Embracing travel as a mindful, life-enhancing activity means recapturing a bit of the adventurous spirit of youth. In January's The Simple Things, Erin Spens (founder and editor of BOAT magazine) shares her travel secrets
How to travel like a twentysomething (sort of)
Erin’s ways to make grown-up backpacking a little easier
- Ditch the wheelie bag and dig out the backpack. I’m not saying you have to stay in a hostel (though you’ll socialise more and pay less), but there’s no denying: the lighter your bag, the longer your days feel.
- Pack light, then cut that in half. It’s hard to be in the moment when your bag is digging into your shoulder.
- Try not to plan, at least not every minute of every day. Leave some time to wander. You’ll see a different side to a place this way. l Book accommodation that you’re comfortable in. If it’s a challenge to show up to a new place without all the details planned, I’d let where you stay be your respite from days with less structure than you’re used to.
- Bring a towel. More than anything else, it’s changed the way I travel. I have a thin Turkish hammam-style towel that packs up super small and can be used for anything – wiping things down, as a blanket or a bunched-up pillow on a bus, to wrap things in when you pack, or to take to the beach.
- To cut down on packing, I simplify my skin and hair care by replacing practically everything with coconut oil. It can remove make-up, moisturise, serve as shaving gel, condition wet hair...
- Take just one book. I have only recently become more realistic about how much I actually read when I’m travelling.
- Set a goal for phone time. I actually feel less stressed when I am away if I allow myself to check and respond to emails every so often. Do whatever works best for you, but have a loose plan so you don’t end up down an Instagram hole in the middle of a beautiful foreign city.
- And finally: be totally and utterly present. Breathe deeply. Walk slowly. Take pictures. Listen more and talk less. Look up.
Turn to page 81 of January's The Simple Things for more of Erin's advice.