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The HSP Traveler's Guide: 9 Travel Tips for Highly Sensitive People

Couple taking selfie from Santorini, Greece
View from the Oia Castle in Santorini, Greece

Do you find it challenging to travel as an HSP?

While as HSPs we tend to appreciate new cultures, beautiful places and of course vacation from work, traveling can be hard on us. The unfamiliar environments, busy schedules, lack of alone time, potential for overstimulation, and disruption in routine can make staying balanced while traveling a challenge.

I have a passion for travel, so I have learned a lot over the years about how to make travel less stressful as an HSP. I studied abroad in college in both the Gold Coast of Australia as well as in Barcelona, Spain and in our twenties, my husband and I did a great deal of traveling abroad for his work. The last many years we haven't traveled as much due to job changes, my health challenges, and of course covid, but we are currently on a wonderful Europe trip. We have spent the last two weeks in Greece and are now heading to Italy for one of my husband’s dear friends Weddings.

I have put together some of my best HSP travel tips. If you have a trip coming up, make sure to take advantage of these tips or save this post for your next trip!

9 Travel Tips for Highly Sensitive People:

1) Plan and research ahead of time

Being well-prepared can help reduce stress and anxiety. Research your destination thoroughly, including accommodations, transportation options, activities, and local customs. Being well prepared can help provide a sense of security very helpful to the sensitive HSP nervous system. My husband loves to use reddit for travel advice and my favorite is to use Youtube. I find watching a video about a new area helps me feel more comfortable about it upon arrival and I love knowing what to expect, as well as getting good tips for activities and places to eat. We keep a google sheet of our itinerary which helps hold the space for our ideas and plans. We also use a google sheet for a packing list and make sure all items are checked off before leaving for the trip. I save the list for future trips (and edit it accordingly) and it makes packing much easier for us.

2) Pack comfort items

Bring familiar and comforting items from home, such as a favorite blanket, pillow, or relaxation tool. These can help create a sense of familiarity and relaxation in unfamiliar surroundings. I always travel with multiple comfort items, such as my favorite calming essential oil (Parasympathetic by Vibrant Blue Oils), my Gua Sha and my acupressure mat. I also usually bring a travel yoga mat, although it was the one thing I forgot on this trip. Luckily, forgetting my mat gave me the idea to record some classes that you don’t need a mat for. Check out my 15-minute Mat-Free gentle yoga class from Naxos, Greece, and my 25-minute Practice Anywhere (Mat-Free) slow flow yoga class from Santorini, Greece.

3) Choose your travel companions wisely

Traveling with understanding and supportive individuals can make a significant difference in the entire experience of your trip. Surround yourself with people who respect your sensitivity and are willing to accommodate your needs.

If at all possible, avoid traveling with someone who will not respect who you are as a highly sensitive person. If you do have to travel with this kind of person, create some space for each of you to do different activities and try not to feel obligated to just go along with their plans. Explain your expectations of what you need for your trip ahead of time. This will make it easier for you to speak up for yourself in the moment.

4) Create a schedule that works for your sensitivity, not against it

Plan your days to include downtime and avoid over scheduling yourself. It can be easy to get caught up in thinking you need to do and see as much as possible. Don’t let FOMO overwhelm you. Doing more while feeling drained or stressed won’t make for a more enjoyable experience. I have learned that lesson many times. Even the most wonderful experience is only wonderful if you are feeling well. Incorporate time into your travel itinerary to rest and relax. Find quiet spaces where you can retreat and recharge when necessary. Listen to your body and appreciate all you can do, rather than focusing on what you might miss.

5) Avoid sensory overload

As highly sensitive people, we may become overwhelmed by crowded or noisy places. Plan your visits to popular tourist attractions during off-peak hours or consider alternative, quieter locations to explore. When we see a big crowd, my husband and I tend head in the opposite direction. Being comfortable is generally more important to us than anything we might see in a giant crowd. We just had this experience when trying to watch the sunset by the Oia Castle in Santorini. We felt packed in like sardines and decided that we would rather start heading home and avoid the crowd and we were so glad we did.

6) Always have food and water with you

Always make sure you have water and snacks with you and plan ahead for meals when possible. Having snacks and water on hand can help prevent hunger or thirst-induced irritability. It also gives you the freedom to choose food options that suit your dietary preferences and sensitivities. Read restaurant reviews and find ways to have healthy food built into your day. I find I often don’t need all the snacks I have prepared, but even just having them with me makes me feel more comfortable.

7) Prioritize easier travels days

If you can, budget a little extra to make travel days less stressful. Take flights or trains at better times and avoid the red eye if possible. Try to get a direct flight instead of having a layover. If you need to drive a long distance, spilt the drive up and stay overnight somewhere. This will help make the entire trip more enjoyable. I like to use Google Flights to find the best options.

We had to take the red eye on this trip and the first day in Greece we were so exhausted that we joked we would never go back to Europe again. Thankfully the jet lagged passed and it was totally worth it, but it’s helpful to avoid those feelings as much as possible.

8) Plan a relaxing day after a busier one

If you know you’ll have a long travel day, a challenge hike, or a busy social day for example, try to plan a rest day, such as a beach/pool day, spa day or relaxing walk the next day. We challenged ourselves with a beautiful hike from from Fira to Oia and planned a relaxing boat ride the following day, which helped me recharge and be ready to do more the following day.

9) Practice self-care

Keeping up with your self-care routines is vital to enjoying your travels. Engage in activities that help you relax and maintain your emotional well-being that you normally do at home, such as meditation, yoga, journaling, or taking soothing baths. Make sure to prioritize sleep as well. This self-care time will help you have more energy and stamina to enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Remember, everyone's sensitivities and needs are unique, so adapt these tips to suit you and your specific trip. By prioritizing your well-being and making conscious choices, you can make your travel experience more memorable and fulfilling!

What is one of your best travel tips? Leave them in the comments!

With love and sensitivity,


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