Keep Mindfulness in Mind as You Travel

Summer travels with plane. Unsplash - Ross Parmly

Summer is here, and so are your travel plans. The world is slowly opening back up, and you’re here for it. With so many trips and getaways canceled last summer due to the pandemic, many of us are eager to hit the road, or hop on a plane, ASAP. On one hand, it is exciting to be out of the house, socializing, and experiencing new places, but on the other hand, it can definitely create some anxiety. It has been one traumatic year, and on some level, we are all still a little shook and afraid. So, how can we make the most out of our travels this summer and carpe diem without unnecessary apprehension?

I’ve got one word for you: mindfulness! I don’t necessarily mean to pull over multiple times on your road trip to meditate for a few and catch some zen, unless that’s your thing, then, by all means, go for it! Really though, what I mean is to be mindful as you plan your trips and as you make them.

If airport security, layovers, being thousands of feet in the air for hours at a time, and baggage claim already stress you out, then perhaps with the added precautions due to the pandemic, you may be better suited for a road trip. There are plenty of cool places to go within driving distance, and you can even plan some cool pit stops along the way. If you have a really long drive, plan to spend 1–2 nights in a city along the way to break up a drive. There are perks to avoiding the airport at times…Road trips allow you to explore places you may have overlooked otherwise. Give yourself some grace, be real with yourself, and be okay with your truth — because, let’s be honest, if you’re not happy this trip you’ve hyped up, ain’t gonna be no fun at all.

Golden Gate Bridge driving through on road trip.

Perhaps the pandemic hit a little too close to home, and you definitely don’t want to end up sick upon arrival of, or prior to, your excursion. This doesn’t require anything extreme on your part, just a little more awareness surrounding your health. Keep it basic: prioritize sleep, eat nutrient-dense meals and snacks (aka be sure to get lots of fruits, veggies, and other whole foods), drink enough water (½ or 1 ounce of water for each pound you weigh), avoid any unnecessary stress, and don’t plan any late-night parties (there is definitely a time and place for these, but not right before you travel). These simple, straightforward suggestions will work wonders when it comes to your preventative health and dodging those irritating ailments that seem to have the worst possible timing.

Whether you plan to jet-set across the country, or road trip to your neighboring state, packing some nutrient-dense meals/snacks and ensuring you have ample amounts of H20 are crucial. First of all, flying is dehydrating and dehydration can cause headaches, lethargy, and lightheadedness. Who wants to hop off of the plane and feel less than amazing? No one! You want to hop off of that plane and be ready to hit the town full of energy and enthusiasm. On that note, drinking enough water when en route will also eliminate some of the bloating and digestive issues travel tends to bestow upon us (it’s gonna help keep everything moving, if ya know what I mean). Taking some extra time to pack meals and snacks that will leave you feeling good can make all the difference as well. You won’t have to live off of airline pretzels or snack mix for five-plus hours, because you planned ahead! Not only will your good eats satisfy and nourish you, but they will eliminate any extra (stressful) decisions you may have to make surrounding food while traveling (like having to choose between the only two fast food joints within the next 100 miles because it’s dinner time, and you’re starving). Ya feel me?

Two women going out to surf in the ocean.

Another excellent way to stay mindful as you travel, or plan your travels, is to be intentional. In other words, deliberately plan how you’d like for your trip to go. Are you headed to a spot you’ve never been? Make a list of the places and sights you absolutely have to see, the activities you must experience in order to feel complete, etc. This will prevent you from going home with regret that you missed out on the surf lessons you’ve been dreaming of since you were ten because you did a random Segway tour instead. Did you read about an awesome pizza place that you just have to try while you’re in town? Maybe it’s a coffee shop, a bookstore, an antique store, etc. Hey, whatever floats your boat! Write it down, plan it, and make it happen.

Vacation and traveling are supposed to be a respite from your day-to-day, while allowing you to experience the magic of another environment. So why put yourself in situations, or places, or even with people that may diminish what could be a very pleasant, enjoyable experience? While I realize we cannot control everything around us, we can control our behaviors, actions, and reactions. So set yourself up for fun, lighthearted travel this summer by being honest with yourself, being intentional, and remaining mindful as you plan, and enjoy your getaway.


Monica Mikolajczyk (M.S., CPT) is an NASM certified personal trainer, specializing in corrective exercise and pelvic floor and core training. She designs programs for postpartum women (no matter how many years postpartum) to help them regain strength and function in their bodies. Monica is also a nutritionist, and has her Master of Science in Nutrition. She blends nutritional consulting with motivational interviewing and health coaching in order to help clients set and achieve their short and long-term health goals. She is passionate about empowering people, and helping them to attain optimum health and wellbeing. Monica is the owner of Integral Health NC, LLC an online and in-person, personal training and nutritional consulting/coaching business (visit www.integralhealthnc.com for more information).

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