We might be FULL of energy in our daily lives, but on holiday that high octane can be quickly zapped with a combination of sleep deprivation, alcohol, travel, dehydration, sickness and of course, jetlag.
As a seasoned traveller, my TOP FIFTEEN TIPS (ten just wasn’t enough!) for staying SUPERCHARGED are here to be shared:
- TRAVEL INSURANCE – My father always drilled into me, that if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel. He was right. After 6 months in India, I was so crook I could barely make it down the 4 fights off stairs and navigate my way to the ashram next door. I contacted my travel insurance company (Southern Cross (NZ)) and told them in wanted to fly back to Thailand at my cost, to go to hospital (at their cost). I stayed 4 days with a drip in my arm pumping me full of calories, blood tests, urine and stool samples and a nod that I might have contracted hepatitis. On day 4, I exchanged books with my Indian doctor and was happy to sign over my $5k debt to my insurance company. Being prepared for the worst, can ease a lot of worries of “What ifs”.
- CREATE A LIST – If you’re going somewhere new; RESEARCH the destination. Buy a Lonely Planet guide (hard copy or PDF), check out Facebook expat groups, ask people who have been there or do an Instagram search for pictorial inspiration. Once you’ve got some ideas, jot them down and plan your days around locations, weather, cost and importance. There’s no use seeing the Museum of Natural History if you would rather be at a Theme Park, so personalize the list based on what YOU want.
- PLAN AHEAD – To avoid disappointment, it’s best to plan ahead. Check the weather, check waiting times, check out maps and opening hours and prepare for the worst. That means umbrellas, medications, tampons, water, bandaids and anything else that might save you from not enjoying your travel time to the max.
- TIME-ZONE YOUR SLEEP – One of the worst things about travel, is jetlag. It can muck up our systems for DAYS, and make us want bed when we’re midway through a clearance sale. Nobody wants to be THAT guy who falls asleep on the “waiting couch”. To stay alert, change your watch to your NEW timezone as soon as you get on the plane, and work your sleep around those hours.
- START EARLY – Rising at the crack of dawn might not be natural to you, but with a timezone shift; you can quickly rework this mindset. Getting up early means you have time to watch the sunrise over a new land, get some early morning exercise endorphins, skip the Starbucks queue, check the weather, plan and/or adjust your plans, and set your mood on high. Forget late nights partying yourself into an vodka-coma and waking unmotivated: SEIZE THE MOMENT and sleep later.
- HYDRATE – it seems SO simple yet I know we can easily bypass thirst in favour of looking for food as fuel. This leads to a sluggish metabolism, stiff joints, slow digestion and feeling super flat… try aiming for two glasses before breakfast, and one every hour until two hours before bed. On flying days; DRINK MORE! It’s often worth buying a litre of water at the end of the day and stowing it in your hotel room. Fresh is always best.
- NAP – This is hard for those of you who can’t sleep during daylight hours. But if you can, plan your day around a 3pm kip and set your alarm to reawaken FRESH and ready to experience a night with fresh eyes. Another tip for a better sleep is to always pack earplugs and an eye mask – trust me.
- EAT LESS – Often when we travel, our meal planning and goals go out the window. Calories are hard to count when you don’t know WHAT you’re ingesting, and if you’re sleep deprived you’re more likely to reach for the sweet stuff. My plan? Eat LESS more often. Enjoy the foods of the world by sampling it and repeating the mantra “my body is not a waste basket”. Don’t wait until after your holiday to rid your body of excess and let it dampen your experience, make sure you feel satisfied after a bite ready to fuel on for the day – not lethargic from heavy meals full of “creamy”, “golden” or “sumptuous” eats. Get the idea?
- TAKE SHORT VIDEOS – Photos are great, but when you get home, nothing reminds you of your experiences more than a video that capture the sights and SOUNDS of your time away. It’s also great to share with others who really want to share understand the feel of a place… talk about inspiring 🙂
- BUY KEEPSAKES YOU’LL ACTUALLY USE – I’m not talking Disneyland figurines or even magnets, but the stuff you’ll use on a daily that remind you of that holiday vibe. It could be a knife you used to cut limes for your mojito’s, a new protein powder, an apron you use to make delicious new eats or something as simple as Deodorant that leaves you feeling fresh all day. Buy stuff you’ll USE – like a new Starbucks Disneyland mug for your Green Tea brewed in Sri Lanka.
- DITCH THE ALCOHOL – Easier said then done? If you HAVE to have a drink, make sure you spend the day hydrating and have some protein (yoghurt & milk are best) to line your stomach, and the dreaded carbs to keep you feeling in control. If you’re traveling solo; limit your drinks, don’t do shots, buy your own and always place your hand over top of a glass/bottle to lessen the risk of being spiked. Be responsible.
- CAFFEINE IT UP- At home, I tap out at one coffee to wake me up. Away? 2-4. I agree it’s not the healthiest addition, but when you’re pushed for hours, you want to be AWAKE & ALIVE as long as you can be
- BE ACTIVE – It’s easy to plan a fitness routine before you depart, by utilising the awesome gym at the hotel and hot yoga studio down the road. Reality is that you’re likely to be so exhausted by actually ENJOYING your holiday, that any spare hours, are spent selectively sleeping. If you can’t work-out, work-in. Plan active activities on your travels that keep your joints moving and muscles pumping- hike, walk, bike, snorkel, climb, kitesurf, swim go to theme parks or simply spend more time on your feet than on your ass.
- ASK A LOCAL – Holidaying like a local might sound boring to some, but if you compare the tourist touted area of Anehiem (Disneyland) compared to more livable suburbs like Santa Monica; you’re likely to have a much different opinion of L.A. as a whole. Reach out via air bnb, couch surfers, Facebook expat groups or even Meet up groups and you are likely to get some insider knowledge on the best eats, beats and anything else that you’re passionate about abroad.
- KEEP A DIARY – It’s not easy to have free time on your travels, but even if you’re not typically a writer, you CAN fill a book with bullet-point highlights of your day so you REMEMBER all that you’ve done. That way, days don’t merge into each other and you’ll be prompted to remember all the epic stuff that’s shaped your life.
There you have it! Make additions and subtractions as you please, and by all means – SHARE YOUR TIPS! It’s great to have a community when you’re a traveler, and YOU my dear readers, are certainly part of mine 🙂
Love & light,
Monique Elouise xx
** Photo courtesy of: http://www.trendsandlife.com/