What to Do While You Wait to Travel

How far in advance does your family start to get excited about upcoming travel? If you have always been on Team “It’s booked, and now we just wait to pack,” then consider this: the potential for making travel memories starts long before the actual departure date. The energy your family invests in your upcoming journey is never wasted, and contributes instead to the well-established power of anticipatory joy—put simply: the more time we spend immersing ourselves in upcoming travel, the happier we tend to be about the entire experience. So, how can your family immerse itself and boost that anticipatory joy? Do as the movie industry does, and use a preview.

Previewing is a powerful strategy in learning that improves our comprehension and helps us set a purpose and context for what we are about to encounter. Even if you like to fly by the seat of your travel-loving pants, the context and purpose inspired by a trip preview are excellent copilots on any journey. Here are seven easy ways you and your family can create an accessible, all-ages preview of your family’s upcoming journey:

Get the lay of the land. Use crowdsourced and professional footage to show before you go:

Get moving to the beat. Listen to music inspired by or created in your destination:

  • Putumayo CDs offer excellent regional musical selections from around the world, or check out their YouTube channel for beautiful music videos, a kids playlist, and other content
  • For U.S. destinations, check out “Mapping the Songs of America,” the Library of Congress’ collection of contemporary and historical audio by state
  • Offering more selection from some continents than from others, The World Music Library includes a combination of contemporary and historical music, organized geographically and by musical style

Get lost in a great story. Find stories of all kinds either set in your chosen destination, or written by authors who call it home:

Get your taste buds ready to rock. Prepare a recipe or two inspired by the food traditions and cuisine of your destination:

Get your expectations unpacked. Previewing the journey is about more than the destination—it also includes taking stock of everybody’s hopes, hesitations, and must-do’s for your travel:

Get talking (and listening). Start tuning your ear for new languages or speech patterns: 

Get inspired, get curious. Dig up some new perspectives from the people who know your destination best:

  • Visit the official tourism website for the state(s) you are visiting, or check the Promoting Tourism blog, which attempts to keep an updated listing of official tourism sites by country — if you have some time before your travel, you can often request printed materials to look over with your family at home
  • Have a conversation with a friend, family member, or acquaintance familiar with the area, and get some recommendations. Don’t know anyone? Turn to National Geographic for kid-friendly state-by-state or country-by-country introductions, complete with photos and short videos!

So go ahead: build that anticipatory joy before your family’s next trip, and share or pin this post to help other families do the same! Connect with Journey Jotter Books on social media using the buttons below, and tell us how you preview your travel!