Travelling can be an amazing experience but when things aren’t going to plan and you are a long way from home, it can be easy to become anxious and doubt whether travelling was really a good idea! So, to help make sure you have the best travelling experience, here are a few useful tips about taking care of your mental health whilst travelling:
1. Take time for yourself
Whether you are travelling with a group of friends or as part of an organised tour, it is important that you make time for yourself. Taking time out on your own can be as simple as going down to the local coffee shop or getting a scoop of ice cream from the parlour down the street. Even these short breaks can provide a great opportunity to clear your head. However, if you need a longer break, you could visit a tourist attraction on your own? Especially if there’s something that you really want to do or see, but the rest of your group isn’t keen. Just remember to let people know where you’re heading and plan your route in advance to make your solo trip as stress-free as possible.
2. Check in with family and friends
It can be easy to feel isolated whilst travelling, particularly when travelling alone and this can cause your mind to start filling with worries and doubts. For women travelling alone there may be additional safety concerns. Rather than allowing worries to build up, it can be helpful to talk these through. A weekly phone or video call to catch up with your family and/or friends can offer a great pick me up as you recall all the great adventures you have had. Also, finding and reading blog posts like these on Student Minds can be a great source of comfort – a reminder that you’re not alone in your experiences.
3. Drink in moderation and avoid drugs
Plenty of holidays are fun without alcohol, with new places to explore and experiences to enjoy, drink isn’t necessary for everyone and everywhere. But plenty do go on holiday and have a drink or two while they’re there- it’s all about moderation. Without wanting to sound like a party pooper, alcohol is a well-known depressant and – particularly when consumed in large quantities – can lead to feelings of anxiety and self-doubt. Therefore, it is a good idea to have a few nights off the booze during your trip to make sure you reduce its effect. Drugs – as well as being illegal and carrying extremely severe punishment in many countries– can have dramatic and even long-lasting effects on your mental health and so should be avoided.
4. Travel with people you will get on with
If you are planning on going travelling with friends, make sure you think carefully about who you go with. Not everyone in your friendship group will be the ideal travel companion or will want to partake in the same type of trip as you – these differences can cause frustration and upset. Think about what sort of trip you want (e.g. active, cultural or relaxing) and choose your group appropriately. If you want to be up early to visit the sights, then it may not be great for your mental health if you’re travelling with a group of party animals.
5. Keep a journal
Journals and diaries can be really helpful for processing your thoughts and feelings, particularly when you are travelling for a long period of time. Journals provide a space for you to record all of the great experiences you have had over the course of your trip and re-reading these can bring a smile to your face when you are feeling down. They also allow you to put your worries or doubts down on paper, which can often help you to rationalise them and work through them. Keeping a journal really is one of my top tips for self-care whilst travelling.
Travelling can provide you with the ideal opportunity to relax and take a break from your day-to-day. Make the most of this and enjoy your holidays!