circe. Most of us only know her as the witch on the island that Odysseus visited who turned sailors into pigs. But Miller gives her a much larger role in Greek mythology than just that. As the daughter of Helios, the mightiest of the Titans, Circe is destined to live an extraordinary but difficult life. After Zeus banishes her to a remote island, Circe hones her skill in witchcraft and crosses paths with some of the most famous figures in Greek mythology – the Minotaur, Daedalus and his son Icarus, and, of course, Odysseus.

As a lone woman who stands against the wrath of the gods and refuses to conform to their will, Circe constantly finds herself having to make difficult choices to protect what she cares about. Madeline Miller’s story is beautiful, moving, and unlike any other retelling done before.

Circe is an excellent introduction to some of the most famous characters in Greek mythology, which makes it one of the best books to read before a trip to Greece!

Contributed by Maggie at Pink Caddy Travelogue

Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold and Heroes: Mortals and Monsters, Quests and Adventures, Stephen Fry

Mythos and Heroes are modern retellings of classical Greek myths.  Accomplished actor and comedian Stephen Fry has performed extensive research in the field of mythology.  In these two books, he brings these stories to life with a modern, witty, and sometimes irreverent flair.

Mythos focuses on tales of the Greek gods and their ancestors, the Titans.  You’ll find stories ranging from Zeus overthrowing his father to become the king of the Olympians to Prometheus’ creation of mankind.

Heroes spins tales of mythological mortal heroes and their quests.  Some are well known, like Heracles and his labors, or Jason and his quest for the Golden Fleece.  Others may be lesser known, such as the tales of Atalanta or Bellepheron, but are no less entertaining.

Mythos and Heroes will paint vivid pictures in your mind of locations throughout Greece –from Crete, the island of Zeus’ birth, to the Minotaur’s labyrinth in Knossos.

If you’re a fan of audiobooks, these are self-narrated so you can enjoy Fry’s delightful British accent along with the myths!

Contributed by Lisa at Waves and Cobblestones

Mythology by Edith Hamilton

One of the most fascinating books about Greek mythology is this classic by Edith Hamilton. Interwoven into the best Greek vacations is an awareness of Greek mythology and how it permeates both ancient history and modern culture.

Taking a deep dive before your trip will reward you with a much more profound understanding of many Greek destinations ranging from archaeological sites, museums, and live performances to the constellations you’ll admire in the night sky (both in Greece and at home). Your study will enhance your understanding far beyond your Greek trip, giving you a greater appreciation of both historical and modern art, plays, operas, plays, movies and more.

Edith Hamilton’s interpretations of the myths brings them to life and make them memorable. She also includes Roman and Norse myths in this collection. They are all digestible and relatable to the modern reader, which connects us more intimately to the ancient Greeks.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel Books About Greece

Rick Steves Greece: Athens and the Peloponnese

A good travel guide is an inspiring early choice in planning many trips and Rick Steves Greece: Athens and the Peloponnese is one of the top books on Greece travel. Like all the guidebooks in the extensive series it is overflowing with tips, educational snippets, and helpful suggestions for what to see and how best to plan your trip. Even if you don’t like to have an itinerary, it is useful to know what sites are closed or have reduced rates on particular days and how to save money and time as you explore.

As one of the best Greece books, it provides plenty of ideas to kindle your excitement in the early stages of dreaming up your trip, as well as practical tips as you narrow in on your favorites. Just like most of the RS books, it is meant to be taken apart so you can bring smaller sections with you instead of lugging the whole book on each day’s adventures. The included walking tours are a highlight, although you might prefer his audio guides of the tours, which you can download for free before you leave. The downside to this guide is that the coverage of some of the Greek islands and the northern part of the country isn’t as extensive, and in many cases is lacking altogether. There are some color maps and photos, but most are black and white. If you are a visual learner and looking for eye-catching inspiration, consider watching his episodes on travel to Greece as a supplement.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars

 

Greek Philosophy Books

The Enchiridion by Epictetus

The Enchiridion by Epictetus is a book for those seeking to turn their chaotic life into a peaceful one. Enchiridion means “handbook” and is a compilation of the master’s teachings. Epictetus, a Greek born into slavery, is one of the most important teachers of Stoic philosophy.

This book is a simple guide for a great life. It is divided into short chapters, sometimes just a few sentences long. Each chapter focuses on a common human problem and provides simple yet effective and timeless advice to each. The first sentence of The Enchiridion encompasses Stoicism beautifully: “There are things which are within our power, and there are things which are beyond our power.” In an oversimplified nutshell, Stoicism seeks to teach us how to distinguish between those two and what to do with that distinction. It is really that simple and yet so difficult for us humans. No wonder this philosophy became a go-to personal operating system to many people during the pandemic.

Greece is where Stoicism began around 300 BC in Athens. To pay tribute to this practical philosophy visit the ruins of the Stoa Poikile in Athens. But if you wish to see where Epictetus himself taught, go to Preveza and look for the ruins of the ancient city of Nicopolis where this Greek thinker founded his school of Stoicism.

Contributed by Bea Cińska from PackYourBags

Novels Set in Greece

Zorba the Greek

The masterpiece, Zorba the Greek is an excellent book about Greece to read before your trip. Nikos Kazantzakisis is thought by many to be the greatest Greek author of the modern age. Although he is most well-known for Zorba, he was a prolific and controversial writer. His book, The Last Temptation of Christ was banned but he was also nominated nine times for a Nobel Prize in literature.

It is one of the best Greece books in large part because of the memorable character Zorba himself. Zorba’s great zest for life and ability to laugh and dance despite, and alongside, his deep suffering is something most of us can reflect on at a very personal level. Zorba is sharply contrasted against the bookish and intellectual narrator. This difference invites exploration of the philosophical dichotomies of God and man, mind and body, and freedom and responsibility.

It is an excellent Greek book to read before a trip because it will provide a window into life in a small village in post WWII Crete (where the author grew up). It will also acquaint you with Kazantzakisis and his impact on Greece’s intellectual and literary history. If you visit Crete, you can stop to pay your respects at his tomb in Heraklion.

Contributed by Erica at Trip Scholars

Read more about the film, Zorba the Greek and the biopic, Kazantzakis in our article Best Movies to Watch in Greece Before Your Trip.

Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres

Kefalonia in Greece became widely known after the moving novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. This beautiful Ionian island provides the perfect setting for battle and romance. When WWII struck, Kefalonia was under Italian rule. But when the Italians switched alliances and joined the Allies against the Axis, the Italian troops stationed on the islands refused to obey German orders to leave. As a result, the Germans slaughtered 5,000 Italian soldiers in retribution, an event that inspired this wonderful novel Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis de Bernieres.

While the love story within the book is fiction, the novel itself is based on true events. The peaceful and remote island of Kefalonia, famed for its incredible beauty and light, is shaken to its core when World War II rolls on to its shores.

This book completely brings out the atmosphere of the era, the Greek idiosyncrasies, and will evoke the smells of pine trees and the ease of island life. It is a story about love and survival, an intimate love story set within massive conflict. It captures the soul of Kefalonia and easily transports you to colourful fishing villages on the edge of turquoise waters like Assos Kefalonia. It is definitely a must read before your next Greek holiday.

Contributed by Nicola at All About RosaLilla

The Island, Victoria Hislop

One of the most poignant fiction books about Greece is The Island, based on the history of a leper settlement in eastern Crete. The book follows the lives of several generations of one family – jumping from the present to the past. The story focuses mostly on the village of Plaka and the nearby island of Spinalonga which was home to a community of lepers during the 20th century.

The Island paints a vivid picture of life in the leper colony as well as life on mainland Crete, covering major events over the last hundred years including the Second World War and the development of medicines to treat leprosy.

This is an excellent book for visitors to eastern Crete – the story depicts Cretan village life, the landscapes and seascapes of Greece in beautiful detail. It is possibly to visit the island of Spinalonga today – easily accessible from resort towns such as Agios Nikolaos and Elounda.

Contributed by Annabel Kirk at Smudged Postcard

The King Must Die by Mary Renault

If you’re taking a trip to Greece, you might hear a lot about Theseus on your travels. He was the mystical king and founder of Athens, as well as a hero in Greek mythology. Mary Renault released the historic fiction novel The King Must Die in 1958 and it was hailed as one of the best historical novels of its time by New York Times critic, Orville Prescott.

It tells the story of Theseus and his adventures, but without the mystical elements – no monsters, paranormal creatures or gods. It’s written in a fictional style, which makes it really easy to digest, but she uses real life events to tell her story. As well as learning about Theseus, you’ll take a literary journey through Athens, Crete and Naxos, as well as other Greek Islands. As you learn more about Theseus, you’ll also learn more about Greek culture and traditions from these tales set in Greece. 

If you find historic non-fiction really dry and hard to read, but you want to learn about one of the most important kings in Greek history, you’ll want to give one of the best books about ancient Greece a try.

Contributed by Louisa Smith of Epic Book Society

Nonfiction Books on Greece

My Ikaria by Spiri Tsintiziras

Did you know one of the many reasons to visit Greece is because it’s home to one of only five “Blue Zones” in the world? These zones have the highest concentration of centenarians and supercentenarians globally – people who are live to be over 100 and even 110, respectively. But what is the secret to their long and happy lives?

Melbourne-based Spiri, fed up with her lack of energy and her daily wife-and-mum routine, realised there had to be a solution for her feeling poorly. Intrigued by the people of Ikaria, a small Greek island considered one of the five Blue Zones, she takes it upon herself to start changing small daily habits and live more like the Ikarians.

Eventually, the chance arises for Spiri to actually head to Greece and visit the Ikarians for herself. She experiences first hand how much more connected people are to each other, their local cuisine and nature compared to her fast-paced lifestyle in Australia.

This is one of the best Greek travel books to help readers appreciate a different way of living, and to gain a better understanding of Greek culture and a new perspective on life. It also shares some delicious Yia-Yia (Greek grandmother) approved recipes and alternatives to modern nutrient-poor snacks!

Contributed by Alyse at The Invisible Tourist

Greek to Me by Marry Norris

Part travel memoir and part reference book, Greek To Me  describes Mary Norris’ love affair with Greece.  This book dives into all things Greek, its origins, words, gods, romances and more. It interestingly captures the beauty and complexity of Greece and its language.

Greek To Me is a brilliant book about the growing interest of the author in Ancient Greek, her travels, experiences with the Greek language and her reflections all described with great insight and humor.  The author also spends time discussing the history and mythology of Greece.

You should read this book before going to Greece if you want to learn interesting facts about the Greek language and how much our culture owes to the Ancient Greeks.  The more you known about Greece before you go, the more you’ll understand it when you’re there.

If you’re a fan of travel memoirs or a language geek, you’ll love this book. After reading Greek To Me, you’ll definitely want to book your flight ticket to Greece!

Camille from Everything Yoga Retreat

The Corfu Trilogy by Gerald Durrell

The Corfu Trilogy is a series of popular books set in Greece, the first of which is My Family and Other Animals. It is set in Corfu, one of the most beautiful island destinations in Greece.

Written in a memoir style, the book is a light-hearted account of the author’s childhood years spent on the island. Gerald Durrell, the author, beautifully weaves together the misadventures of his British family and the vivid details of the natural world. All through the humorous narration, you get a glimpse into the lives of the Durrell family and their interesting Greek friends.

The book also takes you through the spellbinding landscape of Corfu – its quaint villages, a scenery of olive trees, busy marketplaces, and dreamy beaches. Some of these you can visit with a private tour. The books were also turned into a tv show, which is quite enjoyable as well.

The story will certainly make you long for the idyllic life of Greek villages and inspire you to meet and learn the ways of the island’s locals.

– Contributed by Vidyut Rautela at triplyzer

 

Perspective: A Greek American Finding His Way in Greece by Peter Manouselis

This book is about a 31-year-old man named Peter who made good money as an investment banker on Wall Street and then unsuccessfully tried his luck as a screenwriter. He decides to leave America and move to his parents’ homeland, Greece, to live with his father on Crete. There he reconnects with his father and his other relatives.

On Crete he embarks on a personal journey, learning a new language and engaging with the new culture. He helps his father harvest grapes and olives, slaughters goats, and now lives a completely different life. The descriptions of the people, the food, and the stunning landscape of Greece are all really beautiful. His observations are often funny but also often emotional experiences, and there is so much adversity in his search for his identity as a Greek American.

The book reads smoothly and in a wonderful way it will show you to the island of Crete. A recommended read if you are looking to embark on a journey to Greece!

Contributed by Martina at PlacesofJuma

Bucket to Greece by V.D. Bucket

One of the best books about Greece to read before your trip is Bucket to Greece. It’s a fun way to learn more about Greek culture, language, and history through a travelogue that feels more like a comic.

Bucket to Greece is a non-fiction book about a British couple who moved to a small mountain village in Greece. They bought a house from someone who left out a few details about the house and the people around it as he sold it to the couple.

There are currently eleven books in this series. So if you liked the first one, there is plenty more to read. It’s best to read the books in chronological order. Though technically, you would also understand the story if you started with a different book.

Reading the books of Bucket to Greece before your trip will give you some firsthand experience before you’ve even arrived. You will feel like you’ve lived in Greece for months.

Contributed by Lara at The Best Travel Gifts

Greek Cookbooks

My Big Fat Greek Cookbook: Classic Mediterranean Soul Food Recipes, by Christos Sourligas, Evdokia Antginas, Angelo Tsarouchas

My Big Fat Greek Cookbook is a great book to read before setting off to Greece as it will not only whet your appetite for all of the delicious Greek dishes waiting for you when you get there, but also provide some insight into Greek food culture! This cookbook includes a variety of recipes for Greek appetizers, main courses, and plenty of desserts. As a vegetarian, my personal favorite is the walnut cake.

I highly recommend reading My Big Fat Greek Cookbook, or any authentic Greek cookbook, before your first trip to Greece – because it will enhance your appreciation for all of the yummy food you’ll get to enjoy! It will add context to which of your dishes traditional classics – engrained into the culture – and which are modernly influenced. It will also enable you to know ahead of time which meals you would like to seek out when choosing restaurants so that you don’t miss any classics! Kalí óreksi!

Contributed by Jill Mascioli at onedaytravelguides.com

 

I hope you have found a book about Greece you can enjoy today! Even if your trip is months or years away, you can enjoy the wonder of Greece right now. Have you read any of these? What did you think of them? What are your top book recommendations for others who are visiting Greece. Tell me in the comments, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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25 Famous Landmarks of Greece With Tips to Visit and Explore From Home

Greek Landmarks the Acropolis of Athens

25 Famous Landmarks of Greece With Tips to Visit and Explore From Home

 This post may contain affiliate links which means Trip Scholars may make a small commission (at no extra cost to you) if you make a purchase.  As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.  Read more here. Thanks for helping us keep the lights on!

Many of the landmarks in Greece have had a profound impact on human history and are integral to legends, literature, and countless pieces of artwork. You have likely been encountering these landmarks of Greece in your studies and and through popular culture throughout your life. Imagine visiting them in person!

Landmarks in Greece connect us to the country’s rich history, vibrant culture, and stunning natural beauty. They inspire curiosity and spark our travel dreams. Discover the most famous landmarks of Greece and learn more about them.

This collection of landmarks is especially for curious travelers, and we have added ideas about how to travel from home related to each destination. You will find entertaining and educational resources so that you can extend the wonder of your trip to the months and years before and after you visit. 

I’ve asked professional travel writers to share their favorite resources related to Greek landmarks so you can better appreciate and understand these fascinating places.

Famous Landmarks of Greece

Table of Contents

Achilleion Palace in Corfu

Landmark in Greece Achilleion Palace
Achilleion Palace, photo by Corina Preda

One of the most beautiful landmarks in Greece is the Achilleion Palace, also known as the Palace of Princess Elizabeth of Austria. Corfu Island is known for its beautiful beaches, but visitors will also want to visit the palace. 

The Empress of Austria, Elizabeth (Sissi), fell in love with Corfu and Greek culture, so she decided to build a palace here. Depressed after her son’s suicide, she bought the land on which Achilleion Palace was built, in Gastouri, 10 km from Corfu town. The palace was her place of refuge, so she left her mark on its decoration. During the world wars, the palace was a war hospital, after that a kindergarten, and later, a casino. Now the palace has become a museum and can be visited both inside and outside. You can reach the gate by car and, after paying the entrance fee, you will receive an audio guide in various languages.

The palace is impressive! It is decorated with motifs from Greek mythology and is dedicated to the Greek hero Achilles (hence the name). You can walk through its rooms to admire the works of art, the objects of the royal families that lived here and elements of Greek culture. The high position offers visitors beautiful views of the Ionian Sea and the green island. 

On hot summer afternoons,  a visit to Achilleion Palace in Corfu is a perfect choice.

Contributed by Corina Preda at Another Milestone

Travel From Home

Click here to watch

A scene from the James Bond movie, "For Your Eyes Only" (1981) was filmed here. Watch it before you visit the palace. 

Travel in Greece

The Acropolis

Landmark in Greece The Acropolis
The Parthenon on the Acropolis, photo by Trip Scholars

The Acropolis of Athens is arguably the most iconic landmark of Western Civilization. Most of the monuments we can now visit on the Acropolis were built during the height of Classical Greek Civilization around the fifth century BCE. After winning the war against the Persians, the great Athenian statesman Pericles (495-429 BCE) initiated much of the construction of the Acropolis. Democratic institutions, art, and philosophical thought all flourished during the Golden Age of Athens. Exceptional artists and architects helped to transform the rocky outcrop into the UNESCO site we cherish today.

The most important monuments on the Acropolis are the Parthenon, the Propylaea, the Erechtheion, and the Temple of Athena Nike. South of the top platform are the Odeon of Herodes Atticus and the Theater of Dionysus. The term acropolis is generic and comes from the Greek akron (highest point) and polis (city). There were many acropolies throughout the Greek world, but it is the Acropolis of Athens that has become a symbol of classical civilization. The extraordinary architectural and artistic monuments that surpassed those of neighboring cities survived for modern visitors to enjoy today.

To avoid the very long lines, get the Combo Ticket in advance, use the south east side entrance, and arrive before the gates open or late in the afternoon. Wear good walking shoes, you’ll be walking on marble; and bring water and a hat since there are very few trees offering shade.

Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel From Home

Click here to watch

To learn more about the Acropolis from home, watch, "The Great Tours: Greece and Turkey, from Athens to Istanbul." The second episode is all about the history of the Acropolis with tips on how to make the most of your visit. Enjoy the 14 day free trial to the Great Courses/Wondruim.

Travel in Greece

Ancient Agora and Temple of Hephaestus

Landmark in Greece The Agora
The Ancient Agora, House of Simon where Socrates reputedly taught, photo by Trip Scholars

The Ancient Agora lies just beneath the Acropolis and was the center of Athenian life during the Classical Age. The Acropolis was only visited on special occasions, but the Agora was where Athenian citizens (free men only) met daily. It was where commercial, social, cultural, political, administrative, and religious activities took place.  

There are many important sites to see within the ancient city center. The Temple of Hephaestus is recognized as the most well preserved ancient Greek temple in the world. It survived in large part because it was used as a Christian church starting in the 7th century. The Museum of the Agora is within the Stoa Attalos and includes exhibitions about life in Ancient Athens. 

Erica at Trip Scholars

Travel From Home

Click here to read

For an in-depth exploration of the Ancient Agora from home, check out, "The Athenian Agora, A Short Guide to the Excavations" created by the American School of Classical Studies at Athens. It is authored by John McK Camp, the current director of the excavation of the entire Agora. It offers details about each of the archeological sites you will visit as well as a broader understanding of the successive cultures that influenced the Agora.

Travel in Greece

Ancient Akrotiri

Landmark in Greece Ancient Akrotiri
Ancient Akrotiri, photo by Monique Skidmore
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