Travel Essentials

Ahh summer-time. The (arguably) enjoyable weather brings about endless possibilities for outings, adventure, and quality time with friends and family. For many, the summer months indicate vacation and travel arrangements to sunny, tropical destinations. As appealing and worthwhile as a good getaway may be, these plans can also lead to uninterrupted thoughts about what to pack, what needs to get done, what to budget, feelings of guilt for leaving behind responsibilities, and an endless list of anticipated items. However, what many of us don’t think of packing is our well-being. Ensuring you are feeling your best self and are preparing in a way that will care for your mental health is just as essential as any other travel equipment.

As an individual who enjoys extreme organization and timely preparation, my preference is to always get ahead of what needs to get done so that I am not scrambling at the last minute. I find that when I utilize my organizational skills and take my time prepping, I am way more likely to enjoy the process.  Here are some traveling practices I apply for trips that allow me to take care of my mental and physical well-being:

  • Write things down. If you are a visual learner like me, then to-do lists are your best friend. Having a physical or digital list with all the items that need to be packed, bought, or sorted out prior to a trip provides a sense of guarantee that essentials will not be forgotten. I personally feel a great sense of accomplishment every time I cross something off my list. There are even some helpful travel list templates online if you don’t know where to start!
  • Take your time. Prepping ahead will allow you to thoroughly think about what it is that you may need for your trip while giving you ample time to compile everything in a calm state rather than a rushed one. Some items that may take longer than expected include ordering any prescription refills, ensuring your pets are taken care of, and arranging any important documents. Finalizing these details ahead of time will allow for smooth sailing as your trip approaches and may even give you some extra time to pamper yourself. I always love to have some ‘me-time’ the day before a trip so that I can feel my best self during travel. Some self-care ideas include getting your hair or your nails done (or both!), getting a massage, or watching your favorite show or movie to relax.
  • Don’t forget the items that make you happy. Packing a few of your favorite stress-relieving items that bring you joy and a sense of peace during anxiety-inducing moments can make all the difference. As someone who fidgets a lot when anxious or stressed, carrying a spiral hair tie on my wrist usually does the trick. I find myself twirling the hair tie with my fingers during times of stress, which is an easy tactic that distracts me mentally and physically. Some additional items to consider are headphones to listen to music or a travel blanket that serves as a physical reminder of home.

All in all, traveling can and should be a wonderful experience. Vacations and getaway trips, big or small, are necessary for winding down and taking a break – so enjoy it to the best of your ability! Make the process fun and be kind to yourself.

Happy summer!

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