Travel Hack #1: Schedule in Breaks on Your Trip
Whenever possible, try to plan your travel so that you'll have some breaks along the way. A road trip is a great option for this since you're in complete control of the schedule. You can choose when you leave and stop any time you need to get out of the car and stretch your legs.
Air travel is a little tougher. It can get you to your destination sooner, but you never know when a delay could have you stuck in the airport or on the plane for hours. One tip is to break up longer flights by choosing a route with a layover.
For example, rather than taking a seven-hour direct flight, you could choose a route which makes a connection about four hours into the trip, giving you a two-hour layover at another airport. The opportunity to get off the plane, walk around, and grab a bite to eat can be helpful for people with ADHD who tend to feel especially restless when they have to sit still for long periods of time. The slightly longer travel time may be worth it if it allows you to feel less exhausted and anxious upon arrival at your destination.
Travel Hack #2: Speed Through Security
Speaking of air travel, if you find the security lines to be stressful, consider signing up to get approved for TSA PreCheck. Most passengers with PreCheck wait less than five minutes to go through security. Remembering all the rules about the security line is much less taxing with PreCheck as well. You don't need to remove your shoes, belt, liquids, laptop, or light jacket when you have this perk.
If you're an international traveler, you may also want to sign up to get approved for Global Entry. This U.S. Customs and Border Protection program makes it much easier to go through customs upon your arrival in the United States, so you'll be on your way faster and spend less time waiting in line.
Travel Hack #3: Keep Your Medications with You
Your ADHD medications are one of your best tools in managing your symptoms while you travel. That's why you should prioritize having these meds available at all times. It could throw a serious wrench in your plans if you were to lose your medications during a vacation or business trip, so keeping tabs on them is essential.
If you're traveling by air, always keep your medications in your personal item that you plan to bring on the plane. While stashing them in your carry-on luggage may seem safe, don't forget that the airline staff could potentially have you check a carry-on bag at boarding if the overhead bins fill up before all the passengers get on the plane. If the bag doesn't arrive at the destination airport when you do, you may have to wait hours or days to get your medications. Furthermore, you should keep your ADHD medication in the original labeled bottle from the pharmacy just in case you're questioned about them as you go through security.
Travel Hack #4: Block Out Distractions
Traveling can be overstimulating, especially if you’re neurodivergent. With ADHD, you might find the constant distractions to be exhausting. It's especially important to minimize distractions when you need to get some sleep, which is something that many people with ADHD struggle with.
Use these tips and tricks to block out travel distractions so you can make the most of your trip:
- Use earplugs or noise-canceling headphones on planes or on road trips (as long as you're not the driver, of course). You'll be able to feel more rested when you arrive at your destination if your brain isn't constantly trying to filter out noisy distractions.
- Bring an eye mask if you want to get some sleep. This can be useful in the car, on a plane, and in your hotel room.
- Queue up some podcasts or playlists if you're driving on a road trip. Staying alert is essential when driving long distances. Choose podcasts or music that will help you maintain focus, like interesting short stories or soothing classical music.
- Wear comfortable clothes. If you feel like the clothes you're wearing are too tight or scratchy, it'll just distract you even more.
- Bring fidget tools which you can use to release some excess energy when you have to stay seated in a car, train, or plane. Another option is chewing gum, which also allows for some form of movement when you feel fidgety.