At this time last week, I had the wonderful privilege of facilitating a workshop about self-care to an amazing group of thinkers and creators at the Changemakers Summit in San Francisco. (P.S. I really enjoy presenting at these types of events and spreading the good word, so please reach out if you’d like me to come to you!) I’ve been home for a few days from Cali, and I’m still coming down from the whirlwind travels. Though it can throw off your rhythm a bit, traveling is one of my favorite things. Since I LOVE to travel and have done quite a bit of it, I figured that it might be helpful to share some of my self-care travel tips.
Prepare The Night Before
Usually, things are really hectic right before a trip. You have to put in more hours at work, get the house together, spend time with loved ones. If you can, schedule in time to pack the night before. Even more so, start preparing a week in advance. Run errands, grocery shop and prepare snacks. Reserve clothing. But especially the night before, make sure everything is ready to go. This will relieve a lot of stress for the day of travel, and if anything last minute comes up, you will be prepared for it. I was VERY bad at this for this current trip and I paid for it. But when I usually do this, it sets a wonderful tone for travel.
Put Your Mind In Travel Compassion Mode
Some of you may love the destination but hate the actual travel part of traveling. It’s easy to get upset, annoyed, react to other angry travelers, but just like life, it’s also beneficial to enjoy the journey. Realize that the fact that you get to travel is a blessing. The fact that you can fly in a plane or drive across a country, whatever the mode is, is in itself a privilege and a miracle. Things malfunction. Weather happens. Babies cry. Humans are annoying. Bring a good book or something else to do and enjoy if you get held up. Appreciate that there are modes more advanced than handcarts for us to use. And you never know why other people are traveling and what is going on in their lives. They could have just gone through a breakup, or they are traveling to a funeral, or their travel plans got rerouted and they missed an important event. Work your compassion muscle and keep your own happy space.
You really don’t need everything you packed. I tend to overpack according to my minimalist standards (I like to have SOME options!), but it is so much less stressful the less you bring. At least make your under the seat bag as minimal as possible, even if you jam-pack your other luggage. I always have my laptop, journal, book, pen, wallet, and water bottle. You don’t need five pens, a million chapsticks and lip glosses, random papers and receipts from daily life. Keep it clean.
Here’s a list of things I bring and do when I fly. These could be applied to car, train, boat, and bus rides, too!
Headphones- People talk, babies cry, and other sounds happen. Don’t hate on sounds that are bound to happen with public travel. Bring headphones and load your favorite music and podcasts so you can tune out the world if you need to.
Neck pillow and travel blanket: I only bring these on really long flights, but they really do add a lot to the travel experience. Inflatable pillows and easy to roll up blankets don’t take up that much space. You can also check in with the airline to see if they provide either of these. They usually have blankets at the very least.
Wear Layers: Even if you are traveling to a tropical location, airplanes get really chilly, especially if you are like me and are cold all of the time. A comfy sweater or hoodie, long pants or skirts, and socks! Sneak a light pair of socks into your purse or bag to keep your feet warm. A scarf can serve as an accessory, shawl, or leg warmer.
Snacks: Most airlines provide really lame free snacks. They MIGHT have decent ones for purchase, but they are usually overpriced. Put together your favorite trail mix, granola, fruit snacks, whatever! You can usually bring on any type of food, so you can even pack yourself a lunch.
Stay Hydrated: Bring your favorite water vessel to fill up once you past security. And then you can always have access to water. It can be quite the wait for the beverages to pass by, so make sure you don’t need to wait. And then when they do pass by, they can just refill your bottle. You also save mother earth by not using up those plastic cups and bottles. Yay!
Stretch and Move: Please enjoy a dorky video of me demonstrating some easy stretches to do from your seat without making a scene. Bonus: You can also do these when you are at your desk at work!
Hold these stretches for at least 3-5 deep breaths each.
You can also do foot/ankle circles to keep the circulation of your lower body going. Also, be sure to get up at least once. Go to the bathroom. You’ll have to from all of that water you are drinking! Walk up and down the aisle. It’s ok to disrupt your neighbor to get up. They need to stand up, too.
Remember to breathe. Use this time to meditate. Practice deep breathing. Relax.
Take Time At Your Destination
Once you get to your hotel, house, couch of residence, take time to unwind, even if it’s not until right before bed. Do some gentle stretching, especially of the lower body. Unpack or set up your space ASAP. This brings closure to the busy day of travel and can help you relax. Hopefully these tips can help you enjoy the journey as well as the destination.