The vacation you booked months ago, (and have been waiting on for what seems like well… FOREVER), is finally approaching! You’ve got your AirBnb’s booked, flight seats selected, itinerary printed, a reserved rental car and excursions planned. But before you go and start filling up every spare minute of your time off with ‘all the things’ you want to do while you’re away, it’s important to remember to actually take TIME OFF during your vacation.
And the best way to do that, is to practice self-care while travelling!
Since we all know that in our North American culture, vacation days can be far and few between… Let’s ensure that you actually get a break this holiday, and fill up your own cup so you don’t come back needing a vacation from a vacation.
Being someone who’s lived out of a backpack for 6-months, I’ve gathered quite a few tips and tricks on how you can remain centred in just about any travel situation.
Here are five of my favourite ways to practice self-care while travelling!
Mentally Prepare For The Unexpected
Even though travel can, hands down, be one of the most exhilarating and rewarding experiences of all time, it can also bring up a lot of stress, worry and anxiety when things don’t go as planned — especially when you’re outside of your daily routine and comfort zone! Whether it’s cancelled or delayed flights, missing luggage, crappy weather, getting food poisoning, or losing your passport, there is bound to be something that goes wrong on any given trip.
Although you don’t have control over what’s going on around you, you can control how you respond! Instead of letting one of these possible scenarios put a damper on things, try to remind yourself that everything is happening FOR YOU not TO YOU.
This quick little mindset shift has helped me during some of the toughest of travel dilemmas. I kept reminding myself that this is “all a part of the adventure”, and that the universe is trying to arrange my experience to be even better! This has resulted in having my seats being bumped up to first class, extended vacation time, and getting discounts on future flights.
Never doubt the power of the mind!
Take Time To Meditate Or Go Inward
Speaking of the mind, learning how to get conscious, and quiet by going inwards has proven to be extremely beneficial in reducing stress, improving your sleep, and decreasing the effects of depression/ anxiety. Getting quiet through meditation, or journaling (even if it’s just for 5-minutes) can also help you to become more present.
This means that you’ll be able to connect deeper with yourself, your experiences and everyone around you while you travel. From the striking sights you see, the new foods you eat, to the cultures you experiences, the people you meet, and wild adventures you discover– just a simple 5-10 mins when you wake up, or before you go to bed is all you need to reap the benefits!
Tip: One of my favourite apps that I started using while backpacking is called, Calm. With over 100+ guided meditations, it’s the perfect mindfulness app for beginners, but also includes hundreds of programs for intermediate and advanced users as well! It also tracks your progress in a calendar, and can be fun to watch your mindfulness stats increase over time.
Pack Home Comforts
Packing has quickly become one of my favourite ways to prepare for travel. But before I learned how to pack and travel light, this used to create a lot of overwhelm for me.
I’ve found that the ticket is to only pack the essentials, but to also include things that feel like home. For me this looks like my journal, a good book I’m reading, some small crystals/stones, a reusable water bottle, a foldable yoga mat, my natural skin care products, essential oils, slippers, and a small bundle of sage/palo santo. These items are already a part of my daily self-care rituals, and I always feel more grounded and connected to myself when I use them.
Since we all can’t afford to fly first class, it’s also a good idea to include things that make you feel comfortable while you’re flying! Make sure you’re wearing something comfortable in case you’d like to sleep on the flight. I will usually wear a couple of layers as I tend to shift from feeling hot to cold quite quickly. Compression socks can help with circulation during longer flights, and having a change of clothes in your carry on is a great way to feel fresh when you arrive! Some other things you’ll see in my carry on are vegan snacks, a sleep mask, liquid melatonin, lip balm, deodorant, a hydrating sheet mask, a laptop and headphones.
Minimize Jet Lag
Jet lag can quickly become a one-way ticket towards exhaustion. Our brilliant bodies are naturally programmed to follow a built-in routine, also known as circadian rhythms. But when we fly, and our time zones get shuffled up, this can throw our bodies off. This often leads to extreme fatigue, bowel challenges, indigestion, moodiness, and feeling just ‘off’ in general. And no one wants to feel this way when they land!
If you’re jumping through different time zones, my suggestion is to begin to prepare by going to bed earlier a few days before your flight. The closer you can get to the time zone location to where you’re going, the better! Jet Lag Rooster is a helpful app that allows you to input your usual sleep routine and the destination you’re traveling to. With the click of a button it brilliantly calculates suggested guidelines for how to adjust to your new timezone!
Get A Massage or Stretch
After a day of travel, you might feel quite stiff and tuckered out so why not arrange to have a massage when you land? I’ve found that most accommodations don’t often let you check-in until later in the day, so if you land early this can be a great way to relax, and centre yourself before you get out and explore! Don’t know where to book? Read Yelp reviews or ask locals for some recommendations.
If you don’t have the time or budget for a massage, you can also opt for doing some gentle yoga for travel or stretching.
Regardless of what self-care tips you decide to use, the main thing is that we all deserve to enjoy a vacation without the stress and overwhelm. Vacations should feel restorative and enrich your life and choosing to prioritize self-care while travelling can definitely help to make your travel experience a positive one.
Now we’d love to hear from you! What are some of your favourite self-care travel hacks, and which of these self- care tips are you looking forward to implementing on your next adventure?