By Alexa Santory
While traveling, it’s very easy to forget all about any healthy lifestyle progress you made at home. Considering the fast paced nature of most vacations, we tend to slip back into some unhealthy habits that can wreak havoc on our minds and bodies for much longer than we think. It’s okay to have a little fast food, and some drank, and skip out on 8 hours of sleep on vacation -- it’s all about enjoying ourselves anyway. But maintaining a somewhat healthy lifestyle on your travels will make it easier to fall back into your routine when you’re home again! Here are some tips to staying healthy during your travels! I’m not gonna tell you to drink water because you should be doing that already!
Traveling and a Healthy Mind and Body
Being able to truly enjoy a vacation begins with relaxing your mind. Expenses, airports, security, transportation, all of these things can be extremely stressful leading up to and on your trip. I mean, have you been to an airport in the last few years?? They’re zoos. And if you’re like me, stressful situations like that can make you want to forgo the entire thing. The irony is, traveling and vacations have been shown to be excellent for our mental health. So what gives? How can we maintain a healthy, relaxed mind while we’re traveling?
Chances are you don’t get enough of it while you’re home, so take advantage of the fact that you’re not home and sleep! And no, I’m not saying to sleep your entire vacation away, but it’s a good time to recalibrate and reestablish a sleep schedule--you know, that thing you haven’t had since you had a bedtime in elementary school? This is an excellent time to give yourself a bedtime and a waking time for a few straight days. Lack of sleep has been linked to higher levels of anxiety and depression, as well as weight gain and shorter attention spans. Sleep helps keep your brain sharp and has been shown to reduce stress levels. So if you’re stressed because airport security decided to throw away your very expensive face cream because it was just over the allowed limit, take a nap on the plane and forget about it. There’ll be another bottle of it at home.
Establish a routine.
Some people (like me) like to kind of wing every activity on their vacation. Other people (my friends and family) like to plan every single activity to the minute. Getting a routine down while you’re on vacation can help ease any mental stress you might be feeling. Even if your routine is as simple as waking up and eating breakfast at the same time everyday, establishing one can help give a bit more structure to the spontaneity of traveling.
Journaling is one of my absolute favorite ways to calm myself down and ease up some stress. Getting any pressing thoughts and concerns down on paper is a very effective way to cope and deal with things that may be bothering you. Reading, of course, is an excellent way to pass the time and an opportunity to dive into a new world. If you’re super busy back home, it can be hard to make time to read that book you’ve had on your bookshelf for the past year. Now’s the time to crack it open!
Unplug for at least one day.
Stay off your socials for at least one whole day of your vacation. Honestly, stay off your phone in general unless it’s entirely necessary. Take in the sights and the sounds through your own eyes and not through the lens of your Instagram followers. They know you’re on vacation, they know you’re having a fabulous time. Take some time for you to enjoy just how fabulous it is wherever you are. Keeping up appearances for social media can be exhausting and the bomb selfie you took will still be in your camera roll tomorrow, so when you’re on vacation, actually be on vacation, not just on your phone!
Indulge a bit.
Get a massage. Give yourself some retail therapy. Eat all of the ice cream. However you choose to do it, now is your chance! Vacations are the ultimate time to indulge and do things you don’t normally do. Head to the spa and splurge a bit on that deep tissue massage -- they’re just as good for your mind as they are for your body. Buy something luxurious you’ve had your eye on for a while. It’s okay to be a lil selfish on vacation. It is vacation after all!
Traveling Solo: A Quick Guide
True story: I traveled solo for the very first time in my life this year and let me tell you, it was liberating. I’ve always been a very independent person; I enjoy doing stuff on my own, but I also suffer from some pretty bad anxiety, so you can imagine what a battle that can be for my mind sometimes. There’s always a struggle of “I wanna go do this thing” vs. “What if this happens when I do the thing.” I didn’t let it hold me back this time though, and although I was super anxious to travel alone to a city I’ve never visited where I knew no one, it gave me a newfound sense of independence and reminded me that I’m a lot stronger than I realize. As a woman though, traveling alone comes with a whole other set of rules that men oftentimes don’t have to worry about. If you’re planning a solo trip, I say absolutely do it, but make sure to read this quick guide on how to stay safe!
Research the area before you go.
Try and learn some of the ins and outs of where you’re going. Pick points of interest you want to visit ahead of time. Plan how you’ll get to and from places and set aside a small budget for transportation, if necessary.
Try and stay in a well-populated area.
I traveled to Miami for the first time ever, which as many of you know, is a very popular city. But like any other city, it has both good and bad parts. If you’re a woman traveling solo, try and book your trip in a well-populated area where people are outside at all times of day. You may pay a bit more, but you’re ultimately paying for safety, which never comes at too high a cost tbh!
Try not to go out too late at night.
This is a big one especially if you’re in a place you’ve never been before. It was my first time there, I didn’t know my way around, and although I was staying a block from South Beach, being out alone at night is still risky as a woman no matter where you are. My brother always tells me to “keep my head on a swivel” when I’m out by myself. Take his advice. Also, take time during the day to map out the area surrounding where you’re staying, that way if you’re out late, you know exactly which route is the safest.
Always keep your phone charged and on you.
I know I said to unplug earlier, but that was just in terms of staying off your phone. Always have your phone close to you and with a full battery. And bring along a portable charger! They're life savers.
Keep super important stuff in the safe in your room.
Extra cash, your passport, expensive jewelry, all of that should stay locked up in your room for the duration of your trip. Losing anything like that would be a major L, so keep it safe in the safe!
Don’t drink too much.
Vacation is the time to sauce it up, BUT if you’re a woman traveling solo, getting lit comes with risks. Try not to drink too much if you’re out alone.
Check in regularly.
Send a text or call someone to let them know you’re safe at least once a day. Send pics too! Make ‘em a little jealous but also let them know you’re good!
Solo vacations are 100% amazing for the mind, body, and soul. Yes, it’s a bit of a scary world out there for women; I had my reservations about it too. But if you can do it, I highly recommend it. It’s a great way to check in with yourself and reestablish some good ol’ self care. Plus, you can literally do whatever you want. Wanna spend the entire day at the beach? You can! Wanna walk around and sightsee for 6 straight hours? You can do that too! Spending time with yourself is the best way to decompress and remind you how much you love yourself. There’s plenty to worry about, but there’s nothing to be afraid of.