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  • Writer's pictureAviva Nirenberg

ADHD Friendly Travel Hacks for an Amazing Vacation

Just thinking about a vacation is exciting – a break from the demands of work, a chance to get away from home, explore a new locale, pack in some fun or adventure, or just plain old relaxation. However, with ADHD as part of the equation, vacation logistics can be overwhelming and occasionally not even worth the stress and hassle. Planning a trip requires a host of skills that challenge the typical ADHD brain - planning, organization, sustained focus and attention to detail, and budgeting to name a few. In addition, vacation can also wreak havoc on the regular schedule, structures, and strategies that you rely on. Does this mean that we should completely avoid vacation? Definitely not, with a few ADHD friendly travel hacks you can still plan and enjoy an awesome vacation.

Before the trip

Delegate the planning - Focus on your strengths and delegate the travel arrangements. One option is to select an all-inclusive tour. That way all the travel arrangements transportation, hotels, meals, even attractions are prearranged. All you need to do is show up. Another possibility is to enlist the services of a travel agent who can customize the trip to your needs and interests while saving you the headache of the logistics. If your partner or travel companion excels in

Decide on a budget. First, decide how much you can afford to spend. Make a list of possible expenses and how you will pay for them. Don’t forget to include travel, car rental, hotel, tours, attractions, and meals, and souvenirs. Once you decide how much everything will cost, add a buffer to be safe. This is why all-inclusive vacations are especially ADHD friendly. Because even if you run out of money, at least you still get to eat.

Pick a destination that's a good match for your interests. I know this may seem obvious when you're reading this, but this huge detail can be overlooked. There's nothing worse than arriving at an exotic and expensive beach locale and realizing after a day that your bored out of your mind, So, what do you enjoy doing? Whether it's mountain climbing, drinking a strawberry daiquiri poolside, museums, fine dining, safaris, urban culture, or amusement park thrill rides- select a location that meets your interests.

Tie up loose ends at home and at work Before your departure, make a list of everything that needs to be completed prior to your departure. For example, do you need a neighbor to take in your mail? If the electric or water bill isn’t paid, will your service be terminated in your absence? Will you need someone to cover for you at work? Do you need to set up an automated email or phone message that you’ll be out of the office? Stock your pantry, fridge and freezer with some nonperishable foods so you don’t need to rush to the grocery store upon your return. Taking these steps will help to avoid any unwanted surprises upon your return and will make the transition back home much easier.

Create a packing List For most ADHD folks packing ranks as one of the most dreaded activities. I have coached many clients on this topic to alleviate their packing induced overwhelm and create a packing system that you can duplicate for future travel. Allow yourself enough time to pack. By beginning to create your packing list several days before your trip, you can constantly add to your list as you remember essential items.

Create a movie in your mind of your trip. See yourself on vacation each day. What activities will you be doing? What will you need for the scuba diving expedition or what do you plan to where to that 5-star restaurant? Walk yourself through your day from wakeup until bedtime to create your list. You can also list your outfits and accessories for each day of the trip. If you’re planning any specialty tours or excursions, check out their suggested list of what to bring. Here’s a great downloadable ADHD vacation packing list to serve as your guide.

As you pack check off the items on your list. When you’re ready to return home, do the same. So, all your personal belongings return home with you.

Don’t forget your medications or travel documents! You can always buy socks or a sun hat, but your meds and travel documents aren’t easily replaceable. Put them in your carry-on bag and set yourself a phone reminder for the night before your trip as an extra safety measure.

Mark your Calendar for your departure and return dates and times. We can devote several articles to time management and avoiding missed flights, tours etc, but in brief, If you need to catch a plane, bus, train, or cruise ship, set multiple reminder alarms and budget plenty of extra time to arrive on time and avoid disappointment During Your Vacation... Plan for downtime. Even if you prefer action-packed vacations, make some room for downtime on your schedule. Chill out and listen to music, read a book, take a bath, or just sleep. Granting yourself this luxury, will give your body and your brain the chance to recharge so you can better manage your ADHD and make the most of your vacation.

Maintain a schedule. As much as possible, try to maintain a loose schedule. You may go to sleep later while on vacation but maintaining a regular sleep-wake schedule and ensuring you get enough shuteye every night will have a tremendous positive impact. Plan for regular meals and snacks. It’s okay to enjoy some cotton candy or a bag of M&Ms occasionally, after all, you’re on vacation, but remain aware of how what you eat affects you physically and emotionally.

After vacation

Consider giving yourself a full day to transition from vacation mode. No one has an easy time returning home after vacation, but transitions are especially difficult for ADHD. Now, your pre trip planning will serve you well. Hopefully you already have a meal or at least the ingredients for supper on hand. In addition, you’ll also have a day relaxed day to allot to the post vacation unpacking, laundry, errands, and to savor those beautiful vacation memories.

Have an awesome vacation!!!

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