Deciding to book a ticket to a new destination can be liberating. It can also be daunting.
When I left NYC to travel, I stopped in dozens of cities and states along the way until I finally settled temporarily in Los Angeles. Living in the moment can be fun but it's also exhausting. People usually don't talk about that part.
After traveling for two years, I've learned a ton about keeping your sanity on the road, especially if you're traveling with others.
If you're gearing up to travel in the near future, consider this the go-to guide for keeping sane and caring for yourself during your travels.
1. Wake up before everyone else does.
Whether you're traveling solo, as a group, or as a pair, it can be hard to find moments where you're truly by yourself, which can make you feel rushed or overwhelmed.
The easiest way to sneak in 'me' time while traveling is to wake up an hour or two earlier than everyone else around you and enjoy your environment alone.
2. Take time out of every day to watch the sunrise and sunset.
It doesn't matter if you're traveling for a weekend, week, or life, sometimes time can seem to move a little quicker when you're traveling.
Take a moment to catch the sunrise and sunset every day while traveling. It'll help you slow down and appreciate the reasons you're traveling in the first place.
3. Put your phone on 'do not disturb' mode.
When I turned 21, I permanently put my phone on do not disturb.
This means that my phone never vibrates and I don't see any notifications on my apps or social media unless I go out of my way to open my phone and open each app individually.
It's game changer. This act alone not only saves me time, but it reduces my stress and increases my brain clarity for the day.
4. Keep simple routines.
Sometimes when we travel, we overcomplicate and jam pack our days. This stresses me TF out.
Decide what's important to you during your trip. Do you want to watch the sunrise daily? Do you want to get your 10,000 steps in? Do you want to try a new restaurant every night?
Have simple guidelines to what you must do and what you're not so interested in doing on your trip, pack light, and enjoy your experience don't waste your time over planning and overcommitting to the point where you don't enjoy yourself.
I've been meditating all over the place while traveling.
Just recently I meditated in the back of the car during a four-day road trip from Los Angeles to my new home in Boulder. I simply downloaded the app Headspace and let the guide take it from there.
6. Keep a journal.
While traveling, I like to disconnect from my phone whenever possible. This can be hard when you're in a new place Googling TF out of almost everything.
I use the bullet journals by Muji, but my partner recently gifted me one of the beautiful Leuchtturm1917's I've been seeing all over Instagram and I think I may be in love. I like journaling while traveling to organize my thoughts, take notes on my surroundings, mind map, and to scrapbook my favorite memories without being attached to my phone
7. Decide how much you are or aren't documenting your trip.
When I travel, I often stay away from my phone, forgetting to photograph any of the exciting sites I see, experiences that come my way, and people I meet.
To me, that's ok. There's something about being 100% present without my phone that makes me feel at peace while traveling.
But I've also traveled with friends that wanted to take pictures and videos of EVERYTHING while traveling, and that's ok!
Talk to your friends before you start the trip so that you're all on the same page on phone etiquette while traveling without anyone having to worry if it's ok too as you to take a picture of them by a cute wall for like, the 10th time while making it clear that it's NOT ok to Snapchat the entire night.
8. If you need to get work done during your travels, schedule it in advance.
If you're traveling and need to get some work done, do yourself a favor and make a schedule in advance.
How many hours a day do you need to get work done? Will you work out of your hotel? Will you work at a cafe? Do they have wifi?
Prepping the details before your travels or leaving home for the day will help avoid any last minute hiccups in your workflow so that you can stay productive and stress-free on the road. I like to use the WorkHardAnywhere app to find work-friendly locations while traveling.
9. Drink hot water and lemon daily.
Drinking lemon in the morning over boiled water is something I like to do daily to help my body detox, reduce acne, and to help prevent UTIs.
There's nothing worse than a UTI in general, but I find them 10x more tragic when I'm traveling. Drinking lemon water and apple cider vinegar have helped me keep my urinary tract healthy and happy. Trust me, you'll thank me later.
These days, I keep a super simple beauty routine consisting of natural beauty serums I've made at home alone and a few products by Annmarie Gianni Skincare.
I personally just love how my skin feels and looks when it's moisturized. Being in a wide range of climates, let alone exploring outdoors can make my skin quench for thirst. Whenever I'm about to head out the door to travel, at a rest stop, or final destination, I like to wash my hands and spray my face with water to wake myself up followed by a little moisturizing.
11. Drink enough water.
There is something about sedentary travel that makes me drink less water.
At home and on the go I try my best to keep a mason jar or thermos by my desk or on deck so that I'm reminded to drink more water. If you're traveling in a car, consider packing a small cooler or a medium sized sports thermos to have passengers refill thermoses on the go.
12. Figure out how to work around dietary restrictions before you travel.
I've been vegetarian for 13 years and my boyfriend is paleo, so I'm no stranger to traveling with dietary constrictions.
If you have strict dietary restrictions, it's important to research the city or country you're visiting to discover local eats that suit your needs. If you want to cook at your place, consider renting a place with a small kitchen.
13. Figure out where you're going and how you want to get there.
I choose my method of travel based on how long I'm traveling, the purpose of travel, the distance, and if I'm going to want to stop along the drive to explore.
When I travel from Los Angeles to San Diego, it's usually for business. I prefer to take an Amtrak when traveling for biz so that I can sit back and enjoy the gorgeous view of the California coast, take a nap, or get some work done on the train. When I travel from Los Angeles to Santa Barbara, it's usually with my ladies, so I prefer to drive.
If you don't have navigation on your car, another hands-free option for navigating directions is to grab one of those phone stands that you typically see in Uber and Lyft cars.
Considering little details like this when planning a trip, allows you to know that you're going to get to your destination in a timely matter, without missing out on experiences along the way, and I mean, come on, isn't that the point of travel?
14. Be prepared for accidents.
BYOT: Bring Your Own Toilet Paper and prevent a disaster.
Also, on that note, pack a few pads, tampons, or your diva cup just in case you're going to get your period while traveling. Keep in mind that feminine care products may not be easily accessible where you're traveling regardless of how easily acceptable they are in your current town.
I also like to write down my emergency contacts on a piece of paper and share my location with my friends, just in case.
15. Protect your skin.
Bring sunglasses, a dad hat, or rock a visor like I have for the last month.
If you know you'll be outdoors often, consider what you need to pack to make sure you're dressed and covered properly. Nothing ruins travel like sunburn or sunstroke.
16. Clean your makeup bag.
Ok, so I know this sounds random but hear me out.
Most people never clean their makeup bag, but the reality is it's a breeding ground for germs that can then get into your body when applied to your face.
I like to wipe down my makeup, bag, and brushes with a mixture of castile soap, warm water and a few drops of tea tree oil.
Use traveling as inspiration to audit your makeup bag. What are the necessities; what goes unused? What's expired? Get rid of the products you don't use or love and your luggage bag will be packed a little lighter and your face will thank you!
17. Shop local for everything that you can.
If you're going to travel to a new destination, why shop, eat, and support companies that you can support from anywhere in the world.
I recently picked up some pieces for my kitchen and office along the drive from Los Angeles to Boulder.
18. Learn about the city that you're visiting.
You don't need to hit up all the touristy spots, but having a better understanding of the history of the city that you're in and major landmarks can give you a closer connection to the city and comfort that you can navigate your new surroundings.
You'll require help from strangers less and, most importantly, you won't be as distracted by your phone as you won't need to constantly look up directions.
19. Take advantage of discounts.
Whether you buy your tickets online, in advance, as a group, or get free treats because it's your birthday, do some research to see if you can cash in on any discounts offered in your destination city.
Regardless of how large or small your travel budget, we all enjoy a free treat.
Depending on where you're going, save up for a few months or weeks for your trip.
Outline a budget for your trip. I find that doing this makes me feel more confident when spending money on major or minor luxuries and experiences while traveling.
21. Don't feel pressured to do everything.
If you're traveling with a group or to a new city, never feel as if you have to do everything your group is interested in doing while traveling.
Know how you want to spend your time while traveling.
I like to sketch out an outline of what my days will look like: Where I'll eat, where I'll explore, places I must see and when I'm going to must-see destinations. I then plan everything else around that schedule. It makes me feel less pressured and more in control of my time.
22. Be safe.
Always do some research before traveling to a new place, especially if you're traveling alone.
If I know someone in the town or area that I'm traveling to, even if I'm not going to see them during my stay, I'll inform them and my close friends of my exact location. I keep them updated on where I'm going, who I'm with, and how to know if I need help.
Also, ride share companies and cell phones allow you to share your location during your trips instantly these days.
23. Freshen up on the local law.
Growing up on Long Island, I decided to pick up some friends and drive into NYC for a fashion week event.
When I made a right on red, my friends were shocked AF. It turns out, some places don't allow right on red (even without a sign present), others don't allow you to have an open alcohol container in your front yard (suggesting alcohol), while other places don't have recreational or even medical marijuana legalized yet.
It's important to refresh or become aware of your new surroundings. TBH, after living in Los Angeles and Boulder where marijuana is legalized, it's important for me to remember that this is not the norm everywhere in the world, let alone the country that I live in.
24. Get a mani-pedi.
Whether it's the day before your trip or during your trip, I highly recommend giving your nails a fresh touch-up before your trip.
Not only will you feel great, but you won't think twice about stepping into a pair of open-toe shoes.
25. Always leave time for living in the moment.
Search for the best places to visit in town or for stores and spots that fit your vibe, but don't get too tied down by a strict travel schedule. Make a list of things you want to do before your trip ends and just go with the flow!