Travel Advice

Reconnecting To Our Senses With Sensatori Holidays

TUI Holidays

Holidays can evoke a range of senses and emotions, – the feel of the fresh salty sea air on your face, the sweet fruity taste of a tropical cocktail, and the chirping sound of crickets in the night can all take you back to a time and place that was memorable and unforgettable.

However in this day and age, when we often live life through a lens, it’s said we could do with reconnecting to our senses rather than documenting everything. Taking that time to live in the moment, to stop, actually look around, absorb the atmosphere, the wonderful smells, taste the local food, and listen to the sounds around you, of your destination.

TUI Photography FlyDriveExplore

TUI, the holiday company, understands this connection, that we truly come alive when we use all our senses to experience a place, a moment, a vacation. They want to help holidaymakers make the most of their holiday by stimulating their senses like never before and have created Sensatori holidays for that purpose.

Recent research that proves our holiday memories can fade after just two weeks has led to TUI Sensatori resorts creating Sketch to Etch kits so guests can sketch their holiday moments while in a resort, to retain their holiday memories for longer.

Leading experimental psychologist and renowned Oxford University sensory expert, Professor Charles Spence, in collaboration with British artist Phillppa Stanton – who possesses the rare neurological condition of synaesthesia – visited the TUI Sensatori Resort Negril to explore how sketching can help engage all five senses and help retain those ‘wow’ holiday memories for longer.

The project was supported by a study of 2000 adults which discovered that more than half of the population suffers from ‘Digital Holiday Amnesia’– relying on smartphones or other devices to ‘store memories’ for them, leading our own memories to falter.

Professor Charles Spence, said ‘”Much of the pleasure from holidays comes from the remembering. Yet, new research reveals that the average Brit’s holiday memories fade after less than two weeks. Three-quarters of holidaymakers are convinced they have shorter attention spans because of smartphones and the internet. Despite this, there’s a growing tendency to want to digitally document life experiences, whether that’s sightseeing or what we’re eating.”

TUI SENSATORI with artist Philippa Stanton

“Taking the time to sketch out a treasured experience from a holiday is a better way to lock away memories that will stay in the mind much longer than simply just pressing a button to take a photograph.”

Charles Spence continued: “When we watch something unfold from behind a lens, we’re not truly living and sensing the experience. Smartphones can prevent us from creating fully-fledged memories as capturing a picture only really engages one of the senses – sight. It’s only by really engaging with our experiences on holiday through all of our senses that we can hope to process all the stimulating information to lay down the sorts of memories that will last, and that will be easier to retrieve.”

Key West Sunset

The famous Key West sunset

Now that I know that having a strong sensory experience can lead to longer lasting memories, it makes sense that I can recall my memories of Florida so easily and clearly, a destination that evokes a range of sensory experiences and emotions.  We’ve travelled all around the state, from Orlando to Clearwater, Miami to Key West, and it’s an area of the USA that keeps us coming back for more.

It all starts with that wave of heat that envelopes you as you leave the plane. The humidity is like nowhere else we have been but coming from a cold country like the UK it always makes me smile. I must admit, many of my memories are related to food, I’m emotionally connected to my stomach, like many of us, so tasting the wonderful Florida seafood and the juicy burgers and steaks, (nowhere does top quality steak like the US), takes me back to a time and place. Then the sights and sounds of the water parks, the theme parks, the beaches, it really is a place where dreams come true.

When I go back next, I will take the time to absorb the beautiful sunsets, perhaps even take a sketchbook to draw that memorable sunset in Key West rather than take a photo. It will be something unique to look back on and remember that moment in time.

Disney World Orlando

Check out Professor Charles’s quiz to see how in touch with your senses you are and let me know the result! If you complete it, there is also a chance to win a holiday too, so do give it a go. My results showed a high awareness of connections between my senses.

What do you think of this research? Are there destinations which evoke a strong sensory response in you?

*PR collaboration

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  • Fiona Maclean
    May 12, 2018 at 1:50 pm

    I’ve come across Charles Spence’s work in the food world (linking food with music). It’s interesting to see the same principles applied to travel I’m sure he has a point with all of his research – but most of us (and our children) are so overwhelmed with the internet we are losing touch

    • Mr and Mrs W
      May 12, 2018 at 1:59 pm

      Interesting that he has worked in the area of food and music. I will see if I can find out more about his work.

  • Tom Bourlet
    May 12, 2018 at 5:17 pm

    Definitely have a craic at painting the sunset next time you are over there. I’ve the artistic skills of a flea, but would love to give it a go myself

  • Brooke
    May 12, 2018 at 7:47 pm

    It is so sad but so true that most of us see things through the lens of camera or smartphone rather than simply soaking it all in with our eyes and our minds & enjoying the experience fully….

    Great idea to make an effort to retain the memories longer…

    And I also attach a lot of nostalgia & memories to food experiences when I travel..

  • Carol Colborn
    May 12, 2018 at 11:35 pm

    Took the quiz and have a high awareness of all 5! I think we don’t need to sketch. What we travel bloggers do is to photograph, shoot a video, and write. We just have to make sure that, when we write, we don’t just tell but show, using all the 5 senses that were evoked by a particular destination. Every destination does.

  • Marissa
    May 15, 2018 at 4:37 am

    I absolutely love this concept! I’m very guilty of making sure I have the best pictures and not taking the time to observe my surroundings. When I was in India, I didn’t have my camera out as much due to the crowds and was able to smell the spices from the market and observe how the locals acted.

  • Vyjay Rao
    May 15, 2018 at 5:02 pm

    The concept of Sensatori Holiday’s is indeed unique and very interesting. It is a fact that most of us end up with a host of digital memories, in fact sacrificing the thrill of the moment to recording it on camera. Also, the over-reliance on the digital capture of the moments mean a loss of the sensory enjoyment of the experience. We sometimes leave our cameras behind and travel just for the sake of travelling and experiencing and savouring each moment.

  • Nisha
    May 15, 2018 at 6:58 pm

    I think it is a great idea for an all round experience. I can sort of relate to it. In all my travels where I have actually done some intense activity (not necessarily physical) I tend to cherish those moments and all memories come flooding when I see those pictures. I also think Camera is one part of the sensory experience too.

  • Rosemary
    May 15, 2018 at 7:16 pm

    What a unique concept and perfect for today’s addiction to our electronic devices. It does make intuitive sense that when you sketch those moments, you have a better chance of fully absorbing the experience. You are tuned in to the details which makes you remember them more. Love it! Sometimes you just need to put your devices down and simply be fully present. This makes for a richer experience. The sense of smell really connects me to a destination and there are many memories that are evoked!

  • Mansoureh Farahani
    May 15, 2018 at 10:23 pm

    It is sad in a way to look at it how smartphone and camera take away the joy of traveling, watching sunsets or even eating. But this is our world. We have to have them with us when we travel, We usually try to balance it. We always give one day off to ourselves when we are away, no camera or filming just relaxing and enjoying

  • Kate
    May 16, 2018 at 1:15 am

    What a fascinating idea and unique experience! I love that Sensatori cares about their vacationers not only their vacation, but long after in wanting to help them preserve the vacation mindset. And, I love the concept of sealing your memories by sketching.

  • Lydia
    May 17, 2018 at 11:40 am

    Wow! That Key West sunset seems breathtaking, Mr and Mrs W. You must have had a unique experience. I’ve done the quiz and I only have some awareness of the surprising connections between my senses. So, a sensatori holiday is something I need!