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9 Easy tips for practicing self-care when traveling

Travel is itself an act of self-care.

But often in the voluntary uprooting of your day-to-day in exchange for an entirely new experience in a new place or country, we tend to return home feeling drained. We forget to slow down and take the steps needed to take care of ourselves. We may even have a difficult time re-adjusting to everyday life once we’re back home. Almost like you need a vacation to recover from your vacation. Does anyone else have that experience?

But it doesn’t need to be that way. Some simple self-care tips while traveling can help you feel grounded, nourished, and rested throughout your trip.

1. Plan your self-care before you leave

It’s so much easier to stick with a quality self-care routine when you plan ahead. It doesn’t take much to “get lost” in a new destination. You can get so overwhelmed and excited by the newness of it all that you forget to make taking care of yourself a priority during travel.

Set pins on your Google maps for healthy food restaurants, walking distance to coffee shops, and parks. Check out your accommodations to see if there’s a fitness room. If not, check out nearby parks or gyms that allow drop-ins. Some apps like Mindbody are helpful, but also using social media is a great way to discover aligned businesses in the area. A little recon goes a long way in implementing your self-care strategies!

Create a self-care packing list to bring with you on your travels.

2. Create a daily routine

During travel, we often find we need to cram every last “bucket-list” item into our itinerary so that by the time we get back from our trip, it didn’t really feel like a vacation at all.

Establishing a routine for taking care of yourself can help you keep on track and de-stressed. Keep this routine sacred to protect your time of relaxation, self-reflection, and nourishment when you travel.

It may not look exactly like the routine you keep at home— some flexibility is required. But having a framework in place can help keep your body and mind energized to get the most out of your trip.

3. Get Good Quality Sleep

Sleep is king!

We’ve heard it a million times, sleep is one of THE most important factors in maintaining wellness. Lack of sleep can affect memory, focus, reaction time, mood, and stress.

But I get it, it can be SO difficult to get good sleep when you’re traveling. Never mind the excitement factor of exploring a new place and wanting to stay out late to experience the nightlife. There are also the time zones, there’s jet lag, there are new accommodations, lights, noises, and smells— All things that knock you off your rhythm and disrupt your REM cycle.

Prioritize your rest with a siesta, and firm boundaries around bedtime to ensure that you’re ready to take on the day bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.

4. Stay Hydrated!

Ever feel totally dried out after a long flight? How about a bit tired in the middle of the day?

Drink some water!

Travel is such a busy time. Us travelers forget to keep up with water intake.

Start your day with a glass of water. Carry your reusable water bottle with you throughout your day and make sure you’re refilling it as you drink. Proper hydration help with energy, focus, mood, and organ function.

5. Eat Healthy Meals. Pack Healthy Snacks.

Vacation is a time when it is very tempting to overindulge in foods that are… a little less than healthy. When you’re traveling, you’re on the go most of the time. When it’s time to snack, your choice in fuel for the afternoon pick-me-up may not be good fuel at all.

Scope out a local grocery or farmers market and grab a few pieces of fruits like apples and citrus fruits, that you can pack in your tins. You’ll find yourself better fueled for your adventures when you opt for whole foods versus sugary and processed snacks.

6. Give yourself a digital detox

Nowadays our mobile devices are attached to our palms more often than they’re not. Setting boundaries around when your devices come out during your travels will help you stay present in the moment. Disable notifications on your phone so you’re not interrupted.

Set up an “out of office” reply to your email address. Protect your vacation from digital distractions.

PLUS! Studies have shown that people who use their phones before bedtime have poorer quality sleep than those who wind down for the evening without their smartphones.

Put your phone away an hour before bed and use the time instead to read a book, meditate, or jot down the highlights of your day in a journal.

7. Get into nature