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Traveling With ADHD - A Guide To Less Stressful Travel

With a hyperactive mind that typically struggles to focus, it is no surprise that traveling to new places to see new sights and try new food is so addictive to people with ADHD.


On the contrary, detailed planning, loud environments, and a lack of routine can also cause stress for more neurodivergent minds. Just because the world can be intimidating does not mean it shouldn't be explored. Learning how to better organize, plan, and control stimulation is critical to making the most of your travel experience with ADHD.



Tips for Traveling with ADHD
Traveling with ADHD can be a breeze with a few tips and tricks to keep your mind and suitcase less cluttered!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links at no additional cost to you. For more information see my privacy policy here.


Plan For Sucess: Leave Time For Error

Time management? Maybe it's not your best gift. And that’s okay! First, let's understand that having a weakness doesn’t make you a weak person. However, it's still okay to admit that you may need extra grace room when trying to stay on time.


Arrive at the airport early and reward yourself with a sweet treat. Always find your gate before getting food or exploring so you know exactly how long it'll take to walk back to your gate. Set alarms on your smartwatch. Plan breaks throughout your day. Most importantly, leave time in your schedule to wander and explore.


Leave Space In Your Bags To Re-Organize

We understand overpacking. You never know when you may need a tropical shirt or a change of shoes.


Instead of stuffing a small backpack to the brim, opt for a bag with a little extra space and organization room. This way, if you forget something right up until the last minute, you have space to throw it in.


This also helps once you’ve arrived at your destination. Think of it like you would your closet at home. Your suitcase and bags act as a mini closet while you’re traveling. Keeping things organized and easy to find is much harder if your drawers are filled to the brim. You may find yourself dumping all the contents out on the floor less often in pursuit of what you know you packed. 


Also, packing cubes. Always packing cubes.


Use A Travel Bag With Lots Of Pockets

There are so many good options to help you stay organized when traveling. We recommend avoiding a bag with only one big pocket and opting for something with more organizational room.


Unless you have a TSA precheck, you’ll be expected to remove your laptops and devices at security. An external sleeve for your laptop? That's a Game-Changer.


Other features you should consider include hidden pockets, a luggage sleeve, water bottle pockets, RFID-blocking pockets, and more. Invest in something that will work well for your type of travel.


Our current favorite travel bag brand? Nordace. Their travel bags are not only stylish but offer pockets for everything, including your sunglasses. We highly recommend checking them out, and we'll even leave you 10% off all Nordace products right here :)


You can find other good travel bags and carry-on options here.



Bring Noise-Cancelling Headphones And Wear A Hoodie Or Scarf

With ADHD often comes overstimulation. Busy airports, bus stations, and loud cities might make you want to hide.


Invest in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. It can help you tune out the world and reset even if you're not listening to music. You can also wear them if you struggle to sleep in loud places or on airplanes. You’ll be amazed at the difference they make in turning down the volume of the world a little. 


We love our Airpod Pros, but there are plenty of other more affordable options, such as Soundcore Anker Life.


Pack a scarf or hoodie to hide under. How you feel is valid, and it’s better to find ways to help bring down your levels of stimulation than to ignore it, continue to spiral, and not want to leave the house again! Everyone around you is also focused on getting to their next destination, and nobody cares if you're tucked underneath a blanket.


Have a "Necessities" Travel Bag Already Packed

With so many other details going into planning a trip and getting out of the house, the last thing you want to do is forget your toothpaste. 


Pack a "Ready-To-Go" toiletry bag with all your necessities for every trip. Make this a completely separate stock from what you have at home. That way, you can focus your time and energy on picking what cute outfits you’ll wear out each night and not trying to remember if you packed floss or not. 


For a complete list of what we pack in our travel organizer, watch the video below or check out "Traveling Carry-On Only" (Part Two on Facebook and Instagram!)


(Bonus points if your bag has hooks that you can hang over a door for easy access and organization once you reach your next stop.)




Bring An Import Notes/Idea Book

Although your phone acts as a megabase for information, sometimes it’s hard to keep it all organized. Instead of getting swallowed in the screen every time you pull it out to make a note, consider buying a small notebook/journal to jot down your ideas, thoughts, and important information throughout your trip. That way, when your phone dies, you have your important locations, numbers, parking location, etc., all right with you. 


We use ours to jot down ideas for this blog, too ;)


Avoid Carrying Things In Your Hands

If you tend to put down your phone or keys and forget where you left them, find ways to attach important items to your bag or yourself.


Use a phone leash and attach your cell to your belt loop, fanny pack, or even around your wrist.


Get a money wallet to strap around your waist to keep track of your passport, money, and other important documents.


This will also help make sure your items aren't stolen.




Create A Travel Spending Budget

Often, when searching for quick dopamine, money management is easier said than done. Especially if you have long layovers in the airport, it can be difficult not to reward yourself with a shiny new trinket. Before beginning your trip, set aside a budget of what you are comfortable spending, not just on the trip in total, but a predefined allowance for you to spend on the way there and back.


Set money aside for snacks at the airport, or if you don't want to spend extra, remember to pack some! 


Remember Your Medication

If you do choose to medicate for your ADHD, make sure to travel with your medicine in your carry-on just in case your suitcase doesn’t arrive at your destination as quickly as you do.


Since a lot of ADHD medicine falls under the category of controlled substance, it can be taken at TSA if it doesn’t have your name on it and it’s not in its original prescription bottle. 


Prioritize Sleep And Rest

Although it’s easy to get distracted by all the glitz and glamour of a new city and lights, without a good night's sleep, you allow yourself to be more susceptible to overstimulation, brain fog, and burnout. Sleeping on the go is easier said than done, though, so find how you best rest and make it an important part of your schedule.


Schedule time for breaks, rest, and wandering into your daily itinerary. Create a structure that works for you; otherwise, you'll feel like you're on someone else's time and miss out on more important events.



Sleeping with your pillow from home is an excellent way to keep some consistency in your sleep routine. Noise-canceling headphones, eye masks, or white noise can also be helpful. For additional advice, check out "5 Ways To Help You Get Good Sleep While Traveling".






Unpack As Soon As Your Home

I know you’re exhausted coming home from a trip, but routine is important, and the faster you unpack your bags, the easier it will be for you to settle down. Take ten more minutes to throw your dirty clothes in the washer and tuck your items away before lying in bed.


 

With a little organization and better planning of your ADHD tendencies, you can make the most of all your travel adventures and leave stress behind.


Stop punishing yourself for how your brain works and instead figure out how to support yourself exactly where you are-which is a pretty cool place to be no matter where you are in the world!


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Let us know what tricks helped you most in the comments below!


Sending Love From Indiana,


Kaitlyn


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