I thoroughly enjoy traveling, learning about the local culture and exploring the sights. I long to travel the world, whether it be state, country, or continents and I have my own travel bucket list I'm completing. Yet the tolls of travel are becoming more evident over the years. Driving 1200 miles over the course of two days was once tiresome but manageable. Now I plead for 3 days travel to reduce travel stress. Traveling 3 hours via vehicle to arrive at a destination for a single night has become an event I dread as I'm left requiring a day of recovery to feel rested again from such a relatively short distance.
My parents and I traveled to visit my great uncles and tend to the beginning of the last days of my eldest great uncle. We decided to fly due to the stress upon us from our 1200 mile drive. Even with less than a 5 hour flight, the day was proving stressful enough. Our plane arrived at nearly midnight, our one checked baggage hadn't made it on our plane but was following behind us on the next flight. A flare up was starting from my lack of sleep and rest and sharp pains began stabbing at the back of my knee each time I took a step. We decided to hold out during the hour wait to obtain our luggage and then was tasked waiting for a rental car and determining if we would be able to check into our hotel a night early while correcting the hotel's error for multiple reservations. After all was said and done we entered our hotel room around 2:30 am to sleep 4 hours before heading to visit my great uncles. Needless to say, we were all exhausted and requiring rest before too long.
What's the best ways to combat travel stress?
Firstly, starting your trip rested and energized makes a difference. Completing necessary planning and preparations for your trip beforehand allows for a more organized, less stressful start to your day. We need this energy and let's face it, most of us are already struggling with energy levels so we don't need to start off further drained than usual.
Know how travel and food will affect you. I know I do better with reduced fluids and food intake during periods that provide limited restroom access. Struggling to avoid restroom necessity when I'm unable to access a restroom is physically and mentally hard on me as my body becomes sore and my anxiety and frustration levels increase. Correctly timing my fluid and food intake provides increased freedom when I need it most.
Schedule your travel to allow for departure and arrival times that are optimal for your well-being. Do you function better early or late in the day? When do you usually start to run out of steam? Allow time for rest breaks to regroup, stretch, and walk to prevent blood clots, achy joints, or lodging for sleep to prevent exhaustion and decreased immunity. Make arrangements ahead of time if you fare better with handicap accessibility or assistive devices.
Eat healthy during your travel and stay at your destination. It's easier to fall into the fast food traps while traveling but your body and mind will thank you for avoiding such traps. Fast food and other unhealthy foods leave us feeling sluggish.
Take your medications to help keep you on track. It's easy to skip or forgo medications when our typical routines are altered. Consider adding immunity boosting supplements to your medication regiment after discussing it with your doctor. Zinc and Vitamin C are great immunity boosters.
Plan activities that fit your activity level. Jam packing your days with various activities can give you great memories but leave you exhausted, wanting a vacation from your travel and time away. Give yourself some relaxation opportunities.
Travel is a wonderful privilege and we are able to enjoy our travel experiences to the fullest when we take care of ourselves. So get out there and see the world, it'll change you!
Travel changes you. As you move through this life and this world you change things slightly, you leave marks behind, however small. And in return, life and travel leaves marks on you. Most of the time, those marks - on your body or on your heart - are beautiful. - Anthony Bourdain