Week one of my four week international trip is over and it has me reflecting on both my past and my future travels. I am also surrounded by people from all over the world who have collectively done some pretty impressive traveling. This lead to a conversation with them about how they stay happy and healthy while traveling and are away from home for extended periods of time.
The following is a collection of what myself and everyone saw as the most helpful ways to keep your spirits up and health at its peak while traveling.
My number one essential travel item is my reusable water bottle. For the most part, it’s easy to refill a water bottle in airports allowing you to have water with you throughout your flight. Flying dries my skin and can make it hard to stay hydrated. This is why I always like to have water on me. Having a reusable water bottle also keeps me from having to purchase plastic water bottles (for the most part). I do what I can not to purchase plastic water bottles, but sometimes this is unavoidable. A travel tip I’ve heard is to purchase some sort of compact, travel water filter to go along with your reusable water bottle. This can help most water sources become acceptable for drinking.
Bring Healthy Comfort Snacks
When you’re on the go you never know when you’re going to find something to eat and this is especially true if you’ve got some sort of restriction in your diet. Not eating meat, I never know if I’m going to be able to find a filling, healthy meal or snack. This is why I make sure to pack healthy, travel snacks. This typically includes nut butter, protein bars, nuts and chocolate for those sweet cravings. Having snacks from home also provides some comfort when you’re feeling a bit homesick and are wanting something familiar.
Bring Essential Oils
When I travel I bring essential oils with me. I use these at home, so having them with me on my travels provides some comfort with some familiar scents. They can also help to relieve headaches, tension, muscle pain, and can help with sleep and energy.
Being abroad I haven’t wanted to use my phone’s data much, and I don’t always have WiFi. This has made me keep my phone on airplane mode most of the time. This has been a very nice change and has enabled me to stay present and focus on what I’m doing in the moment. It’s a freeing feeling when you don’t feel tied to your phone and allow yourself to (safely) get lost in a new place. You know your phone is always there if you need it, but it’s nice to not fully rely on it.
Allow Yourself To Indulge
I never want to go completely crazy on vacation and forget about my healthy habits, but I do think that it’s okay if you want to indulge some without making yourself feel guilty. One of my favorite ways to indulge is to try a drink or dessert that the area I’m in is known for. You can learn a lot about a culture by their food, so I don’t want to miss out on that because I’m focused on being healthy 100% of the time.
Bring The Right Technology
I wish I could travel independently from technology, but that’s not the case. Technology can make traveling easier and more hassle-free. I always carry headphones when I travel to use on transportation. I also make sure I have the right outlet adaptor/converter so I know I’ll be able to charge my devices. I also carry portable chargers because you never know how long you’ll be without an outlet. Purchasing an international cellphone plan has really helped me so I know I can always look up directions or call an Uber if needed without worrying about crazy international charges.
Bring Things To Help You Sleep
I don’t sleep well on public transportation, and this is unfortunate because being rested is such an important part of staying healthy and happy while traveling. Overnight transport is sometimes unavoidable or the best option for traveling, so I need all the help I can get to encourage a good nights sleep. I don’t like taking medication to help me sleep so bringing an eye mask and earplugs helps me sleep – or at least rest better.
This one is so important to me, and one I forgot about on my most recent trip. The typical supplements I travel with are vitamin B12, garlic pills and oil of oregano. These give me energy and boost my immune system to fight off any nasty bugs. I will also travel with packets of powdered greens that I can add to water. These help me get vitamins and minerals I might be missing from my travel diet.
Don’t Neglect Self-Care
Self-care is so important during travel. You’re out of your normal routine, so any sort of normalization you can bring into your travels can be very beneficial. This can something like packing face masks or your favorite moisturizer. I always try to make sure I have room to pack my favorite toiletries so I can at least try to make that routine as normal as possible.
Rest Days Are Essential
It can be hard to choose to rest instead of going out to explore, especially when time is limited, but it’s so crucial to staying healthy while traveling. I’m guilty of having a go-go-go mentality while traveling because I don’t want to miss anything. When I do this though, I sometimes wear myself out to the point of over-exhaustion. This level of fatigue can lead to sickness as well as grumpy moods – which is no fun for your travel partners. So rest is important, even if it’s just an afternoon nap.
Bring First Aid
All the walking around and exploring can lead to blisters as an unfortunate side effect. This is why I think making sure you have band-aids, as well as other basic first aid items is important. You don’t want something like a small blister ruin your trip.
Don’t Bring Running Shoes
There have been countless trips I have taken where I pack my running shoes with the intent of going running. Nine out of ten times this does not happen, and I end up waisting valuable room in my suitcase with something I wish I didn’t bring. I have now switched to bringing a pair of comfortable, but stylish walking shoes. These ensure I have support when I’m walking around all day, but they still look nice.
Bring a Journal and Pen
I try to keep a journal whenever I travel. This is where I reflect on my day or simply make a list of what happened during the day. I love looking back on this and remembering things and feelings that I might not have remembered. Something I always try to include in my travel journal is what I ate. Reading back on this can provide inspiration for future meals and bring me right back to experiencing that meal and day all over again.
These tips don’t just apply to long-term, international travels, but any travels – even day trips. Doing some extra planning and setting yourself up for success while traveling can be the difference between a good and bad trip or even good and great trip.
I think one way to make sure you’re prepared for a longer, further trip is to practice with smaller, closer to home trips. You learn something with every trip you take.