Soft Travel: An Experts Guide to Reducing the Pressure to Have the ‘Perfect Trip’

Soft Travel: An Experts Guide to Reducing the Pressure to Have the 'Perfect Trip'

‘Slow Travel’ was a growing trend in 2023, with people spending as much time as they could in one destination to immerse themselves in the culture. But what if you don’t have the luxury of being able to travel for that long? In this feature, with the help of Justin Chapman, a travel expert at Go2Africa, we look at ‘Soft Travel’, where balance comes to the forefront and unrealistic expectations take a backseat.

Busy work schedules and home lives often make it difficult to allow yourself to really relax on holiday, and the pressure to make the most of each second of your trip and soak up as much culture as possible can make you feel like you need another break when you get home. In fact, a 2022 study[1] showed that 65% feel too much pressure when travelling to actually enjoy themselves.

The TikTok hashtag #softlife has 1.4 billion views and counting, and according to Google trend data, searches for “soft travel” have risen by 325% in the last week, so travel expert Justin Chapman at Go2Africa explains how to get into your soft travel era for the ultimate refresh and recharge, even in a shorter break – without putting too much pressure on yourself.

What is Soft Travel?
The ‘soft life’ trend originated in the Nigerian influencer community and is about pushing back against unrealistic expectations and seeking balance – saying no to hustle culture burnout and yes to rest, peace, and comfort.

When travelling, we can often feel pressured to have the “perfect” trip – making sure we don’t waste a second, ticking every tourist attraction off our list, or spending hours curating the perfect shots for Instagram.

Soft travel allows you to have a break that feels right for you, prioritising enjoyment instead of feeling pressured to have what others will perceive as the perfect holiday.

Whether your dream trip is an African safari in Kenya, immersing yourself in nature, or a weekend city break in Italy, sampling local food and wine, soft travel is about making experiences, listening to your body and mind, and focusing on what you truly enjoy.

How to Soft Travel

Less is More
Choose fewer destinations and activities so you can spend more time fully enjoying each one, rather than spending each day whizzing around to make sure you see every sight possible – particularly on a short break.

Think about your Impact
Try alternative methods of travel rather than flying. Going by train, bus, or boat means you can appreciate your surroundings more and make the journey an experience and part of the trip more than a flight – not to mention having less of an environmental impact.

A holidaymaker browsing shops in a village in Asia

Support local businesses, from shops and restaurants to experiences and accommodation.

Try to have a positive impact where you can, like choosing lesser-known destinations that can benefit from tourism rather than the most highly populated areas, and go out of season to get the most out of the destination, surrounded by locals rather than tourists.

Allow for Spontanaiety
Give yourself a loose schedule, but don’t plan everything down to the minute. Allow yourself room for spontaneous interactions and recommendations from locals – they’ll often be able to suggest things to do, see, and eat that you won’t be able to find from online research – and you’ll be able to have a much more authentic experience.

Listen to Your Body and Mind
If you’re tired, take a break. Don’t push yourself to exhaustion just because you feel like you need to go to a specific tourist spot that you’ve read about. Take it easy – not just by chilling out, but also by going easy on yourself and not feeling guilty about going at your own pace.

A woman, laying on the grass reconnecting with nature

Connect with Nature
Connecting with nature, like hiking, camping, or just a day at the beach, lowers stress, reduces anxiety, and boosts your mood. Immersing yourself in nature encourages you to disconnect, letting you have a ‘softer’ experience than you could have in a city environment.

Digital Detox
Give yourself a digital detox, and forget about getting the perfect snap for social media.

Capture memories with something like a disposable camera rather than using your phone – or if you don’t want to part with your phone, try apps that don’t let you see your photos immediately. This means you won’t end up taking 100 photos of the same thing to get it perfect, and will be more ‘in the moment’.

Temporarily remove any work-related apps from your phone, too – put on that out-of-office and make it a state of mind, not just an email setting!

Do what Works for You
Everyone will have a slightly different definition of soft travel. For some, it could be spending two weeks being pampered in a luxury lodge; others may prefer a weekend camping by a lake in the middle of nowhere.

Create a trip that allows you to enjoy yourself at your own pace without being pressured to have the “perfect” holiday.


Soft Travel: An Experts Guide to Reducing the Pressure to Have the 'Perfect Trip' 2

Editorial Team

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