For many of us, travel is one of the most cherished activities we can do. It allows us to explore new places, meet new people, and learn about other cultures. However, for those of us who are highly sensitive persons (HSPs), travel can be a bit more challenging. HSPs are neurologically different than the majority of the population, and as a result, they process information differently. This can make traveling feel overwhelming at times. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips for traveling as an HSP and how to make your trip a more enjoyable experience.
First of all, what is a highly sensitive person? HSPs are individuals who process information more deeply than the average person. They may be more easily overwhelmed by sensory input, emotions, and social interactions. For many HSPs, simply being in a new environment can feel overwhelming. This is because they take in so much information from their surroundings—more than the average person.
So how can you travel as an HSP and make it a more enjoyable experience? Here are some tips:
One of the best ways to manage your anxiety while traveling is to plan ahead as much as possible. Know what you’re going to do when you get there and have a general idea of where you’re going to stay and what attractions you want to visit. This will help reduce the amount of unknowns and uncertainty that can cause anxiety.
Make a List
When you’re packing for your trip, make a list of everything you need to bring with you. This will help ensure that you don’t forget anything important and that you have everything you need.
Try to pack light when traveling. This will help reduce the amount of stress associated with carrying cumbersome luggage around.
Have Portable Safety Items on Hand
If you’re traveling to a new country, it’s important to have safety items like a personal alarm and pepper spray on hand just in case. There are also portable door locks that we can’t recommend enough.
Click here to learn more about our must have personal safety items.
Create an Itinerary
Having an itinerary can help reduce the amount of stress associated with travel. It will give you a roadmap for your trip and ensure that you don’t miss any important landmarks or attractions. If you want the best of both worlds, you can keep a loose itinerary with alternating days of activities and free time, so you can have time to come down and process.
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Prepare with Soothing Items
If possible, pack some soothing items like noise-cancelling headphones or download a meditation app.
Create a Travel Journal
A great way to manage your sensory overload while traveling is to keep a travel journal. This can be a place where you document your experiences, thoughts, and feelings about your trip. It can also be helpful to track your progress as you work through any challenges that come up during your travels.
When you’re out and about exploring a new city or country, it can be easy to try to see everything. However, this is often not possible or realistic. Instead, try to take breaks throughout the day so that you can recharge your batteries. This will help you stay energized and enjoy your trip more.
Seek Out Quiet Spaces
If you need some time to yourself, seek out quiet spaces where you can relax and rejuvenate. This could be a park, a garden, or even just a quiet corner of a museum or library.
Connect with Others
One of the best things about travel is that it provides opportunities to connect with people from all over the world. Sign up for local cooking classes or customizable tours. This gives you a safe experience in parameters that you set for yourself.
Have a Backup Plan
Sometimes things don’t go as planned while traveling. If something comes up and you need to change your plans, have a backup plan in place. This could mean having a list of alternative activities or places to stay if your original arrangements fall through. Make sure you have a copy of your passport, and a list of important phone numbers and addresses like your hotel, the local embassy, and medical info (coded if needed) in a separate place from your wallet.
If you take medication, make sure you have an extra supply. We also recommend having a trusted friend or family member that can overnight your prescription should you not be able to refill it in your destination country.
This may seem to contradict everything preceding, but hear us out. Travel, like life, is full of surprises. Setting proper expectations will help reduce anxiety and stress should a problem arise. Lost your passport? That’s okay, you wrote down how to get in touch with the local embassy. Flight cancelled? No problem, you have a list of places to stay.
As a highly sensitive person, neurodiversity can sometimes make travel feel like a daunting task. However, by following these tips, you can make your journey more enjoyable and less stressful. Happy travels!
What do you do for yourself while traveling to keep from getting overwhelmed? Let us know in the comments!
As a HSP I really appreciated this article. Thank you!!
Have a backup plan is a good idea
Ooh, this is me. Some good advice I can follow.
This is great info for traveling with my husband! We unfortunately both have sensory processing disorder, but in opposite ways. I’m a sensory seeker and he’s a sensory avoider, it’s easy for me to overwhelm him on vacation because I gravitate towards the loud, busy, and shiny places. I need to keep these tips in mind to better support him.
Never knew about this but it makes sense, good tips even for people who are not hap.
thanks for the tips!
I do all of these things!
Thank you! My anxiety is increased while traveling. My favorite tip is to make a list; as I am a big list maker and would make me feel more at ease and organized.
Awesome information 🙂
Thanks for the info!
The information in this article is great if you are a HSP.
Good information for anyone
Thanks for the information
Thank you for the information!