Simplify Travel Planning
Before you even leave for vacation, one of the best gifts you can give your ADHD self is a simple and hassle-free planning experience. Rather than trying to sort through endless options for hotels, flights, car rentals, and trip activities online, you can have a travel agent put together a complete, fully customized itinerary for you and handle all the bookings. Plus, most agents offer a 24-hour emergency helpline in case any issues pop up during your travels.
As an alternative, consider booking a vacation package that minimizes the number of things you need to plan. For example, an all-inclusive resort can be a great option for ADHD travelers because it limits the number of decisions and details you need to manage during your trip. Once you arrive at your resort, you don't have to worry about finding restaurants, bars, or activities because it's all provided onsite. Plus, the all-inclusive aspect eliminates budgeting stress since you've already paid for these amenities when you booked. And if you get bored, there are a number of excursions which can be arranged right on the spot.
Schedule in Breaks
It's tempting to schedule yourself for lots of excursions or sight-seeing opportunities when you travel somewhere new. But remember that you may feel exhausted by back-to-back activities on your trip, especially if they require sustained focus for long periods of time.
For example, you might be thrilled to go on a guided tour of a museum, but after following along for a couple hours, your brain may need a break before heading off to the next activity. Schedule some time where you can do something relaxing to help calm your mind, like going for a walk, journaling in your hotel room, or going to a nearby park to do some deep breathing exercises.
Stick to a Routine
Having a routine at home is immensely helpful for many people with ADHD. Unfortunately, most of your routine will get thrown out the window when you're on vacation. However, the good news is that you can set up some simple routines at your destination to help avoid disorganization and minimize mental stress.
Here are a few ideas for creating a routine while traveling with ADHD:
- Choose a place in your luggage where you'll keep important items, like travel documents, tickets, and hotel room keys. This will make it less likely to misplace or lose any important travel document or luggage . A checklist next to the designated spot is essential to ensure everything is accounted for.
- Maintain consistent times for going to bed and waking up in the morning. This is especially important since people with ADHD tend to struggle with sleep, and lack of sleep can worsen your ADHD symptoms.
- Go to the same place for breakfast every morning so you can start your day off with something reliable and predictable. This could be the free hotel breakfast, a Starbucks on the corner, or a nearby café.
- Exercise regularly while you're on vacation. The boost of dopamine and norepinephrine that you get from being physically active can help to boost focus and attention and relieve symptoms related to hyperactivity and impulsivity.
Make Sure You Have Your Meds
If you take ADHD medication, it's critical to make sure you bring yours along on the trip to help manage your symptoms. When traveling by air, it's recommended to keep your medication in its original prescription bottle with the label from the pharmacy. This can be helpful just in case any questions come up in the security line at the airport. Make sure you have enough to last the entire trip, and keep it in a secure location at all times. And if for some reason you forget your meds, call your doctor to ask if you can have the prescription filled at a local pharmacy during your vacation.
For international travel, you may need to take some extra precautions. Many ADHD meds are stimulants, which are controlled substances. The laws for these medications can vary from one country to the next, and you may need to take this into account when traveling. ADHD prescriptions may actually be considered illegal in certain places outside the U.S. Fortunately, most countries will permit you to bring your prescription with you as long as you have the right documentation.
To find out whether you need to get documentation for your ADHD medications, and what types of documents are needed, start by checking the State Department’s Your Health Abroad website. In addition, you should contact the U.S. embassy in the country you plan to visit. You can also talk to your doctor about alternative medication options if you're nervous about traveling with ADHD stimulants.