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Travel Routine: How to Keep A Routine While Traveling

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There are 2 types of people in the travel world: those who keep a routine, and those who throw everything out the window and simply enjoy the holiday. Some find it extremely challenging to stay grounded while traveling (especially in a foreign country), while others use a routine as a way to assimilate into the local culture. Sure, sleeping in and partying all night is great (and might actually be part of the local culture if you’re in Ibiza or Vegas), but keeping a routine will invariably make your trip more enjoyable and your transition back to your lifestyle at homeless challenging. For those of you who struggle with this, here are a few tips on keeping a solid travel routine! 

  1. Set an alarm

    Force yourself to be up at a particular hour. 07:30 or 08:00 might be a bit of a challenge if you’re out drinking until 04:00, so set a wake-up time that is reasonable so it won’t get snoozed. We tend to get to bed between 23:00 and 00:00 while we are traveling and will generally get our day started by 07:00 or 08:00.

    Advantages: Aside from the obvious advantage of not sleeping away your holiday, you’ll enjoy fewer crowds, quieter streets, and more of a local perspective on a particular place than if you choose to roll out of bed at noon.

  2. Limit alcohol consumption

    Neither of us drinks alcohol, but we sure used to. We all know how hard it is to keep a routine when hungover. Enjoy the local wine/beer/liquor, but don’t overindulge if you’re looking to stay in a routine. When you don’t have to be at work the next day, it is a lot easier to just simply snooze the alarm and sleep off the hangover. Challenge yourself to match (or double) your alcohol consumption with water consumption. For every drink, have 500 ml – 1 L of water. This will mitigate a hangover as you’ll inevitably keep your body hydrated through the night.

    Advantages: 1) You’ll save a TON of money. Some of our largest travel expenses used to be bar tabs. 2) You’ll be less miserable waiting in a line in the heat to get into a museum. 3) It is incredibly less likely you’ll get arrested in a foreign country. 4) The chances of sleeping your day away are much slimmer. 

  3. Dedicate time to your mind, body, and soul

    As fitness junkees, we find it incredibly important to keep up a workout regimen while traveling. We have written before with suggestions on how to stay healthy while traveling and have outlined suggestions on doing yoga while traveling. We either use hotel gyms or find one locally while we are out of the country. We also very much like to keep up a reading schedule and dedicate an hour or more to reading each day. You don’t have to bog yourself down with an itinerary but plan an hour each day for fitness, an hour each day for your mind/soul (read, meditate, have deep conversations with locals, write about your experiences in a journal, etc.).

    Advantages: You will have much less catch-up to work to do when you return home. We are an interesting species, us humans. We are routine oriented and tend to be more efficient when we are in routines. The only problem with them is that they take a while to build upon. If you’re out of routine for some particular area of life (fitness, reading, personal development, your career), you know how hard it is to get in a groove. Tony Robbins said, “Action creates inspiration.” If you’re not feeling inspired, just do shit. The action will create inspiration and unlock ideas you didn’t know you had.

  4. Make a to-do list

    Neither of us prefers itineraries while we travel because we like to be spontaneous and live in the moment. However, there is nothing wrong with keeping a to-do list, which might be no more than a simple set of “mini-goals” for a 24-hour period. Write down what time you want to wake up, some things you hope to accomplish during the day (read for an hour, exercise for an hour, see the Duomo, walk the local streets, visit the Accademia and see the David, etc.).

    Advantages: You’ll be much more efficient during the day. Aside from ensuring your transition back to your routine at home will be easier, you’ll also see more on your trip, keep yourself in good shape, and stay up-to-date on your reading/study/writing/whatever routine. It is a lot harder to skip a task if you have it written down as a “to-do” item. It is much easier to ignore if it is simply in your head and you can justify “being on holiday” or “being too busy.” 

Keep in mind, a regimen and a routine make a lot of sense for us as we are constantly traveling. Over the last 2 years, we have visited 26 countries together and have spent 50% of our time outside the US. This makes the need for a routine that much more important. If you’re simply on a 5-day holiday, don’t feel bad if you just want to let everything go and enjoy your time. These are merely suggestions for those of you who are looking for ways to better keep a routine on the road.

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