How to Be Mentally Healthy While Traveling

We may have just experienced what was arguably the least travel-friendly year since 2011. While these recent circumstances have been vastly different than anything we’ve previously experienced in the modern world, confusion and anxiety over personal safety have understandably kept many from exploring, working, or traveling for leisure. Prioritizing wellbeing and health during travel the past several years has become my priority as I continue working and building my business. Travel should feel like a luxury experience and a privilege, not an anxiety-fueled and sleep-deprived torture session! I’m here to help you change the negative narrative around travel!


Being the only contributing editor to The Scout Guide Huntsville who doesn’t reside in Huntsville has given me the unique ability to bring the view of a traveler to my role. I like to joke that Huntsville and I have been working on ourselves for the last 10 years (I lived in Huntsville between 1988 – 2010) and the near future may be a good time to consider revisiting our relationship!

While moving back to Huntsville is something that’s been going through my mind a lot in the last 6 months for now Huntsville is one of many destinations and stops along the way as I travel for work, pleasure, and exploration. Because much of my work as a lifestyle content curator revolves around traveling it’s something I’ve learned to integrate into my monthly schedule in a way that doesn’t completely derail my productivity.

To maintain optimal wellness, while also ensuring I enjoy my travel time and arrive at my destination ready to take on a new city, I focus on the following four aspects of mental and physical health:



This is possibly the most important aspect of any travel experience for me because sleep is the one thing I cannot compromise on. I know my body and what it is and is not capable of and I don’t believe in pushing myself to the point of exhaustion. It’s unsafe, especially when I’m traveling alone, and safety is extremely important when traveling for long periods of time. I would rather skip eating than skipping out on quality sleep.

If you’re trying to balance everything and having trouble integrating your regular schedule into a hectic travel situation choose at least one thing to be inflexible on and give yourself grace with the rest.



I’m all for adventure and leisure during a trip, but maintaining structure and making sure the “musts” are being taken care of allows me more flexibility and relaxation time. Even if it’s a loose schedule I create checklists and timetables for myself, as well as keep everyone who may be affected or need to know where I’ll be at what time, in the loop. If plans change I make it a priority to immediately touch base with family, friends, or team members to make sure we are on a timeline that feels efficient as well as enjoyable. Nothing ruins a trip faster than poor planning and communication as well as the inability to be flexible or willing to switch up plans when need be. Don’t be afraid to create boundaries and adhere to them when it comes to protecting your energy.

Since I take a lot of road trips I like to plan my route with frequent stops to break up the trip and help the task of driving go by faster. There’s something about having short term goals to complete (such as hourly breaks) that keep me motivated.



Besides sleep making time for movement is what keeps me healthy during travel. After sitting in a car or plane for a long period of time your body craves exercise. Make exercising fun on a trip by using it as an opportunity to explore the city you’re visiting. Book hotels near local parks or hiking trails, try to walk when possible (I like to schedule meetings at coffee shops that are within walking distance of my hotel), utilize the hotel gym, do jumping jacks, stretches, and yoga in your hotel room. Even if you just have 15 minutes before you start your day, right after waking up, and 15 minutes before you get in the shower, that movement will give you a much-needed endorphin boost that can improve the immune system, digestion, and sleep.

Mental & Physical Intake

Travel snacking is a real temptation because for some reason it almost feels like those calories “don’t count” or somehow “don’t exist” once you’re on the road, but what you eat matters, even more, when you’re engaging in an activity outside your body’s regular routine. A long-haul trip or travel day should be fueled with protein, a healthy amount of fiber, and vitamin C to fortify your immune system. Vacations and trips are a wonderful opportunity to try new foods, but wrecking your eating routine may not always be worth it in the long run. I find that eating certain foods disrupt my sleep and mood so I have to ask myself is the short-term pleasure worth the long-term effects. A lot of the time it is! I love trying new things. But sometimes it’s not, and rewriting the false FOMO narrative may be the way to go.


Just like physical intake, mental intake can set you up for success or burnout. I find that listening to uplifting podcasts and music reduces stress. Transversely, I make sure to stay away from media that’s could possibly heighten anxiety. Listening to murder podcasts while driving in the dark along a lonely highway can very quickly drain your mental energy because your brain doesn’t know the difference between simply hearing a story about a horrifying event, vs. actually having it happen to yourself. Your body’s cortisol levels increase when the fight or flight mode is activated and this can cause blurred vision, headaches, exhaustion, and hallucination—All things you do not need to experience while trying to drive! As tempting as it may be, save the scary stuff for when you’re in a safe environment and choose energy-boosting content to consume instead! Your brain and body will thank you!


While planning your next trip check out The Scout Guide for a list of cities with Guides so you can enjoy your experience like a seasoned local! Click HERE to get a copy of Vol. 3 of The Scout Guide Huntsville.

Securing the expertise of a travel agency such as the respected luxury service, Windham Travel & Leisure, can take the stress and overwhelm of planning a trip off your to-do list. They can take care of coordinating anything from river cruises to culinary-themed adventures using a curated database of accommodations and experiences from all over the world.

A huge thank you to Lexus of Huntsville, one of our Scouted businesses from Vol. 3, for lending me a beautiful Lexus GX SUV to use for this photoshoot! Driving this vehicle feels like a luxury vacation all on its own, and after enjoying all the features and spacious interior I can confidently give it my stamp of approval for long (or short!) road trips! What do y’all think about that amazing tan interior and gorgeous sunroof?

What are your road trip and travel tips? Share your best travel stories in the comments below or with me on Instagram!

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Photos by Rachel Kennedy, The Kennedy Curate

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