Traveling is thrilling and enriching no matter where you roam, but it can also be draining — physically and mentally. Jet lag, unfamiliar surroundings, language barriers, and a break from routine can all take a toll on your well-being. That’s why it’s important to prioritize self-care when traveling abroad.
In this article, we’ll discuss how to prioritize self-care during your travels and ensure that you return home feeling refreshed and rejuvenated — not more exhausted than you were before you embarked on your journey.
One of the best ways to prioritize self-care when traveling abroad is to plan ahead. Research your destination and make a list of what you’d like to do during your trip. Confirm details with your hotel and cross-check your flight information.
If you fly to the other side of the world (let’s use Bali as an example destination) from the U.S., you might arrive several hours before hotel check-in, thanks to the large time change. Look for luggage storage in Bali so you can store your belongings in a secure location and immediately head to the beach or spa.
Staying hydrated is essential for your well-being, especially when traveling. Avoid the tap water in countries where it’s unsafe, and opt for bottled water or water purification tablets instead.
Additionally, avoid excessive alcohol consumption, which can dehydrate you and make you feel worse. There’s nothing worse than trying to explore a new space (especially on foot) while fighting a hangover.
Get Enough Sleep
Jet lag and changes in routine can make it difficult to get enough sleep when traveling abroad. However, getting enough rest is crucial for your well-being. Try to stick to your regular sleep schedule as much as possible, and take naps if necessary. Don’t feel like you need to go clubbing immediately upon arrival — consider an early first night out, then head back to the hotel and get a full eight hours of sleep if possible.
Use blackout curtains, earplugs, or a sleep mask to help you sleep better in unfamiliar surroundings. If you’re struggling to sleep, consider taking a natural sleep aid or speaking to a healthcare provider.
Traveling can be stressful, but practicing mindfulness can help you stay centered and calm. Stay present and focus on the moment instead of worrying about the future or dwelling on the past. Turn off work emails, let colleagues know you are traveling (a.k.a., you won’t be available), and focus on being mentally present.
Practice deep breathing or meditation to help you relax and clear your mind. You can also try journaling or creative expression to process your emotions and thoughts.
Eating a healthy and balanced diet is important for your overall well-being, and traveling abroad can be especially challenging. Make an effort to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins.
Try local foods and flavors, but also be mindful of portion sizes and avoid overindulging. Too big of a meal will leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy. Pack healthy snacks like nuts, seeds, or dried fruit to avoid unhealthy temptations.
Exercise is important for your physical and mental health and can help alleviate stress when traveling. Take advantage of the opportunities to move your body while on vacation, whether it’s walking around a new city, hiking in nature, or trying a new fitness class. Pack comfortable workout clothes and shoes, and incorporate exercise into your daily itinerary.
Staying connected with loved ones through phone calls, video chats, or social media can help you feel supported and less lonely when traveling abroad. Make a point to stop at a souvenir shop to pick up something to bring back home or put a postcard in the mail. Join local events or groups to meet new people and connect with locals.
It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of traveling and overextend yourself. However, it’s important to set boundaries and prioritize your needs. Allow yourself downtime to rest and recharge, and don’t feel guilty for taking care of yourself.
Prioritizing self-care when traveling abroad is essential for your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Planning ahead, making healthy choices, and looking out for your mental health are all important ways to prioritize self-care during your travels.
By taking care of yourself, you’ll be able to enjoy your trip to the fullest and create lasting, cherished memories. Remember to make self-care a priority, even when traveling abroad.