Savor Your Next Trip by Tuning in to Your Senses

Savor Your Next Trip by Tuning in to Your Senses
On your next trip, encourage family members to tune in to their senses. (Pavla Zakova/Dreamstime/TNS)
Tribune News Service

Travel encourages us to sample from a sensory feast.

On your next trip, encourage family members to tune in to their senses. Here are five ways to deepen the experience and expand awareness:

1. What Do You Smell?

Campfires, coffee brewing, freshly cut grass, a pine forest and fragrant rose gardens all offer an opportunity to sniff something special. Talk with the kids about which aromas make them want to linger and which they are eager to pass by. Do certain scents evoke a special memory from a previous experience? Notice how different members of your family respond.

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2. What Do You Hear?

While out and about, encourage the kids to close their eyes and tune in. Is that the whistle of a train in the distance? Do you hear a horse clip-clopping down the trail, elk bugling or the hoot of an owl? Listen intently to the traffic noise in the city, waves crashing on a rocky shoreline or an unfamiliar bird chirping in the trees.

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3. How Does It Feel?

Leaving the comfort of home may evoke a range of emotions, spanning from excitement and anticipation to anxiety and uncertainty. As you plan your next trip, talk about how it might feel to venture beyond your own front door. What will it feel like to travel into an unfamiliar landscape, where locals might look, dress and speak differently than your own family? Each member of your family is bound to feel something new. How might your crew react to the humidity of a coastal town, the dry air of the Sonoran Desert, the hustle and bustle of a major city or the quiet of a backcountry camp site? Who likes the feel of sand between their toes paired with salty sea air? Upon arrival, who feels tired? Or hungry? Or even homesick? Talk about it.

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4. May I Touch?

From petting zoos and tide pools to horse farms and turtle sanctuaries, travel has historically offered families the opportunity to reach for the unexpected. Today, many of those rules may have shifted and we are all more aware of our personal space and health objectives. Before you head out, discuss your family’s health and safety protocols. No matter what, spiny cactus and colorful coral might look interesting, but close contact isn’t advised.

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5. Can I Taste It?

Many families are eager to encourage kids to expand their culinary range. It can be fun to talk about the origins of different ingredients and why many are unique to specific regions of the world. As you prepare for future trips, seek out the websites of cities, countries or resorts you might like to visit. Many offer recipes that will enable you to explore the food and drink of destinations around the world. Visit local markets and restaurants in your own area to seek out unique flavors. Consider taking a cooking class in your own city or in a future destination. From curry and coconut to bok choy and barbecue sauce, there is a story to accompany every flavor you’ll sample.

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Lynn O’Rourke Hayes ( is an author, family travel expert and enthusiastic explorer.  Gather more travel intel on Twitter @lohayes, Facebook, or via Copyright 2023 Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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