I’m traveling across the country for business this week, and it occurred to me that the stuff I’ve learned during travel also also works great in other areas of life.

The ideal travel recipe is equal parts preparation and flexibility.

Preparing for the really common things that happen with travel (hunger, boredom, non-ideal temperatures) as well as those that don’t always happen, but are reasonably common (flight delays, weather changes, lost luggage), will serve you well. You’ll have a plan, and it’ll be clear what you need to do.

Flexibility (and also Resilience) serves you when things don’t go as you’ve planned. Like a hurricane that wasn’t expected to be near your destination when you left your hometown, but is slated to be directly over the airport when you’re supposed to go back home.

Preparation without flexibility can lead to panic and frustration when things don’t go according to plan, and flexibility without preparation can force extra accommodations & workarounds. You need both parts of the equation.

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Even though people don’t set out to be jerks, sometimes they are, so don’t take it personally.

The stress & fatigue of travel can bring out the worst in people. Even the nicest people can turn jerk-ish after a trying day of delays and invasions into their personal space. And airline and restaurant staff can have bad days, too.

How others act is not in your control, and it’s rarely personal, so the less you try to control it or take it personally, the better.

Travel gives you the opportunity to reinforce your habits or to take a break from them.

If you’re on a special diet or have an exercise regime, travel can be a bit of a challenge. It’s harder to stick with a habit away from your home, where you’ve set things up for success. The great thing is that learning how to accommodate your habit in new and different situations can be empowering, and even fun.

On the other hand, if you need a break from your normal practice, travel can give you a good, time-bound holiday from your usual routine.

Either way you go, though, make it a deliberate choice.

Some habits pay even bigger dividends when you travel, too. Good hydration, exercise, sleep, and meditation practices can all help ease the effects of travel-related stress. 

Going against the crowd can be a relief.

At Portland International, my home airport, there’s a definite rush hour. Lots of flights leave early in the morning, and there’s a ton of arrivals in the late afternoon & evening.

If you’re getting dropped off in the morning, go where most people aren’t: at the arrival level. And try getting picked up on the departure level if it’s when everyone else is waiting near baggage claim.

Even a mini-break from the crowds can be energizing, especially in the face of a long day of travel.

There’s no place like home.

And that’s a good thing! The things you see and experience when you’re traveling give you a different perspective. Sometimes, those things help reinforce why you love where you live so much, and sometimes they help you find new things to love.


What lessons have you learned from traveling? Tell us in the comments below!