Ok, friends! I just returned from the longest trip of my life (unless of course you count that one time three months turned into two years in the Caribbean), and I felt inspired to share some of the ways in which I’m able to stay feeling good and present to my priorities while on the road.
To give you an overview, I spent the last two months traveling through Greece + the Greek Islands, Egypt, Jordan, Malta & Gozo, Croatia, London, all over France, and a couple short trips to Spain. I took planes, trains, road trips, ferries, drove my own boats, walked, skipped and jumped. During the sixty days I was abroad, the longest I stayed in one bed was five nights. While doing all the amazing adventures I could possibly fit, I also ran my business serving eleven clients and filled the new launch of my program, Experience Freedom.
Systems. Lots of efficient systems.
Below I’ve broken down some of the ways I stay sane, organized, and aligned while running around the world like a little kid on a playground.
BEFORE YOU ARRIVE
Do your research. Look, I know we all want to save money on the flight so we can spend it on our vacation. Do yourself a favor and look at the reviews before you book on a budget airline (you can just Google ______ airline reviews and see what comes up). I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wished I spent the extra $200-$300 on a better flight.
My number one piece of advice here: DO NOT fly Aerofloat or transfer through Moscow.
Some airlines are notorious for losing bags, huge delays, awful check-in and transfer processes… All of this can lead to you having to rebook flights on your own dime and arriving with no clothes. The airline you book matters, and so do the airports you transfer through.
I highly recommend avoiding any “self-transfer” flights, where you exit security and re-check in on a layover. Even if you have five hours between, anything can happen. Book all the way through to your destination.
Meal + Seat Request:
As soon as you book your flight, call the airline and request a seat (even if they say you have to wait until airport check-in, they’ll often reserve you a specified seat if you call) and a vegan meal.
Yes, I know you might not be vegan, but here’s the thing - have you seen airport meals? So much salt, tons of dairy, low quality everything. If you get a vegan meal, it will actually have fiber, so you’re less likely to suffer from jet-bloat and the inability to “go” for days after landing.
No one wants to start a vacation bloated. Also, requesting a special meal allows for them to assign you a seat right away - they need to know where the special meal goes.
Bring snacks! I make a Whole Foods run before flying, always. Bring nuts, seeds, veggie chips, dried fruits, regular fruit. I always bring sprouted pumpkin or watermelon seeds, cashews, almonds, a couple apples, bananas, and Lara bars.
Your body will want as much fiber as possible while flying to keep things moving nicely.
Also, bring probiotics and take a bunch before you depart.
I use packing cubes because they keep me organized if I have many destinations on one trip. Pants in one cube, swimsuits in another, etc. Roll your clothes instead of folding them!
If you haven’t worn something in the past three weeks, don’t pack it.
Don’t do this: “Well, I’ve never really worn this, but I’ll totally wear it on this trip, it’s the perfect excuse for it!” No, you won’t. Bring the clothes you love to wear, plus a few extra pieces.
If you’re traveling to Europe or bouncing around a lot, only carry on.
That means one backpack and one carry on suitcase.
Bring lots of basics you can switch up to look like different outfits. Big bold prints usually don’t get you very far, so take one or two that make you feel great, but be sure to bring a shawl or scarf to change up your look so you don’t get bored.
In the wise words of Elena Tasker, “If you bring more than three pairs of yoga pants, I’m throwing the fourth pair out.” I brought four pairs. She was right, I only needed three.
Three bathing suits is more than enough. Bring a sarong - it acts as a beach towel, skirt and a dress. I bring two.
One pair of sandals, one pair of sneakers, one pair of nicer shoes for going out.
If you’re carrying on, bring several refillable 3 oz containers for shampoo, conditioner, and face/body wash. Once they’re empty, you can refill them with little ones from hotels/Airbnbs, or buy a larger bottle in a place you’ll spend more time, and refill the little bottles right before you leave that place for the next destination.
Bring a refillable water bottle so you lessen your plastic use. I refill mine at airports, water fountains, springs, restaurants, hotels - tons of places will refill your bottle. It will save the Earth and your wallet.
I also always pack a titanium spork (no plastic utensils) and a bamboo straw (save the turtles).
Look up the outlet configuration in your destination *and* transfer airports, and get the appropriate converters before you fly.
In your backpack/carry on:
Travel pillow/blanket (I use a Rumpl, because it’s both)
An extra sweatshirt/hoodie
Headphones (I use Bose noise-cancelling and I also bring earbuds)
Refillable water bottle, spork and bamboo straw
Toothbrush + toothpaste
Chargers + converters
Sarong (I put mine at the bottom of my backpack, in case I want to use it as an extra blanket)
Bathing suit (in case luggage gets lost - good, well-fitting bikinis can be challenging to replace and I won’t be stuck unable to go straight to the beach - plus, they take up very little room)
A few essential oils (I bring ginger, peppermint, tea tree, lavender, DigestZen and a few other blends to console, cheer, or relax me)
Supplements (I bring probiotics, a mushroom blend, spirulina + chlorella tablets, turmeric, and ashwaganda)
Tea bags (I bring Green, Kava/relax tea, Smooth Move, Dandelion, and Raspberry Leaf)
Do your research. Things to look up about your destination:
Language - I always look up how to say a few phrases, such as:
Yes / No
Where is …. (the bathroom/exit/airport/train or cab station/beach/etc)
How are you?
Is this vegan? (I also look up a lot of food vocabulary to increase my chances of avoiding meat/dairy/eggs if I don’t speak the language, but that’s not applicable to everyone)
Any customs that are specific to that area
Most practiced religion
Take some time to understand the culture you’re about to step into.
Some things we may find appropriate are considered extremely offensive in other parts of the world.
Learn some of the language, have the appropriate currency, know how to show your appreciation and kindness in a way that will be warmly received.
Look up what time you land and arrange how you’ll get to your hotel or Airbnb before you take off. If your destination city doesn’t have Uber, sometimes it’s best to pre-arrange a transport so you’re not hustling for a cab in a foreign language, trying to convert cash, or waiting in a long line after a long flight.
Look up where your next meal is going to come from. There’s nothing like landing hungry and having no clue where to get food. Prepare accordingly so your first few hours are easy and well-planned.
Download the app Happy Cow - even if you’re not vegan/vegetarian. Sometimes (or every day if you’re like me) you’re going to want healthy food, and this app not only has all the healthy restaurants, they have health food stores, juice bars, etc. It’s a life and body saver.
Start becoming aware of the time at your destination a few days before your departure. Let your brain start syncing to the timing there before you land, mentally it helps a lot with adjustment.
Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Planes are extremely dry. Drink a ton of water, lather your body in coconut oil, moisturize your face for a few days prior to travel.
Rest well, eat well, take a yin yoga class or stretch a lot prior to flying.
YAY, YOU’RE ON VACATION!
Where to stay:
I like to alternate Airbnb and hotels, depending on what’s available and affordable in each destination. You can earn Delta points on Airbnb by going to deltaairbnb.com, and sometimes Booking.com has really nice hotels for cheaper than Airbnb.
Hotel laundry is often expensive, so I always book an Airbnb with a washing machine every other week so I can clean my entire wardrobe and start fresh.
It’s also nice to have a kitchen so you can cook some of your own meals, and feel a sense of home.
Airbnb hosts also have great info and love to help travelers.
Where to eat:
Whether you're going to eat out a lot or not, grocery shop! I love to visit farmers markets and grocery stores while traveling - you get to observe how people in that culture interact with their food, try local fruits + veggies, and submerge yourself in an authentic experience.
Also, always buy some fruit and snacks for your room. Starting the day rushed because you are hungry can put a damper on the entire day. Buy bananas, apples, oranges, oatmeal, etc and have them as pre-breakfast so you can start your days relaxed and nourished before you hit the new town/village/city/beach. Having snacks and breakfast on hand also ensures you'll commit to your morning routine, more on that later.
Of course, you're going to sample local fare and go out to eat.
As outlined above, I use Happy Cow for most restaurant selection.
If I’m in a place with no vegan options, I either grocery shop and make my own meals, ask an Airbnb host or hotel concierge, or I use Google Maps. I open the app, type “Top rated restaurants” and add the “Open Now” filter. I poke through and read some reviews, check out menus until I find something that works for me.
What to do:
There are some places that require some research and planning, and some places where you just want to roam. This is totally up to individual preference.
For me, I like to book tours in places where I want to really cover some ground. I used to work in group travel so I feel confident booking tours, and I know it can feel overwhelming for many.
Rule number one: Read the reviews! You can book tours on Tripadvisor, Google, Airbnb Experiences, and in-person while traveling. If there are a ton of places offering the same tour, grab a couple tour company names and check out their ratings on Google. Even if you book in person, I recommend telling the operator that you found them on Tripadvisor or Google, because they'll know you're likely to review them post-experience.
If you want to experience an island, hop around by boat, or anything on the water, I recommend pre-booking those tours. See if meals are included, look at the boat facilities (is there a bathroom on board?), read the fine print. If the trip is open bar, you’ll likely have a lot of young drunk people on your tour. In my experience, the less people a tour takes, the more intimate and customized the experience.
Check out some travel blogs, poke around on google maps before you arrive, do some research even if you don’t plan, so you have a general idea of what you’d like to experience while you’re there.
I also often ask Uber and/or cab drivers what they recommend! Drivers have often lived in their cities for a very long time and have amazing suggestions that the normal tourist info sites may not have. I’ve discovered some incredible gems by following the suggestions of Uber drivers.
Ask your community! Pop a post on Facebook. I’ve received free places to stay, restaurant recs, and a ton of really tailored suggestions from asking my FB or IG community about certain destinations. Your friends list knows you and the things you’re into, so it’s likely that someone will have a nugget of gold for you to discover!
If you have AM/PM routines, stick to them while on the road! This is huge.
If you don’t have a routine, I suggest creating one. Here’s what mine look like:
Rise, make tea
Journal (a gratitude list, three things that would make today awesome, and several “I am” statements)
Make the bed (even if I'm in a hotel)
Shower (I never get into bed without showering right before, it’s my evening meditation)
Brush, floss, retainers (yes, I wear nightly retainers) + skin care routine
Journal (gratitude for the day, amazing things that happened, reflection)
Simple things like making tea and my bed every morning may sound pointless, but it’s extremely grounding for me to have a rhythm that I do every single day, regardless of where I am. It’s a sense of home that you bring with you. Plus I’m sure the maids don’t mind.
Hydrate a lot more while traveling than you do at home. Chances are you’re in the sun, walking more, eating different foods, taking in a lot of stimuli and sweating, whether you notice or not. Your body is thirsty.
Get in some movement + stretching. I generally take 3-4 yoga classes a week at home, I might take that many a month while traveling. I make sure I go for a run, climb, long walks, dance, and always stretch so my body is still getting the necessary movement I need in order to feel good. If you go to the gym at home, find one and go! Weave in bits of your home movement routine even if it slacks a little while on vacation. You’ll feel and sleep so much better.
Take time for rest/reflection. Travel can really open us up and provide insight. Write down ideas and concepts that come to you, things you find interesting, how you felt during a specific interaction or experience. Journal or write notes in your phone. Give yourself downtime to integrate your experiences.
If you run a business, schedule days (or mornings and evenings) where you are fully present to your business and clients. I’d have x amount of days to play, and then a few days where I worked most of the day. Sandwich your calls into a couple days of the week so you can feel good about being fully with your clients/associates, and fully present to play as well. Don’t leave things unfinished or unscheduled - it will rob you of the joy of the moment, even if you’re out adventuring. Answer your emails, give your love to the revenue stream that’s allowed you to travel. If you work for someone else and you’re fully on vacation, disregard the above message entirely :)
Sharing the experience and remaining present:
If you follow me on Instagram, you know I post tons of photos to my stories and feed from my travels. I do not, however, post anything in real time while traveling.
When you’re traveling, each of those moments are so precious and unique. I encourage you to be fully present to your surroundings, allowing all senses to be tickled in each moment.
I take a ton of photos and videos of whatever looks inspiring or beautiful, and then I put my phone away.
I never post in real time while traveling, because it takes me completely out of the moment and into the world of social media - what to caption, filters, geo-tags, no one has time for that while you’re on the water or making new friends.
Take the photos and videos, and then when you get back to your room and have some downtime, post them.
Give your full attention to the moment.
People at home can wait to see your adventures, chances are they’re in a different timezone anyway.
One of the reasons I love this method is because I love to take photos and videos anyway. When I upload a full story of my day at once, I get to review my day and all the beauty I encountered, while choosing what to share with my friends and family back home. It feels like a really fun way to reflect on the day.
If you can, give yourself 1-3 days to adjust back into home life. If you have a 9-5, land on a Friday and take the weekend to integrate. I know not everyone has this option. If you do have to bounce right back into responsibilities at home, be very, very gentle with yourself.
Get lots of rest, hydrate extra, limit social commitments until you're fully back into your home rhythm.
Take extra good care of yourself, and know that sometimes, the transition from adventure to home can feel jolting, boring, or unsettling, even if you are happy to be back in your own bed.
I hope you all have found some of this to be useful!
If there's anything I've missed or you have more questions, please reach out!
Happy traveling, friends!