Ever feel like your trip is more stressful than fulfilling? This post is for people who let the excitement of travel eclipse their health and well-being.

In light of my Study Abroad series , I’ve compiled 7 signs to watch out for when you’re traveling, to make sure your trip isn’t becoming a chore.

If you’re like me, then you live to travel. Something inside you yearns to see the world; a voice or a calling. And to answer such a calling you will let nothing stand in your way of following your dreams. To that I say, “Good for you!! Renew your passport, update your Facebook status and hit the road!”

But for many of us I fear the call of adventure and the promise of new horizons can force one to stress over trying to do it all. In turn, this stress may blind one to the most basic of priorities; taking care of yourself.

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Health and happiness should always come first. Period. But what if you are constantly worried about spending too much money and it’s ruining your vacation? Or maybe you feel pressured to “enjoy” yourself and have the perfect trip? We have all been taught that holidays and vacations come around so seldom that we must have fun and enjoy ourselves at all cost, cause who knows when we’ll get the chance again. If you’re sightseeing, you *have* to do every museum, architectural wonder and top restaurant. If you’re sitting on a beach, you *have* to do as little as possible while ordering Mai Tai’s and guarding your cheesy fries from ornery sea gulls. This is what we do.

And in trying to live up to impossible, unrealistic expectations of how your trip *should* be, you forget you own well-being. And it shouldn’t be this way. So here are 7 signs that you’re forgetting to take care of yourself for the sake of the “perfect” trip.

  1. Stress and anxiety increases. The pressure to make every moment memorable and not waste a single second can be daunting. Watch your breathing and check in with your body. Do you feel panicked and rushed? Or calm and relaxed? Your trip should be enjoyable. Challenging? Yes. But filled with constant struggle and barriers? No.
  2. Poor mood. This is your vacation, holiday or trip abroad. Don’t let travel stress ruin your trip. Focus on why you came here. Remember that beautiful image you had in your mind before you left. Relax and enjoy your time.
  3. You’re exhausted. What is the point of two weeks in Rome if you never take the time to absorb the energy around as you go? It’s important to balance rest with your daily activities.
  4. Forgetting to live in the moment. Often people spend so much time researching, planning and booking a trip, that when you’re finally there, your worry over every little detail has become too prominent in your mind. So much so that you don’t notice or appreciate the moment. Remember to let go of your brain’s “Planning mode” and enjoy the ride.
  5. You’re Starving! If you’re like me and are sensitive to subtle energy too, then your body uses food as comfort from the overwhelming noise and movement from your new environment. Stop and take a moment to center yourself and calm your thoughts. With a relaxed state of mind, your insatiable appetite will subside back to normal. Also, don’t get so busy you forget to eat all day… that’s just crazy.
  6. Injury or illness. How many of you have developed colds while traveling? Germs and bacteria from fellow travelers are concerns, it’s true, but so too is stress and anxiety. Mental and emotional stressors weaken the immune system making you more vulnerable to illness. When traveling, it’s so important to keep your immune system strong by letting go of anxiety, eating right and getting plenty of rest. Also watch for uncharacteristic clumsiness. Your mind may be too heavily focused on your trip and forgetting to watch your surroundings. Get your head in the game!
  7. Start making mistakes. The pressure from having the perfect trip can make you stressed, exhausted, hungry or even sick. When you’re not feeling your best and not thinking clearly, you can make mistakes like forgetting to make a hotel reservation or worse, showing up for the wrong flight! Take care of yourself first and you’ll be less inclined to mess up travel details.

Bonus tip: On the other end of the spectrum, you’re sitting on a beach trying to relax, and you feel both pressured to sit and do nothing (because that’s what you think you’re supposed to do), *and* your body feels anxious? Listen to your body, get up and get moving! This is YOUR trip, do what you feel like, not what’s expected of you.

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So if you’re feeling like any of this relates to you, stop. Take a deep breath and remember you travel because it’s your passion. Don’t let it become a chore. Find that line between living every moment to its fullest and taking time to sit back and absorb the experience. Take care of yourself.

The theme here is, don’t try so hard to live up to the perfect trip. There is no such thing. All that exists is your version of the story. And those memories are why we travel in the first place.

Did you find this helpful? Can you relate to any of these signs? Comment below!

 

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