Summer Travel Tips, Part 1Jul 11, 2023
Summer is fully here, and with it can come a sense of wanderlust, a desire to travel. Whether your ventures take you locally or internationally, travel can be tons of fun, and also stressful. And travel poses its own health challenges.
With a bit of preparation, you can avoid a lot of stress and increase your fun quota.
Here are some tried and true tips for more summer travel fun. To do before you leave:
1. Tame the pre-trip mega To Do list. Go ahead and make the list. Then label each item as follows:
MUST: I HAVE to do this before I get in the car or on the plane. Like packing, arranging for pet sitters, renewing your passport etc. The only things that get marked MUST are things that would prevent you from leaving if not done.
SHOULD: I should do these things before I leave, but if I didn’t, I can still leave for vacation and the world will survive. It’s amazing how many of the things that felt critical actually fall into this category.
COULD: I could do these things if I have time.
Next, the trick is to ONLY do the MUST items first. Ignore the other items entirely until the MUSTS are done. Only then do you start on the SHOULDS, leaving the COULDS for the very end, if at all. I have found this practice greatly decreases my pre-trip stress levels.
2. Get extra sleep. I know, how are you supposed to get extra sleep when there is so much to do before you go?! But travel means change and the body reads change as stress, which can tax your immune system, and who wants to get sick on vacation? By prioritizing sleep, you can arrive at your campsite or your far-flung destination feeling reasonably rested, ready to enjoy your time away, rather than so sleep-deprived you can’t see straight. And use the Must/Should/Could tool to cut through the unnecessary so you can get more rest.
3. Plan to welcome the unexpected. Travel is an exercise in letting go of control. If you are 100% fixed on things “being a certain way” while on vacation, you can end up sorely disappointed. If instead you approach your trip with the hope that things will go as you imagine…but you also are OK with whatever transpires, you will be able to get the benefits of travel, no matter what.
Years ago three generations of my family planned a trip to Maui for a week, fully expecting sun and surf. Instead, we found ourselves in the midst of the worst storm to hit the island in 4 decades! Yes, there was initially much grumbling and disappointment, but we quickly pivoted and discovered all manner of wonderful things to do indoors that of course we never would have found were it not for the storm. Would we have preferred sun and surf? Of course. Did we have a marvelous vacation and return feeling refreshed with lots of wonderful memories? Yes!
Like many things in life, prep makes all the difference, including vacationing!
Stay tuned for the next installment of Summer Travel Tips: how to navigate jet lag, travel GI upset, and avoid sunburn!