Traveling is supposed to be fun, so why do you feel angry or on the verge of tears? There are a lot of mistakes travelers make while away from home that can lead to feelings of stress, anxiety, or unhappiness. Here are five things you might be doing that can unintentionally ruin your trip.
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Letting Yourself Get Hungry
The phenomenon of becoming so hungry you get angry is common enough that there’s a term for it—feeling ”hangry”. When traveling, your normal diet and meal schedule usually gets disrupted, which can cause you to become hungry and unhappy fairly quickly.
When you don’t eat frequently enough, your blood sugar can get low and trigger a spike in hormones (including the stress hormones cortisol and adrenaline), which can cause an emotional response.
Although it’s tempting to indulge in big, unhealthy meals when traveling, you’ll be better off if you can stick to regular small and healthy meals throughout the day. If that’s not possible, keep some snacks handy—or recognize the hanger symptoms and use them as an excuse to check out a local grocery story or cafe for a quick refueling stop.
Wearing Uncomfortable Clothing/Shoes
Your outfit choice can have more of an impact on your mood than you can imagine. Certain colors can do everything from lower your anxiety to give you energy, so pack your power colors when picking your travel wardrobe.
A good travel outfit is one you don’t have to think about throughout the day (unless it’s “Wow, I look good.”) Whereas an uncomfortable outfit will be constantly on your mind, dominating your thoughts with how much your feet hurt or how you can’t wait to get back to your hotel to take off a tight-fitting pair of pants.
Dress in comfortable, moisture-wicking fabrics that allow you to move around with ease—and bring a pair of shoes or boots that you could walk an entire day in without feeling pain.
Becoming Sleep Deprived
Between jet lag, unfamiliar hotel rooms, and a busy schedule, sleep deprivation can seem almost inevitable while on vacation. A lack of quality sleep can lead to cravings for unhealthy food (contributing to the “hangry” feeling mentioned above), irritability, anxiety, and even memory loss.
To combat sleep deprivation while traveling, follow these tips:
- Try to get and stay on local time as soon as possible
- Get exercise
- Expose yourself to sunlight during the day
- Wear a light-blocking eye mask and earplugs to sleep
- Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed
- Take sleep-boosting supplements like magnesium or melatonin (but always consult your doctor before trying anything new)
A pounding headache is an unwanted travel companion, but it’s a very common side effect of dehydration. Dehydration is a frequent ailment for travelers—the combination of dry airplane air, salty foods and extra movement can quickly lead to problems.
Fortunately, the solution is a simple one—carry a water bottle and drink frequently to combat dehydration. A filtered water bottle is easy to pack and will save you from having to buy lots of plastic water bottles in destinations where the water is unsafe to drink.
A good amount of spontaneity is a welcome aspect of traveling, and can lead you to discover unexpected delights in new destinations. However, not planning well—by failing to budget your money or time correctly—can leave you feeling anxious and stressed throughout your trip.
If you’re always running late or dealing with the fallout from missing a plane or train, you’re not going to be in a good mood. Likewise if you’re spending your whole trip stressing about what you can and can’t afford.
Make sure you plan out the important details (like accommodation, money, and transportation) so that you can relax and focus on the fun elements when you’re actually on your trip.
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