Traveling With ADHD
Whether you're traveling to another country or state, traveling involves preparing well in advance of your trip, and this can be stressful for anyone. For someone with ADHD, this can be even more stressful, because spending lots of time preparing can cause more irritability, hyperactivity, and frustration than normal daily tasks. But it doesn't have to be.
Let's go over ten simple tips that can make traveling with ADHD more comfortable and less stressful.
1. Plan Your Trip Smart With a Master Packing List
For those with ADHD, having a travel checklist helps to get everything prepared, no matter where you're going or how long your trip will be. Making your checklist ahead of time means you can break up your preparation, customize it to your needs and avoid having to pack all on the same day.
Here's what you may want to include on your ADHD packing checklist:
- Important documents and finances. Make sure you have the essential ones: driver’s license, passport (if you're traveling internationally), credit cards, cash, health insurance, flight tickets, and emergency contact information.
- Hygiene and other bathroom/grooming items. Pack your deodorant, soap, cream, shaving cream, shampoo and conditioner, hairbrush, toothbrush, dental floss and toothpaste and other personal hygiene items.
- Be prepared for possible weather changes, such as rain and changes in temperature. Include in your luggage shirts, tees, sweaters, pants or/and shirts, shoes, underwear, pajamas, a raincoat and don’t forget accessories like a hat, watch, sunglasses, scarf, and jewelry.
- If you do plan on bringing your electronics such as a phone, laptop, or tablet. Be sure to bring the chargers that go with them.
- Health and first aid kit. This should be kept in your carry-on language if you're flying. Have all your medication, vitamins and supplements, insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer and a basic first aid kit organized in one bag.
- Other travel essentials. Consider a separate bag for a flashlight, umbrella, water bottle, travel pillow, books or magazines.
2. Make it Simple
Try to pack only what you need. This is especially important if you're flying because if you have checked luggage, you'll spend more time at the airport. You can purchase small bottles of deodorant, creams, and lotions from your local drug store to bring in your carry-on. You can buy shampoo and conditioner in one bottle, or an already packed set for dental care.
3. Avoid Unnecessary Expenses
Keep your expenses as low as possible to avoid stress related to finances. You may want to pack your favorite snacks instead of buying expensive food from the airport. And you want to avoid bank fees for cash advances from credit cards, so make sure you have enough cash to last your whole trip.
4. Make Copies of Important Documents
Are you continually misplacing things? If yes, then this one's for you! Make an extra copy of your travel checklist, your driver's license, your health insurance/health information (and your reservations if you have any.)
5. Book a Quiet Hotel Room
A lot of people with ADHD are also sensitive to noises they aren't used to. And unfortunately, hotels are full of those. The last thing you need to be while you're traveling is sleep deprived.
If you plan on staying in a hotel or something similar, ask for one that's quiet. If anything, just bring some good earplugs or a white noise machine, and you'll be catching Z's in no time.
6. Re-check Your Travel Checklist Before You Leave
If you're going to make sure you have everything packed before you travel, it only makes sense to recheck it all before you go home. Doing this will make sure you come back home with everything you initially left with.
7. Give Yourself Time to Adjust
This one applies to both children and adults who are traveling. People with ADHD often get settled into a routine, which they structure their life around. But when you go traveling for a few days or weeks, suddenly there is no more routine, or at least it changes temporarily.
The last thing you want to do is come back home on Sunday and then try to go back to your usual daily routine (including work) Monday morning. It's the same with your kids and going to school. To get around this, the best thing you can do is arrive home earlier to give yourself time to get back into the swing of things.
8. Bring a Camera (or a Smartphone)
It doesn't matter whether you have ADHD or not, you should always bring a camera when you're traveling. Think about it; this could be the last time you ever travel to that particular place again. Bring a camera, create some memories, and take pictures, so you never forget the experiences, places or people you've met!
9. Enjoy Yourself
It's not every day you get to travel, even if you're not on vacation, make the most of it. If you have ADHD, you probably are all ready to explore new places anyway. I know I do!
10. Do Free Stuff
Earlier I mentioned avoiding unnecessary expenses. There's no easier way to save money than by doing free stuff while you're traveling. Go to a park, meet the locals, and visit the local landmarks.