Mind maps are an incredible tool that can help you to get a complex jumble of ideas out of your head and onto paper in well laid out way. They are typically a visual diagram with a central idea placed in the middle and related ideas arranged around it.
Depending on how you use them, mind maps can be perfect for brainstorming ideas, organizing information, making plans and many other situations. They can be used for work, team collaborations, creative projects, personal goal setting, school projects and much more. But have you ever thought about using them for travel?
A mind map can be an intriguing and inspiring way to formulate a plan for your next big travel adventure. It can help you think of ideas of what you want to do on your trip, figure out what to bring and much more.
Mind Mapping for More Meaningful Travel
When you take the step of making a mind map for your travels, you won’t just be making your trip more organized – you will also have the ability to add more meaning to your journey.
Mapping out your travels in this way gets the creative juices flowing and encourages you to think about your trip in the big picture. You can ask yourself:
- What do I want to get out of this experience?
- What activities and attractions are most interesting to me and why?
- Which destinations do I want to spend the most time at during this trip?
- What overall feeling does this trip have? Example: Adventurous, relaxing, cultural, historical, community, etc.
The great thing about mind mapping is that there is no wrong way to do it, you can make an individual map that works for you. There are a few ways to approach making a travel mind map, so here are some ideas:
Organize it By Destination
One function of a travel mind map can be as a tool to help you plan a route and choose the destinations you want to visit.
For example, let’s imagine you are planning a trip around Europe. You might start with “Europe Trip” in the centre of the map and then each destination can be a spoke of the wheel extending out from the centre. Then, from the destinations you can create smaller spokes for things you want to do in that destination and smaller day trips you want to take from that city.
So, Paris might be one of the sections of your mind map. All around Paris in smaller bubbles you might have “Bike Tour of Palace of Versailles,” “Day Trip to Givenchy,” and “Free Historical Walking Tour.” When you are researching your travels and you see something you want to experience, you can add it to the section for each city. Don’t add things just because they are listed as a “must-do” – only add them if they truly look intriguing to you.
By organizing your plans in this way, you will be able to see at a glance which activities you want to see in each city – which helps you to schedule your visit. Some cities will hold more interest for you, so you should allocate more days there. If you see that there are 5 attractions you are really excited to see in Prague but only 2 in Vienna, you might choose to stay longer in Prague.
If you have added a city to your itinerary because you thought you should, but you find that you are adding no activities to that section because it doesn’t interest you as much – feel free to cut it from your plans to leave more time for other places you will enjoy more.
Also, seeing all of your plans laid out in this visual way will help you to determine if you are trying to cram too much into one trip. It’s always better to visit fewer destinations and take the time to enjoy them, than to rush through and try to squeeze in too many destinations.
Organize it By Theme
Another way to organize your thoughts in a travel mind map is to go by theme. So, the spokes of the mind map leading out from the centre can identify different goals you want to achieve on the trip or aspects of travel you want to focus on.
For example, on a trip to Malaysia you might have “Experience the Local Cuisine” as one of the sections of your mind map. Coming off from this section you can have smaller ideas like, “Go to A Night Market and Try Some Street Food” and “Take a Cooking Class.”
This structure will help you to brainstorm ideas for what you want to do during your trip. It will get you thinking about why you want to travel to this destination and what you want to learn from the experience, which will make it more meaningful.
Organize it By Day
Another way you can organize your mind map is to create a section for each day of your trip. This way, you will be able to see what will happen when. You can note when you will need to take bus and train journeys and on which day you are doing each activity.
This will help you to see your trip at a glance, so that you can get an overview of the entire journey. You might see that certain attractions and activities fit in better on different days, so you can reschedule accordingly.
I would also highly recommend leaving a bit of flex room in your trip in the form of a day or two with nothing planned. You might find yourself feeling sick, tired or jet lagged and a day of rest might be essential for recharging so that you can keep going. Also, flexibility allows you to add spontaneous activities to your trip at the last minute, so that you can add in activities that you don’t hear about until you get there.
How Will You Plan Your Trip with a Travel Mind Map?
Whether you organize your map by destination, by theme or by day, there is no right or wrong way to make a travel mind map. The overall goal of this exercise is to get you thinking about your travels in a different way, so that you can be strategic and creative about how you spend your time.
By planning in a mindful way and creating a trip that is unique to you, you’ll set yourself up for a much more meaningful travel adventure.