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February 28, 2024

7 Travel Planning Tips to Ensure You Return Refreshed, Recharged, & Energized

Post By:
Kelly Tolliday
In-House Contributor
Rising Nature Retreats
Guest Contributor:

Have you ever felt like you need a vacation from your vacation? Do you often come home from your travels feeling more drained or out of sorts than you did before you left? Does it take ages to get back into your routine after time away? 

After traveling to over 45 countries, for anywhere between 3 days to one year at a time, I know firsthand how hard it is to stick to your health habits while you’re on the road. 

And at the same time, there is nothing truly more important (other than your personal safety) than maintaining your health while traveling. 

Oftentimes, when we go away, we like to think we’re escaping our everyday life, a much needed break from the day-to-day grind we find ourselves in.

However, our bodies don’t know the difference between being home or being on vacation. 

And when we throw in a third cocktail, pastry for breakfast, or a 12-hour time difference into the mix, our bodies can go a little haywire, which can contribute to jet-lag, dehydration, digestion issues, bloating, delayed or missed menstrual cycles, fatigue, breakouts, anxiety and more. 

All the things we definitely don’t want happening while we’re meant to be living our best lives on an Instagrammable holiday.

Apart from wanting our bodies to be functioning optimally while we’re away, we also want to feel our best, mentally & emotionally. We want to have energy, communicate well with our travel partners, feel peaceful & calm and ultimately have a great time. 

However, when we throw ourselves out of our routines, our mental resilience and healthy coping mechanisms can often take a hit as well. You might find yourself getting more irritated or snapping at your partner or kids. You might feel more anxiety than usual, particularly with unforeseen changes. And you might even wish to go home early from the trip you’ve been so looking forward to.

I know how important it is to prioritize your health & wellness while you travel because I’ve lived through the consequences of not. Because of this I’ve studied (and applied) ways to maximize my health with the least amount of effort while on the road. 

The rhythms within our body, mind, endocrine system, circadian rhythm and more thrive off routine and structure. Travel inherently takes you out of your day-to-day and into the unknown, which is one of the many reasons why I love it so much. However, it’s important for your mind, body & spirit to balance this adventure of travel with the routines of daily health.

So how do you stick to health routines AND still have fun on vacation? Here are 7 strategies to implement on your next trip:

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  1. Set an Intention: Put pen to paper and set an intention for your trip. What is your overall goal for this experience? How do you want to feel at the end of the trip? It’s easier to plan activities, foods, and itineraries when you know exactly what your desired outcome is.
  1. Take Inventory & Create a Micro-Routine: Write out what helps you feel the healthiest when you are home. What are your current health habits at home? What supplements do you take? Do you have an exercise routine? On the flip side, what do you want to try or what do you want to do more of but don’t have much time for at home? Meditating, reading, massages? Based on this list of what currently works for you and what you would love to do in an ideal world, you can make a realistic itinerary for your trip. The goal here is to create a really basic, really attainable micro-routine for yourself so that you can stick to it with ease! Not only does this help you actually feel refreshed and healthy at the end of your vacation, but this also helps you easily slide right back into your health habits and routines when you get home.
  1. Recreate Sleep Routines: Sleep is one of the most important factors to consider when it comes to your health during travel. Whether you have a 12-hour time difference or you’re just one city away from your hometown, a new environment can bring about sleep challenges. When you sleep well, you live well. Recreate your sleep environment the best you can while you’re traveling. If you’re picky about your pillow or you use some form of a sleep aid, be sure to bring them with you. If you always have a cup of tea and read before bed, bring your tea sachets and your latest book. If you’re a light sleeper (like me!), new noises from your accommodations can disrupt your sleep. Consider bringing a portable sound machine or noise-canceling headphones. If you are entering a new time zone, it’s recommended to get outside in the sunshine as soon as possible after landing. The spectrum of colors in daylight helps trigger melatonin production at the optimal times so you can go to sleep (and stay asleep!) 
  1. Schedule in your Wellness: If you’re like me, you like to have a plan when you travel. I’m always researching the best restaurants and top things to do. Your itinerary can quickly become overscheduled and overwhelming, leaving no time for rest and self-care. Be sure to schedule time for wellness each day along with excursions or activities. When will you go for a beach walk? Or get a massage? Or take a nap? This can ensure a balanced travel experience versus a vacation to-do list of activities.
  1. Walk, Walk, Walk: When traveling, you’re likely in a new city or natural environment. If the opportunity is there and it’s safe to do so, choose to walk to your destinations, instead of taking a taxi or other transportation. Not only is this a money saver, but  walking as much as you can every day will help your body get the movement that it so craves. On top of this, walking is an excellent way to get an “on-the-ground” view of the place you’re visiting. If you’re lucky and you’re visiting somewhere known for hikes, you can add a hike to your itinerary and cross off your movement for the day while immersing yourself in nature.
  2. Prioritize Nutrition: When we’re on vacation, it can feel like it’s a free-for-all with all the yummy foods, treats and cocktails. And while we can have lots of fun trying new foods and drinks, we need to remember what makes us feel our best at home, so we can feel our best on holiday. It’s super tempting to eat the delicious croissant in Paris, but if we are normally gluten-free at home, it would serve us best to find another alternative to enjoy. Ain’t nobody got time for bloat and bathroom runs while trying to experience the magic of Paris! On travel days, it can also be tempting to grab-and-go quick bites of fast food. However, prioritizing protein, fiber and fats will help our digestion, energy levels and sleep in the long run. These are some grab-and-go bites I rely on: almonds, protein bars, hummus & carrots, fruit & yogurt, and sandwiches with chicken, egg or avocado.
  1. Set Your Boundaries and Have Fun Doing It: You get to decide what boundaries you set for yourself on your vacation so you can thrive while you travel and ultimately feel the way you want to feel (see tip #1!)l. Before you leave, be clear with yourself about what your hard-no’s are and what habits or routines you’re willing to slide on. You can still enjoy all that travel has to offer while respecting your own boundaries. And if you decide you still want to taste all the yummy foods, stay out later than usual and enjoy what this world has to offer, you can absolutely do it and just adjust for it the next day. Life is a balance, on the road and at home. 

I passionately believe that travel is an integral component of wellness, and have built my brand centered on this guiding principle. To get an instant wanderlust hit, tune in to my podcast Transform with Travel where I dive into this interconnected philosophy more. And to learn even more about wellness through travel, the art of slowing down, and the magic of living with intention, explore our upcoming Rising Nature Retreat in Portugal this June!

Cheers to many adventures ahead of you, filled with health and happiness.