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How (and Why) to Stick to Your Routines While Traveling

A woman drinking a mug of coffee in a hotel lobby.
Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

When you’re on vacation, sticking to your daily routine can be a challenge. Vacations are, indeed, the time to try new things. However, it can be helpful to stick as closely as possible to your normal routine.

The Benefits of Sticking to Your Routine

Travel is beneficial in many ways—especially when you go with an open mind and a good level of adaptability. However, it requires a lot of change, which makes it difficult to maintain your habits. The moment you leave the comfort of your home, you turn over your control to the excitement of being somewhere new. More often than not, this contributes to poor decision making. How many times have you spent half your vacation eating junk food? Do you usually complete your everyday to-do list while living it up on a tropical island or at a ski resort?

It happens to the best of us. After all, vacations should be enjoyable. It’s a chance to kick back, relax, and forget about the stress we often deal with at work or in our daily life. But that doesn’t mean we have to throw our everyday routine out the window as soon as we leave.

Routines keep us grounded and help us with time management. They can also improve our health by helping us handle stress and achieve our goals.

When you’re in a new and exciting environment, though, your perspective about your habits can change. Things like exercising, eating wholesome meals, meditating, updating your journal, or reading suddenly feel like chores.

The good news is, it doesn’t have to be that way. All it takes to maintain your healthy habits while you travel is a spoonful of organization and a drop of commitment.

How to Maintain Habits While Traveling

Minimizing the differences between your everyday life and your travel schedule is key to staying healthy, productive, and motivated to maintain your habits. The more organized you are, the easier it will be.

Every successful trip begins with a good plan. When you schedule the activities you want to do on your trip, try to carve out some time for you to engage in one of your daily rituals. For instance, if you know you’ll probably be out and about every day after 10 a.m., try to wake up a few hours earlier, so you can meditate, exercise, or do some writing before breakfast. If you already do that at home, it won’t be hard for you to stick to that habit.

To make things easier, try to stay at hotels that have gyms and are near health food stores, juice bars, or co-working spaces. It’ll save you the time of finding ways to maintain your routine after you get there.

A woman mediating on rocks by the beach at sunrise.
lassedesignen/Shutterstock

Once you plan your travel schedule, you’ll be more aware of what’s to come and better prepared for it. Be sure to pack things you use daily, like a meditation bowl, your journal, or your favorite protein powder. When you have these items with you on a trip, it makes you feel more at home and more inclined to stick with your habits.

Lastly, focus on your well-being. Prioritize the things that make you feel good and are important to you. Staying committed to your routine can give you a sense of accomplishment, but it can also make you feel frustrated or disappointed when you fail to do so.

Traveling can keep you busy, and that’s okay. Focus on a few daily habits you’d like to maintain and integrate them into your travel schedule as mini-goals. It’s a more realistic approach to staying healthy while enjoying life.

The Best Routines to Maintain

Some healthy habits are good to prioritize, even when you’re on the other side of the world. We’ve chosen the three we think are the most beneficial, but feel free to replace them with your own.

Exercise

  • Plan: Again, pick a hotel that has a gym either on the premises or within walking distance. If you prefer privacy when you work out, be sure to choose accommodations with plenty of space.
  • Prepare: Be sure to pack your workout gear and any accessories. If you won’t have access to a gym, pack a jump rope or resistance bands, or save some YouTube workout videos to do, instead.
  • Prioritize: Decide how many times you’d like to work out while you’re gone, how many videos you’d like to do per session, or how many specific exercises you’d like to do per day.

Night and Morning

  • Plan: if you’re a light sleeper, make sure your accommodation isn’t near a high-traffic area. Check online reviews for any mention of thin walls or loud noises. If you enjoy yoga at sunrise, opt for a hotel that’s near the beach or has rooftop access for guests, so you can do all your sun salutations in peace.
  • Prepare: Pack earplugs and a sleeping mask to make it easier to fall asleep. Bring some comfort items, too, like your favorite PJ’s, pillowcase, or essential oils.
  • Prioritize: It’s easy to get carried away with drinks and conversations when you’re in a new place, but sleep deprivation has no benefits. Try to stick to your bedtime routine as much as possible. Go to bed early and get as many hours of sleep as you need to be at your best. If you need some tips on how to get more shut-eye, check out our guide on how to get to bed earlier.

Eating

  • Plan: If you like to cook your meals, choose a hotel near a supermarket. If you have dietary restrictions or preferences, do your research and opt to stay somewhere near restaurants that provide options for you.
  • Prepare: Pack some of your favorite things, like protein bars, nut mixes, or tea, in case you can’t find them at your destination.
  • Prioritize: Try to have a healthy breakfast and avoid overeating at dinner. But remember, a little indulging—especially on vacation—never hurt anybody.

Sticking to your routines while you’re away doesn’t have to be arduous. If you’re realistic, and plan, prepare, and prioritize well, you can transition into vacation mode smoothly, while maintaining your healthy habits.

Carla Cometto Carla Cometto
Carla has been writing professionally for five years and blogging for many more. She's worked as a journalist, photographer, and translator. She's also an avid traveler who hopes to inspire a sense of curiosity and adventure in others through her writing. Read Full Bio »

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