As we approach the official start to summer, many of us are eagerly planning vacations or weekend getaways. Despite being associated with relaxation, indulgence, and adventure, so many excursions are fraught with stress and anxiety. Sometimes we’re simply overwhelmed by an overbooked agenda; other times we grow impatient with our travel companions as we encounter unanticipated challenges for whatever reason. It’s true that travel brings out our true selves: in a potentially new and exotic place, we are tested with people, foods, and cultures that stand in stark contrast to quotidian events at home. Whether you’re planning a trip across the ocean or spending a weekend at the beach, these tips will help ensure your travels are stress-free and enjoyable.
Before Your Trip
1. Pack plenty of snacks. You never know when hunger will strike, and it’s always best to be well-prepared with a sizable selection of your favorite vegan bites. Some ideas:
– Portion out a homemade trail mix of nuts, carob chips, and dried fruit.
– If you’re traveling somewhere relatively close, blend up your favorite protein smoothie and pour in a mason jar.
– Whip up a batch of your favorite chia pudding or overnight oats and store in a mason jar.
2. Create an easily modifiable itinerary. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve traveled with a strict schedule, literally mapping out must-see attractions by the hour. While it’s good to identify what you’d like to do on your vacation, sometimes a skeleton of an agenda is all you need to stay on track. Leave room for wandering. Make a goal to do two or three things on your list of “must-sees,” but prepare to change plans depending on what kinds of things you run into along the way.
3. Have no expectations. This is more of a life tip, really. So many of our experiences are hinged on a predetermined outcome, and when things inevitably go awry, we’re left disappointed or devastated. If we approach traveling without being stressed about the way things are supposed to be, we will be satisfied with whatever happens organically. It’s a simple concept, but it can truly be life-changing if applied correctly.
During Your Trip
4. Put away the camera. Don’t get me wrong: I love pictures! I would be devastated if I didn’t bring my camera to the beautiful places I’ve vacationed. However, it’s true that we can become so engrossed in capturing the “perfect” image that we forget to simply stand and admire where we are and who we’re with. If you’re particularly keen on capturing special moments with a camera, I challenge you to spend one day on your vacation sans camera. You’ll be surprised at how much you’ll see and appreciate.
5. Forget what you’re “supposed” to be doing. Many times, we’ll tell friends about our impending travels and receive all kinds of recommendations. There are always more museums to see, restaurants to eat at, and festivals to attend. We’re often so caught up about being the perfect tourist that we fail to attend to our our natural inclinations. Perhaps we want to sit in the park and read, or go see a film at the local theater. Don’t feel pressured to do things just because your friends or a tourist guide book suggest them.
6. Incorporate some routine into your travels. Nothing stresses me out more than unpredictable meal times and lack of rest and exercise. Try your best to practice some of your daily habits while in a new place. For example, do you feel best when you start your day with hot lemon water? When you arrive at your new location, visit the local market and pick out some fresh lemons to last your entire stay. Sometimes simply continuing a few routines while traveling will bring you comfort and peace.
What are your favorite stress-free travel tips?
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Photo: Molly Lansdowne