July 18, 2024

The 6 Phases of Travel Adventure

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Enjoy Your Travel More – Understanding  the 6 Phases of Travel Adventure will help you enjoy the positives of travel while understanding and minimizing some of the less positive aspects.  It’s all part of becoming a more mindful traveler.

Travel is a wonderful and exciting adventure.  But , when you stop and think about it, travel is not really  a single event or single episode.  No, it is actually a process – and a rather extended process at that..  I think of travel as actually having six distinct stages or phases.  I call them the 6 Phases of Travel Adventure. Every person who takes a trip or a vacation  experiences each of these 6 phases. Each trip is different of course.  A quick three day business trip is different is oh so many ways than a month long train adventure across Europe.  But regardless of the type of trip,  to one degree or another, each trip is composed of these 6 Phases of Travel Adventure.  The duration and / or the intensity of each phase can be different for each individual or travel experience. As a result, you  may linger or get “stuck” in a particular phase and remain  there for some time. Or, you may “blast through” a phase so quickly that you hardly realize you were there. And of course, the quality of the experience varies from one phase to another.  Some phases are clearly exciting, pleasant, and enjoyable while others are more tiring, stressful and unpleasant. But without a doubt, each travel experience involves, and each traveler experiences,  the six phases of travel adventure.    What are these 6 Phases of Travel Adventure?  Let’s take a look……





The Planning & Anticipation Phase is the first the phase of any travel experience.  Regardless of who you are or how you prefer to travel, there is always some degree of planning and anticipation involved.  I’ve written a bit about this in a previous article (click here). The traveler has to spend some time thinking about, planning for, and anticipating the upcoming travel adventure. Of course  the business traveler may “off load” some of this planning to an assistant or secretary. Or a travel companion may “off load” the lions share of planning to their partner in travel. A traveler might choose to delegate some or a great deal of the planning to a trusted travel agent or tour company. But even in these cases the traveler still maintains some personal involvement with and responsibility for planning. And if you are a solo traveler like me, then you are “all in” for the planning of your outings. I have several friends who say, “don’t plan – just go.”  They don’t obsess, they work on impulse as much as possible. But even the impulse traveler still has to give some thought to the upcoming travel adventure. Still, for me I have to say that planning is not only an important part of travel, it is also one of the most enjoyable phases of travel adventure. I try to relish it.

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While some like to travel “spur of the moment,”  for me the line  “Getting There Is Half The Fun” truly applies.   There are a few other metaphors that also pertain – but I won’t go there – this is a family oriented posting after all.  Let’s just say that the build up to your travels can be a  most pleasant phase.




Wheels up! You’re off!     Eventually all the research is done, all the plans are made, and the  bags are packed. Finally, at long last,  the trip count down clock expires, the day arrives, and  you are off to experience all the wonders of your trip. The Travel Phase has begun. New places, foods, people, sights, adventures. You are busy exploring and trying and sampling.  You look at and experience new and different things.  You see see the world in a different way. It’s almost impossible to absorb so much – but you try – and you enjoy it big time! This is what it is all about.  Of the 6 Phases of Travel Adventure, the Travel Phase is the heart of the action and adventure. ( I should also note that the Travel Phase itself has different sub phases – but that’s a subject for a different article – stay tuned. )



Whew!  It’s over. Home again. At some point every trip ends.  This is true for that weekend get away and also for the two year round the world adventure.  So – the trip is over?  That’s it?  Not hardly.  What happens on your return?  What now?  You have now entered the Post Trip Recovery Phase. This is  that somewhat hectic post trip phase where you are busy “catching up” and trying to get things back into some “livable” state. You unpack, do the laundry, restock the fridge.  You know – the regular stuff like that. You get the dog from the kennel, pick up your mail and do what you need to do to return to “normal.” You are occupied with lots of things that must be done.  Not much time for reflection or insight – just busy. Busy, busy, busy! And beyond keeping busy, in some ways this phase can be reassuring and calming. You are doing your “regular stuff” again. It can be a bit comforting to focus on getting back into your old routine, to get back to normal a bit.  This can be especially true if you have been away for a rather extended period of time.  You might even have become a bit homesick. When you return home it can feel pretty darn good to be in your own home, your own space, and to focus on getting everything back in shape.



Relax and think and ponder. Once you have taken care of all that busy stuff of the Post Trip Recovery Phase you can finally slow down and relax a bit.  This is the point where you can enter into the  Trip Reflection and Sharing Phase. You take a deap breath and relax. You think back on, recall, remember, and relish  all those experiences of your travels.  You savor your successes and accomplishments and perhaps chastise yourself for some of your missed opportunities or misadventures.  You sort through your memories and you sort through your photographs.  And of course everyone wants to hear from you and learn about your travels – so you get together and chat, and share and talk and relive your adventures.  The Trip Reflection and Sharing Phase can be a very pleasant time when you bask in the afterglow of your journey.



It’s over……it’s really over.  Done. Zu ende. Finis. Unfortunately, the glow and pleasure of the Trip Reflection and Sharing Phase doesn’t last forever (But then, what does?)  Eventually all the stories have been shared and your friends have seen your photos. Welcome to the Post Trip Depression Phase.  The fact that your long anticipated and much enjoyed travel adventure is over finally hits you. It’s over. Complete. Done.The thrills, the excitement, the anticipation – they are all behind you. It’s depressing – come on, admit it.  Your travel adventure has been a significant central focus of your life.  Now it’s gone. It’s like you have lost something important.  You get sad, maybe irritable. You have less energy, less motivation.  You might even loose your appetite ( or conversely – be inclined to overeat ). Movitvation drops, you might feel like sleeping a lot.  Yep – all of those things go with, and are part of, depression.  You are just bummed out!



You know, I think I’ll be OK.  I’m feeling better.  I’m really home.  As with all experiences, eventually the glow and vivid memories begin to fade a bit. Time has a way of doing that to experiences it seems.  The thrill and rush of the journey receed into long term storage.  Memories for sure, but not as immediate – not experienced as frequently.  Daily life and routine come to the fore and you re-engage with your “normal”, non travel, life.  Rather than being depressed and sad because your adventure is over, you are now home again and into your normal routine.  Your focus finally shifts from the past, the travel experience which is over, to the present. Your travel adventure is part of you now.  It is part of who you are.  You have learned things and seen things and done things that will forever be a part of you. You have adjusted to your return home and have incorporated your travel experiences into your own sense of being.  Time to move on. Welcome home.


Experience All 6  Phases of Travel  Adventure ……. And Enjoy The Adventure!

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