Setting Personal Travel Intentions for Long-Term Travel: The Pages to Passport Manifesto


There are travelers of every shape and size these days. There are digital nomads, luxury instagram professionals, house sitters, and tourists oblivious to the entire online travel world. As a relatively new bookish travel blogger, you might be wondering exactly what kind I am. That’s where this list of travel intentions comes in.

With a long-term travel journey just around the corner and more travel possibilities at my doorstep than I ever thought possible, I know how important it is for me to define my purpose. Setting travel intentions allows me to narrow down the infinite travel opportunities.

I let these eight intentions guide me when I’m deciding where to go, where to stay, what I’ll do, how long I’ll do it, and of course what I’ll read.

The Pages to Passport List of Travel Intentions

I will read at least one book with historical context about where I’m going before I get there. 

Why it matters? Knowing the history of a place, its dark days and its triumphs, gives a depth to travel like no other genre does. It makes that one monument everyone snaps photos of that much more meaningful.

If it will take less than 45 minutes, I walk. 

Why it matters? You’ll never learn a city better than walking it. You’ll find the narrowest alleyways and get lost in the best way possible. Plus, it’s hard enough to stay healthy on the road. Walking helps. This is a cornerstone of my travel intentions list without a doubt.

I will not let solo travel stop me. 

Why it matters? I’m single and full of wanderlust. I have passions that will send me around the globe. I will not let my dear friends with less ambitious travel goals slow me down. I’ll travel despite a man on my arm.

I will travel slow.

Why it matters? I am naturally a to do list type. Saying no to the extra city to cram in is not easy for me, but it’s important. It’s hard to live like a local when you spend less than 24 hours in a place. It’s hard to see beyond the TripAdvisor Top 10 lists unless you slow down, remember your travel intentions, and feel the vibe of a place for a while. Not to mention, it’s easier on the budget.

I will learn at least “hello, goodbye and thank you” in the native language before arrival. 

Why it matters? You’d be amazed by the doors that a “hello” can open. Most memorably for me, a single “bonjour” opened the door to a bread festival in Paris. You can’t make this stuff up. Learning the basics is just plain good manners. Let’s all vow to show the respect for other cultures they deserve with a few simple manners.

I will reach beyond the standard “where are you going, where have you been, how long are you traveling” questions when I meet fellow travelers. 

Why it matters? Travel offers a rare opportunity to meet diverse people and cross paths with lives drastically different than our own. I won’t waste that with small talk and autopilot travel talk.

I will not hide behind a phone, camera or book. 

Why it matters?

As an introvert, my inclination in times of discomfort is to hide. When hostel dorms make me want to hide under the covers with a flashlight and a good book, I converse for a few minutes longer. When the crowds are overwhelming, I pause instead of click away. When I’m lost, I trust my gut for a bit before consulting Mr. Google. Travel is really all about growth after all.

I will assess my intention. 

Why it matters? Travel, especially solo travel, means making a lot of decisions. Sometimes, I find myself doing something because TripAdvisor or Aunt Sue or the hostel receptionist told me so. I seek an ideal instagram photo because I’m looking for validation. I go to places that don’t align well with my priorities. Knowing “why” is key to knowing “me” and that’s key to setting my travel intentions well for this long-term travel journey.

What travel intentions do you set for yourself?

Setting Personal Travel Intentions for Long-Term Travel | Ways to Travel | How I Travel Long-Term | How to Travel Deeper




  1. Dorothyadele Travels
    March 21, 2018 at 8:29 pm

    This is good travel advice. I agree that you should read about your destination before visiting and walking is the best way to see a new place.

    • Ally Lou
      March 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      So glad you liked it!

  2. Meghan McGowan
    March 21, 2018 at 8:58 pm

    Great post! I especially love your intention to walk whenever possible. I’m the same way – when I went to Edinburgh I walked absolutely everywhere and I felt like I really got to learn about the city traveling that way. But I should do a better job of researching the history of the places that I travel to!

    • Ally Lou
      March 21, 2018 at 9:42 pm

      I’m going to Edinburgh in July and am so excited to walk up and down the Royal Mile (and more of course!)

  3. Carrie Mann
    March 21, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    I am totally with you on walking for trips of less than 45 minutes. Honestly it ends up taking the same amount of time, with traffic, anyway, plus it’s good exercise and you really get to see the city. I love the idea of reading a book about the place before you go — I’m going to start trying to do that!

    • Ally Lou
      March 22, 2018 at 3:55 pm

      You are so right with that traffic comment! Not to mention, so much more stressful.

  4. Jewels Rhode
    March 21, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    I love this post!! I think every traveler should set intentions for their trips. I particularly like the walking if it’s less than 45 min. Walking is the best way to see a city and find hidden gems.

    • Ally Lou
      March 22, 2018 at 3:54 pm

      Thanks so much Jewels! Traveling intentionally has opened up a whole new world (literally and figuratively) for me.

  5. Louise
    March 22, 2018 at 5:09 am

    I love these! I totally agree with you about walking everywhere and getting a real feel for the city and local life. I love doing that too. And I always try to learn some basics of the language before I go. And I always try the local food!

    • Ally Lou
      March 22, 2018 at 3:53 pm

      So true. How could I forget food? Such a great way to connect with the local culture.

  6. Danijela
    March 22, 2018 at 6:25 am

    Hey, nice! I can relate to some of the things, especially when it comes to reading about the place before you go or learning few words in a local language. In my opinion, it’s extremely important to know where you are going to in order to respect the culture and its richness. And then just enjoy the new perspective it brings your way! 🙂

    • Ally Lou
      March 22, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      I totally agree – so much easier to understand the local culture and feel with a few words.

  7. Anna
    March 22, 2018 at 7:23 am

    I love your travel manifesto! There’s a lot of intention here that I recognise in my own travel style, for example I love learning new languages and walking around cities. Plus my husband always reads historical books about our destinations and loves to fill me with facts!

    • Ally Lou
      March 22, 2018 at 3:52 pm

      Thanks Anna! I love how we all have our own unique travel strengths to bring to the table too.

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