Dreaming About Traveling? Here's What It Means, According To Experts
When it comes to dream interpretation, so much of it depends on the context and finer details of the dream. To dream about traveling is no exception, with a myriad of variations that can change the meaning of the dream. So, we asked experts about a few of their top interpretations for travel dreams—here's what they had to say.
Before diving in, it's worth noting that any scientific validity to dream interpretation is sparse. Generally, dreams are thought of as a means of memory consolidation and potentially even "predicting" the future (i.e., our brains running through potential scenarios that could happen).
Nevertheless, we've all had dreams that seemed a bit too relevant to our waking lives, raising the question, What was that dream trying to tell me? Only you can truly understand what the symbols in your dreams mean to you, but there are still some common tropes in dreams that interpreters take to have specific meanings.
7 reasons you're dreaming about traveling:
You're craving freedom.
According to dream expert Leslie Ellis, Ph.D., dreaming about travel can indicate that you're on a quest for freedom. "In this pandemic era where travel has been so restricted, travel dreams could be some form of vicarious way of gaining freedom of movement," she says, adding, "Freud was not entirely wrong about dreams being a form of wish fulfillment, at least some of the time."
You're experiencing some kind of movement in your life.
Along with a craving for freedom, travel dreams can also suggest there's some sort of movement or momentum happening in your life. "Traveling usually represents forward movement—progress in some area," notes professional dream interpreter Lauri Loewenberg. And as Ellis adds, this "movement" could be personal or professional, as well as actual geographical movement.
You feel in control.
If you're traveling in a vehicle in your dream and it's running smoothly, Loewenberg tells mbg that can mean you feel in control of some aspect of your life. "You want to be driving the car, for example, because that's letting you know that whatever issue this dream is commenting on, you're in control of it," she explains.
You feel out of control.
On the other hand, Loewenberg says, if the car is having some hiccups, such as malfunctioning brakes, "that's a good indication that you're having a hard time getting something started in your real life, or you don't have a good handle on whatever path of progression this is connected to."
She adds that if you're driving a car in your dream and get into an accident, this can mean you're experiencing a sort of emotional or energy crash in your life.
You're experiencing some sort of ending.
Crashes or accidents in travel dreams can also mean something is on the verge of coming to an end in your life (or already has), Loewenberg notes.
The theme of endings existing within travel dreams can also relate to life stages and death, Ellis explains. "They can, at the far end of the journey, indicate preparation for death. There are many accounts of dreams easing people into the final stages of their life, preparing them in ways that tend to be calming and spiritual," she notes.
You're advancing in your career (or thinking about it).
According to Loewenberg, dreams about traveling in a plane, more often than not, are related to your career path, "because the plane takes off and we want our careers to take off and reach new levels." Planes can also represent your spiritual or religious path, she adds.
You're searching for something.
And lastly, depending on your destination, travel dreams can mean you're looking for something in your life. "If your destination is a beach, for example, that means you're trying to reach a place in your life where you are having peace of mind," Loewenberg explains. Or maybe you're traveling to a hospital, which would indicate you're on a healing path, she adds.
Interpretations based on travel companions:
With the previous interpretations in mind, it's also important to consider who's accompanying you in the dream. In the case of family members, Ellis says, this could relate to feeling of moving on, or moving forward, as it relates to the family members in the dream.
A romantic partner.
Loewenberg says dreaming about traveling with a partner can offer good insight into how the relationship is going and how you both are reacting within the relationship. "Pay attention to who's behind the wheel and how well the vehicle is moving forward," she suggests, for example.
If you're on a boat, she adds they often represent our relationships. (Relation-"ship," get it?) "A ship or a boat will be commenting on a relationship more than any other vehicle because it travels on water, and water tends to represent the emotional self," Loewenberg explains.
In that case, are you on an extravagant cruise liner that's sailing smoothly? Or are you in a broken-down boat that's sinking fast? You can guess which one indicates a relationship is heading south.
If you're dreaming about work colleagues, Ellis says this situates the dream story in the world of work. "Again, it can be telling to look at the mode of travel, ease of transport, and nature of the destination," she notes. Ask yourself if you're getting to where you want to go. "This can be a big life question. Are the people you are with helping or hindering your progress?" Ellis adds.
Of course, there's a chance you'll be traveling solo in your dream, as well. Loewenberg says a common vehicle in travel dreams is a bike or motorcycle, which are, of course, single-passenger vehicles. This would be a dream about a path you are on alone that doesn't affect anyone else, she explains.
"You also have to have good balance to operate a bicycle or a motorcycle, so take a good look at your emotional balance or anything you're trying to balance in your life," Ellis adds.
The bottom line.
Dreaming about travel isn't uncommon—and interpreting these dreams always comes down to their context. With these potential interpretations at the ready, you're all set to open your mind to the world of your travel dreams—and consider how they relate to your reality.
Sarah Regan is a Spirituality & Relationships Editor, a registered yoga instructor, and an avid astrologer and tarot reader. She received her bachelor's in broadcasting and mass communication from State University of New York at Oswego, and lives in Buffalo, New York.