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With a wealth of developments and the ability of social media to share knowledge and experiences, neurodivergent people have become more and more aware of both the hurdles and strengths that come with the way they function in the world. A disruption in normalcy, like traveling, can be of huge benefit to neurodivergent humans, but can also bring with it some frustrations.

With this, it is good to know what to expect before getting on the road or in the air with ADHD. Here are some helpful tips to keep in mind along the way:


Packing For Your Trip

Preparing for a trip can be one of the most difficult parts. There can be so much excitement and anxiety moving through the brain and body. With this, we recommend making a list of what you need to pack as it comes to you in the days, or maybe weeks, leading up to your trip. As random things pop into your head, have a place to write them down.

Next, pack when it feels right! For some neurodivergence, this will mean packing and re-packing for days leading up to the trip. For some, this will mean 4 am as you are getting ready to leave for the airport. Whenever is right for you, trust yourself and your usual responses. Sometimes being down to the wire can bring about an inspired thrill!

As you are packing, it can be helpful to group things into categories:

  • Toiletries
  • Medications
  • Electronics
  • Basic Clothing*
  • Weather-Specific Clothing

Imagine yourself in the location and the weather - what will you actually need? Visualizing can help pare things down!

*For some people with neurodivergence and sensory processing, it can be important to have an array of fabrics and fits because they don't know how they will be feeling on a given day or in a certain setting. Keep this in mind as you are packing!

Related: Need To Pack In A Pinch? Here Are 10 Quick-Packing Tips

Tip: Laying everything out flat before packing it away can also be a great way to help you visualize!

Keep Some Sort Of Routine

When you arrive at your destination, keeping a routine can be very helpful to keep your brain in some sort of order it was at home. This can be especially helpful if you will be changing your location and lodging often during your trip. Make a list of 2-3 things you will do every day, no matter where you are. This could be as simple as "drink a glass of water." Make your list and write it down. Keep it on your phone or next to your bed. It can be helpful to literally mark these off every day as a visual reminder! If you are athletic, perhaps going for a run in your location will be good for your mental state. Work out, move your body. Maybe meditating keeps you grounded at home, and would be helpful to be part of your trip as well. This can help you feel safe in your new space, and also keep that excess energy or anxiety moving.

Another sort of routine to consider is choosing a coffee shop you will go to every morning. This can set a foundation of normalcy for your day and for your trip. It can also be a fun way to get to know your "new" neighborhood or a local barista!

Don't forget to take your medication. Set an alarm on your phone so that no matter where you are, you will remember to do so!

Excursions & Such

Whether you book through a travel agent or not, there are great ways to make plans for your trip. Make lists of where you want to go and what you want to see. Map it out ahead of time. Google Maps makes it especially simple to map out different destinations with both walking and train routes. Having a map can give you a step-by-step guide, so you do not get lost along the way!

Book your tickets in advance - but get flexible times if possible! For museums and trains, there are sometimes options for flexible times within a day! This can be helpful if you are a bit more spur of the moment goer! If this is not an option, set alarms for 30 minutes or so before you need to arrive at your location. This will keep you on schedule without the stress of a strict planner!

Don't be afraid to go with the flow! One of the superpowers of those with ADHD is the ability to walk around aimlessly and explore. You never know what you might find if you do so! Maybe the most amazing restaurant, or a museum no one has heard of. If you are traveling alone, it can be especially delightful to take some time to explore and see where your creative brain and pathway might take you

Related: Here's What to Know Before Solo-Traveling Europe

Lastly, be flexible! Plans change and things can go wrong during traveling. That is okay! Have a budget to buy a sweater if you forgot your favorite one, or to grab a few meals out if you forgot to eat. That may end up being your favorite souvenir or memory of the trip! Whether traveling alone or not, sometimes an ADHDers greatest superpower is the flexibility and fun they find along life's way!