Catholic Travel Tips from a Seasoned Backpacker

Photo credit: Joshua Earle / Unsplash

Catholic Travel Tips from a Seasoned Backpacker


You love traveling, don’t you?

Well, now we have one thing in common, because I do to. Traveling is a great way to learn and grow. I’ve traveled solo throughout SE Asia and Europe with a backpack, and God was the best guide!

The thing is that sometimes, traveling is so overwhelming that it becomes easy to prioritize anything but God. Be reassured: there is a way to travel and explore God’s love, because His beauty is everywhere! Here is how I manage to be faithful to Him, even miles away from home…

1. Find your nearest church

In most countries, it is fairly easy to find little chapels or cathedrals (especially in big cities). Try to spend at 10 minutes every day in a sacred area, just to pray. Why go to a church? Well, for one, because you will meet other Christians. And for two, taking the time to do nothing else but praying will help you maintain your relationship with God. (And as a bonus, attend Mass if you can. Daily mass hours are accessible online most of the time, and doing so in another language is such a beautiful experience!)

Finding a peaceful place to pray is not always easy when you sleep in a 8 bed dorm. Plus you might discover hidden gems, as churches are often beautiful parts of the culture!

If you can’t find church, find another quiet place to pray. Just remember to take some time to pray every day.  

2. Carry a rosary with you (and use it)

Say 1 or 2 (or 5) decades while you are walking/sitting in a bus/waking up in the morning. Give yourself a realistic goal. If it’s a challenge for you to say 1 per day, then great! One is better than nothing. After a while, you might even get to 2 per day! So follow through and choose a specific moment to say your decade. Mary is amazing, and making her part of your travels will only enrich your experience.

3.  Put Christian music in your Ipod

You will probably have long bus/train/plane rides and listening to Christian music goes a long way. It will help you focus on God. You can find Christian songs for every possible musical taste, and believe me, listening to Christian music makes a huge difference.

4.  Carry a journal

Not only does it help to write down your thoughts, you will also have a record of your travels. I decided to focus on my daily blessings; a person I met; something I saw; a prayer that came to my mind. Everything reflects God, and having a journal is a beautiful way to praise Him by being attentive to the many graces He sends our way.

5. Choose smaller hostels/dorm rooms

Let’s face it: backpacking your way around the world requires to plan your budget. Obviously, the cheapest accommodations are often hostels. And travelers staying in hostels are often party people. Now, I’m not judging people who party, I’m just saying that it doesn’t reflect my personal lifestyle (and possibly yours either?). I still met tons of great people, even though I didn’t party.

Actually, many people were impressed that I didn’t party and drink. And that got me to evangelize in a way, just by being who I am and not getting overly influenced by the world. But if it can help you, try to choose smaller hostels or guesthouses that don’t seem to be focused on partying. You’ll probably meet people that are more like you. Remember, traveling alone doesn’t mean you have to be alone. But sometimes, being alone does great things to the soul, too.

And it’s way less scary than it sounds, trust me.

6. Combine traveling and volunteering

If you have time and interest in that sort of traveling, I encourage you to go for it. You don’t have to volunteer for 2 months; you can definitely find a local organization and help for just a few days. I volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity and it was one of the best parts of my trip in Asia. Knowing that you’ll be serving helps you focus on God and will be a wonderful lifetime experience.

7. Finally, be creative!

Try to keep your good habits from back home. Or take new ones that you’ll bring back with you when you have quenched your wanderlust.

Maybe my tips are not helpful for you: try to find some that suit you.

Building a relationship with God is a lifelong process, and making Him part of every journey is the best choice you’ll ever make. He’s the one who created all the beauty you’ll see… praise Him in every way… and have fun doing so!

Have any tips and tricks to focus on God while traveling? Please share them with us below!

The world is ours to discover… safe travels & God bless!

Mollie Blouin is a 24-year-old Masters student in Intercultural Mediation from Sherbrooke, Quebec. Currently studying in France, Mollie is a seasoned backpacker and international volunteer, having travelled to 25 different countries around the world. Her role model is Blessed Mother Teresa.   

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