Travel-Friendly Ways to Practice Self Care on the Road

I don’t know about you, but it’s taken me a few years to get in the groove of practicing my self-care routine while traveling! When I’m at my home base, it’s so easy to be diligent about my morning rituals, self-care practices, healthy eating, and exercise. But the minute I travel back to East Africa for work with my non-profit, everything seems to fly right out the window! In the past, I would make excuses for myself to skip these practices - like I have to eat what the locals eat, the weather is too hot to do yoga, or I don’t have extra room in my suitcase to bring my clean beauty supplies, vitamins, or wide-brim hat.

But now that I’m wiser, have gone through burn out during travel, and am on the other side, I truly recognize the importance of self care even when traveling. Because no matter if you are on vacation or on a work trip, it is key to keep our bodies and minds in balance when our environment is shifting. I’ve found a few ways to help stay on track even when my regular routine gets disrupted:

Drink lots of water before, during, and after your trip.

This seems obvious and so simple, but it makes a world of difference. Did you know that hydration from water consumption is not immediate? So if you drink the recommended daily amount today, you can still be dehydrated if you didn’t get enough water yesterday! A couple days before embarking on a trip, I make sure to drink plenty (at least 3 liters) of water. I also love to drink cold pressed juices from  Urban Remedy and  Pressed Juicery before traveling. T he ones filled with greens are some of my favorites, and give me an extra boost of vitamins and energy before starting my journey - not to mention help prevent catching a cold on the plane.

During your plane ride, bring a reusable bottle so you don’t need to keep refilling plastic cups ( BKR and  Yuhme are my faves). One of the first things I do when I land in a country is go to the market and stock up on water and hydrating food, like fresh fruits and veggies. T o avoid jet lag when I return home, I drink plenty of water, take a pressed juice shot, and head to my favorite health food store to stock up on greens and protein.


Don’t leave your travel essentials  at home.

Before overpacking, make sure to bring the things you need to stay healthy and happy. This includes hats, a natural sunscreen (I use one from  Juice Beauty) , clothing that makes you feel like you, and your skincare products. I love to bring a scented candle and essential oils for an extra pick me up, a neck pillow for the long flight, my favorite books, a journal, and my yoga mat. Lately, I’ve also been making it a priority to bring vitamins and basic medicines in case I need them.

Sometimes when traveling, food isn’t readily available, or it may not be “healthy” or to your liking. I’ve learned to pack some of my favorite healthy snacks to stay nourished along the way. I’m a big fan of  Justin’s almond butter squeeze packs, granola bars, dried fruit, green smoothie powder mixes, and naturally cured turkey jerky.

Create a non-negotiable morning routine .

Keeping up with my morning routine when traveling is an ongoing struggle. Because I know this about myself, I now really make an effort to carve out this time for myself while away. Even if your schedule is dependent on other factors and people, try to make whatever time for yourself you need. If you know that your travel buddies get up and cook breakfast at a certain time, wake up beforehand to incorporate your exercise routine, meditation, writing, or any other grounding activity you do to make you, you!

Having all your necessary “tools” like a journal, yoga mat, or meditation app, like  Headspace,  downloaded on your phone makes practicing your morning routine much more accessible. Prioritizing your ritual will also mean creating some boundaries and saying “no” sometimes. If you would rather have a relaxing start to some days, skip going on the early visit into town. Stay true to your desires so that your day gets off to a good start!

Learning to maintain a routine of self-care while traveling is a challenge I deal with every time I head to the airport. But now that I have these tools in place, I’m better able to practice some of my grounding, healthy rituals that keep me at my best self - and really, that’s what helps make an adventure away the most life-giving.

Photos by: Valerie Moreno

Elisabetta Colabianchi BIO

Elisabetta Colabianchi

Elisabetta is the founder of Kurandza, a non-profit that empowers women and girls in eastern Africa and around the world. She is also a social impact consultant and works with purpose-driven women who want to start or grow their non-profit or social enterprise initiatives. Elisabetta speaks 5 languages and enjoys traveling the world when she’s not at home in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves making new friends, so come say hi to her on Instagram!