The Link Between Your Five Senses and the Perfect Travel Experience

Editor’s note: We’d like to thank our guest blogger, Sandra Moncada, for this excellent idea and contribution. When she first presented me with her topic, I have to admit that I wished I had thought of it myself! Enjoy her take on how to enjoy travel as a holistic experience involving all five senses…

About Sandra: Sandra Moncada is a cycling enthusiast, who frequently escapes to hang out with her literary and movie heroes. She is vitamin D’s biggest fan, and she’s passionate about meditation, Pilates and beating stress. When she’s not floating in the ocean or her outdoor pool, she loves to write about lifestyle improvements, self-development and stress-relief methods. You can connect with her @SandramoncadaOh

Traveling is more accessible than ever. However, for many, it can be a somewhat wasted experience. Some travel thousands of miles only to look for what is familiar – the same restaurants they dine in at home and people who speak their language, share the same worldview and values.

Whatever the reason for your travel, the key to getting the most from it is to immerse yourself in the experience with all five of your senses.

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Whether it’s a website showing a tranquil oasis in the middle of a vast desert or our first glimpse of an expanse of blue sea out the window of a plane, our sense of sight is generally the first we use to absorb this kind of information.

Architects and designers create buildings and interiors that appeal to us visually, and smart marketers use that in their advertisements. Hotel rooms with picturesque views generally run far higher than those that look out on a parking lot or flat patch of bare earth. Hotels also aim to please with well-maintained rooms, smartly dressed hotel staff and pleasant décor.

Absorb all the new sights. Whether it’s giant squids in a Japanese market or a stunning sunset over crystalline water, travel affords us an opportunity to absorb a wide variety of new, unique and interesting images.

When you travel to a new city, notice the variety in architecture and color schemes or the differences in landscape. Whether it’s the glittering grey skyscrapers of New York City, the limitless expanses of green or the cacophony of color found in many tropical locales, or the warmth of Scandinavian architecture, take the time to notice and drink it all in visually.

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Walking blindfolded into your parents’ house, you would most likely know exactly where you are simply by the unique smell. Every home – and every person – has a distinctive smell. When you travel, you are often bombarded by a wide array of new scents and smells, which you notice more because they aren’t familiar.

Whether it’s the unique spices and seasonings locals use in their food or the smell of a nearby large body of water mixed with native flora and fauna, every destination will have a unique combination of scents that blend together to create a one-of-a-kind smell. Remember to absorb it when you first arrive, because after a day or two, you will no longer notice it.

This is another area smart hoteliers pay attention to. Many hotels have custom signature scents made for them that they release throughout the hotel. Some hotels even sell sprays, soaps, body products and candles that contain their unique signature scent. Be careful, however, not to light the candles in your hotel room before advising the hotel staff. The smoke that is created when you extinguish the candles can set off smoke alarms!


What made you look up the destination in the first place? You might have overheard a marketing jingle used in the campaign that later became one of your first associations with the place.

Native sounds in a foreign destination are often drowned out by our electronics. So, put down your phone, turn off the TV, and sit outside and absorb the individual sounds generated in your location. Whether it’s unique and interesting music, the lilt of hundreds of voices speaking a foreign language or even sirens in a different pitch and tone than you are used to, every city and locale creates its own musical score.

It’s always a good idea to do your best to try and speak the local language. While the natives may speak your language, it’s still a nice gesture to try and learn theirs as well. Besides, it gives you an opportunity to create some sounds of your own!

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Touch is the sense that interacts with our body’s largest organ: the skin. Many luxury hotels understand the importance of our tactile senses and fill rooms and public spaces with soft fabrics and textures. Hotel robes and bath towels are frequently both stolen and purchased because of their luxurious softness.

Touch is highly personal and can sometimes make or break a bond with a brand. Hotels don’t want to become associated with hard beds, scratchy sheets or itchy towels. Like a handshake, a touch that is too firm or too soft can often leave a bad impression.

Any business traveler knows what a huge impact pillows, mattresses and sheets can have on our sleep, mental alertness and relaxedness. It’s hard to breathe in the beautiful sights, rich sounds and tantalizing aromas of a place when all we can think about is how badly we need a nap.

The bathroom is another place touch is important to hotel guests. Travelers often don’t want to carry all of their toiletries with them, so they appreciate items like soap, shampoo, conditioner and body lotion, especially if it leaves their skin and hair feeling soft and smooth. Good water pressure that is neither weak nor hard is also important to our sense of touch.


We eat to survive, but with all of the options at our disposal in the modern world, deciding what to eat can be a challenge. We get into certain habits and patterns that severely narrow the range of foods that we eat and the new tastes that we encounter.

Sampling new and different types of food is one of the most enjoyable parts of traveling for some, while it can be the least enjoyable for others. For those people, a mini-bar filled with familiar snacks can be greatly appreciated. Along with food, sampling wine and other alcoholic beverages that are unique to the region can also be an enjoyable benefit.

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Finally …

Traveling offers a unique experience for all five senses, and people who often get the most enjoyment from traveling are those who engage all their senses in the experience. Businesses that cater to tourists and travelers can also benefit from understanding how a full sensory experience enhances positive or negative memories of travel and particularly a stay in a given hotel.

  • Williams
    Posted at 13:11h, 12 May Reply

    Great line up. We’ll be linking to this amazing article on our
    website. Keep up the good writing.

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