Traveling is a challenge if you’re an ADHD adult. But it doesn’t have to be. These tips from top ADHD coaches will make your trip a pleasure, not a pain…
In ADDLand, we plan where we’re going, when we’re going, and then we stop and say “not now,” (those famous ADHD words!) simply because it’s too overwhelming to plan more. Too often, we only think about packing and where we’re going when we think of traveling, but many of us forget about all the details needing attention before a trip.
Make a note of these tips on your phone, laptop, notebook, voice recorder, what ever you use and get ready for some simple but life saving tricks!
10 Important Travel Tips for ADHD Adults
1. Start research months before your trip.(one thing I love to do)
Research the places you’ll want to visit while you’re there, gather as many details as possible for example: find out when each place is open, and how to get there from your hotel.
As you find information or make decisions, write it in one document. When planning is complete, e-mail it to yourself, so you can access it on your smart phone or tablet (wherever you are taking with you).
2.Check your travel documents. (one I always forget)
If you’re traveling abroad, make sure your passport isn’t about to expire. Check it at least 3 months before any scheduled trip to allow time for renewal. An expired passport can ruin your whole trip. Leave around 2 months for a new passport to be derived.
Need a visa? Start the process early. Wait times for visas vary widely, depending on the country you plan to visit and whether you’re applying during peak travel season.
The process is easier if you’re driving to your destination. Still, don’t wait until the last minute. Get the maps and directions you’ll need about a week before you leave.
3.Create a master list.(one I never do, but would make life so much easier)
A master travel checklist is a must-have organisational tool.
Fill it out and keep it in your suitcase if you travel a lot, adding and subtracting things as needed. This reduces stress because it keeps you from forgetting things. List necessary clothing and toiletries, as well as last-minute details. Don’t forget to add:
- Boarding passes
- A second photo ID
- Hotel confirmation
- Brochures about your destination
Start list-making and packing early to avoid stress. You don’t want to run out to buy toothpaste or a swimsuit, copy business papers or fill a prescription just before your departure.
4. Make backup copies of critical travel documents.(To be honest I always have this electrical these days, which helps a bit)
Keep all confirmation numbers, passport, boarding passes and hotel reservations in your carry-on bag, purse or briefcase. In case you misplace the originals, put a copy of each document into your checked luggage as well.
Another way to keep from losing anything important is to take pictures of everything and keep them all on a flash drive or a ‘cloud-based’ location. Even if something happens to your computer or smartphone, you can access essential travel documents – and proof of your identity – from nearly any computer in the world.
5.Prepare backup plans.(something I never do but should)
Be prepared if your plans don’t pan out. ADHD adults don’t do well with sudden changes, so it’ll be less stressful if you’re prepared to alter your plans. For example, have a backup plan or two in case a storm hits your beach spot.
Stuck indoors? Have on hand crossword puzzles, a book to read or a list of nearby museums, nightclubs or restaurants you’d enjoy.
This links back to point one about researching. I tend to plan way too much to do on a trip and a mixture of indoor and outdoor so that I have a range of options no matter what the weather or any other changing circumstances.
6.Decide what to wear and pack.(I think about this one too much)
Determine what clothes you’ll need at least 5-6 days ahead. If you get them all out of your closets and drawers so you can see if something needs to be cleaned, mended or replaced. If you need to shop, you’ll have time before you leave on your trip.
7.Leave extra time to get to your flight. (due to my fear of being late- links to my youth- I always do that)
Traveling by plane? Then leave for the airport about an hour earlier than you think you need to.
You have no idea how long that security line will be or if an accident on the highway slows up traffic along the way, and it’s better to be early than late and miss your flight.
At the airport, check your bags and head straight for the security line, without stopping in stores or snack spots.
Wear comfortable walking shoes to the airport, because it’s often a long walk from check-in to boarding, and delays will happen.
8.Keep yourself entertained during waits.(this is why my travel bag and coat is so heavy)
Boredom is not an ADHDer’s friend. You need something to do while you’re waiting.
- Play your favourite games on your smart phone
- Solve puzzles, for example, Sudoku, in crossword books or on a portable electronic device
- Download movies to watch on your tablet computer, smart phone or laptop
- Do work on your laptop
Or just observe: After you check in, walking around the terminal or just watching people can be fun.
9.Book a quiet hotel room.(this is a god send)
Noise – especially unfamiliar sounds – stresses many ADHD adults.
So when making hotel reservations, ask for a room far away from exits or entrances, vending and ice machines, the gym, pool or any other noisy spot.
It’s hard enough for some people to get a good night’s rest when they’re in a strange bed. Don’t add any unnecessary noise to the mix.
10.Schedule time to re-enter your life.(something I need to do more)
If you’re going on vacation for a week or more, don’t arrive home the day before you have to be at work.
People with ADHD need more transition time than that. Leave plenty of time to unpack, do some laundry, go through your mail, have a good meal and get a couple of good nights in your own bed.
With at least 2 days before returning to work, you’ll be all set to re-enter your work life, feeling as if you’ve had a wonderful time, instead of feeling rushed and stressed.