15 self-care tips while travelling

There are many ways to pause, indulge and take a moment for ourselves while we’re on the road…

It’s no coincidence that the World Health Organisation dedicated an entire month to the importance of self-care. Commencing on 24 June and culminating, today, on Self-Care Day itself, the entire month is dedicated to promoting the much-needed health benefits, both physical and mental, of self-care.

Given the prolonged stress, grief and uncertainty of living through a seemingly never-ending global pandemic, self-care is more relevant and necessary than ever before. Self-care comes in many forms; it’s about finding those actions, big or small, that help ground us personally when chaos surrounds.

Self-care
is not selfish.

For the love of travel

Travel is, in itself, one of the best and most universal forms of self-care. In March 2020, the world lamented as travel was abruptly and unexpectedly banned from our lives. In fact, the past 16 or so months have reconfirmed just how mentally, physically and emotionally beneficial travel is when we’re able to indulge in it without hesitation or limitation.

Now, as global travellers start to reclaim their freedom and find their (travel) feet again, many are feeling anxious and uncertain as they venture back out into the world. Whether you’re a non-flinching, get-me-back-on-that-plane travel addict, or you’re feeling quite apprehensive about leaving your home bubble, we could all use a healthy dose of self-care as we set those travel wheels in motion once again.

There are so many ways to pause, to indulge and to take a moment for ourselves when we’re on the road. Here are 15 simple self-care tips to help rest the body, ease the mind and feed the soul while travelling.

1. Commit to a digital detox

If you choose to forego 14 of these self-care tips and only dedicate yourself to one, let this be the one. By far the most beneficial and much-needed self-care remedy in this day and age is the digital and device detox.

Whether travelling solo or with loved ones, ditch those devices. Commit to keeping the screen time to a minimum and just be present. Put the laptops and cell phones away, so that you can all disconnect from the wifi and reconnect with yourselves, each other and your surroundings.

Commitments do persist, even when we’re on holiday. So if a full device detox isn’t possible, at the very least try and declare your meals device-free. There’s no denying that the setting, and indeed the food, are Instagram-worthy, so perhaps agree to bring just one phone to the meal for sneaking those necessary snaps. But leave it on airplane mode and don’t let it distract those tech and social media-obsessed minds.

You’ll notice that most of our lodges have wifi in the privacy of the guest suites, but not in the shared guest areas. This is to encourage interaction and gently remind guests to enjoy and savour the location, the food, the laughs and indeed the moment.

2. Follow the sun

It’s not something we religiously make time for at home, in the midst of our everyday chaos, but a great way to charge the soul batteries while on holiday is to commit to watching the sunrise or the sunset (or both) every day.

No two sunrises or sunsets are ever the same. Just by setting time aside to sit quietly and truly absorb and appreciate the colours, the beauty and the day’s fresh start or gentle conclusion, will no doubt help slow your pace and set your intentions.

Golden hour is the best hour, so if it’s sunrise, grab a mocha choca rula and a crunchie (recipes below), or if it’s sundowner o’clock, grab your favourite tipple … and breathe. Celebrate the moment and the view. Later, look up at the stars, too. We’re all guilty of underappreciating the daily and nightly cinematics of Mother Nature.

Mocha choca rula

The safari crunchie

5. Stay home ‘suite’ home

Travellers are often in such a rush to squeeze as much into their days as possible, that they forget to leave some quality time to enjoy their luxury suite. Don’t be afraid, or guilty, to make use of the ‘do not disturb’ sign and relax in style.

From plush duvets, in-room meals and huge, can’t-reach-the-other-side beds, to private plunge pools, outdoor showers and bathtubs-with-a-view, this is a luxury escape from everyday reality. So press pause and really enjoy that luxury suite.

6. Talk to the people you meet

As in, really talk, not just idle small talk. The people we meet form the rich tapestry of our travels and live on in our memories (and often our lives too) long after the holiday is over.

From the Maasai boma to the boardroom, from porter to general manager, even reformed poacher to brick maker … everyone has a story to tell, and they’re often as humbling as they are heart-warming. Seek out those stories and listen with your heart.

At &Beyond, our guests arrive as friends and leave as family. Connections are made, stories are shared and so the travel tapestry grows.

7. Walk it off

Even the most intentionally lazy holidays can instil cabin fever. Whether you’re on a remote island, ensconced in an enchanting forest, surrounded by desert dunes or deep in the bustling heart of a foreign city, a long walk is always good for the soul. Be active, get outdoors and appreciate your surroundings.

As adventurous and adrenaline-filled as a safari is, it does involve sitting on the (albeit exciting) edge of a safari seat for most of the day. Add to that the deliciously unavoidable ‘lodge podge’ that is steadily gained at each moreish meal. Sometimes it’s nice just to stretch those legs and burn off some steam.

While some safari lodges do have minimal gym equipment to help get those endorphins flowing, there is also the option of going on a guided bush walk (or run) with your ranger. It’s not every day you get to jog past dazzles of zebra or journeys of giraffe. Definitely one for the memory bank.

So, get those legs moving or skip the exercise regime altogether. This is your holiday, your escape from the real world, and your opportunity to simply pause and do whatever you like.

8. Count memories, not calories

Try everything; go back for seconds; have dessert; order that bottle of wine (it’s always five o’clock somewhere); and remember, calories don’t count when you’re on holiday.

Meals—especially holiday ones—are meant to be enjoyed. Don’t rush the experience. Rather linger over unhurried (and device-free) meals. Whether it’s a family feast or you’re happily dining solo, there’s something to be said for slowing down, savouring the flavours and taking in the scenery.

And if there’s a particular dish you can’t bear to part with, our chefs are more than willing to share their not-so-secret recipes with fellow foodies so they can recreate the flavours, and the memories, once they’re back home.

9. Get your beauty sleep

Imagine if we recharged ourselves as much as we recharge our devices. Rest is just as much a part of the journey, so prioritise good sleep and recharge those batteries. Let’s face it, the beds on holiday are almost always more comfortable and luxurious than the beds at home, so have an early night or take a few sneaky afternoon siestas. Your future, post-holiday self will be glad you did.

10. Have breakfast in bed

An indulgence we rarely make time for at home: the gloriously decadent breakfast-in-bed. Put out the ‘do not disturb’ sign, tuck into warm, buttery toast, sinful chocolate croissants or tropical fruit salad and emerge, well rested and well fed, when you’re ready to tackle the day.

11. Take a spa day

If the pool day or the afternoon siesta aren’t your vibe, book a well-deserved spa treatment. From private in-room massages, rose petal bubblebaths and soothing local remedies, to world-class urban spas, fragrant tea ceremonies and ancient hot stone baths, there are countless ways to relax the mind, body and soul in a way that pays homage to the destination you’re in.

12. Try something new

This might be the only time you’ll ever visit this particular destination, so don’t be afraid to try new things. It could be your only chance. Book that hot air balloon flight, climb that dune, sample that local delicacy, learn a new skill, hop on that e-bike. Travel is just as much about relaxing in luxurious creature comforts, as it is about getting out of your comfort zone. Go on, be adventurous.

13. Laze by the pool

Take a pool day (or least an afternoon), armed with a captivating page-turner and some binoculars (you never know what birds or wildlife might pass you by). Order some poolside cocktails or a bottle of bubbly, and soak up the sun. Pools-with-a-view are meant to be enjoyed, and in some cases, shared with thirsty four-legged locals.

14. Look with your eyes, not the lens

Capture those once in a lifetime memories with your camera, absolutely. But don’t forget to capture them in the memory bank too. Take a break from the lens every now and then to truly observe and appreciate the moment, the landscape, the wildlife sighting—whatever it is—through your own eyes.

We’ve all been to famous, bucket list landmarks and witnessed the hordes of travellers that stop briefly to grab a quick selfie, then move on. Not even stopping to put their phones down and fully absorb the beauty of the landmark, and indeed the moment itself, through their own naked eyes. Don’t be that person that experiences their entire holiday from behind the lens. That’s no way to travel.

15. Enjoy the journey

Lastly, let go of all expectations and go with the flow. You may run into bad weather, long airport queues, a delayed flight, or misplaced luggage, but don’t let any minor setbacks set you back. A dash of patience and a good sense of humour go a long way.

Que será será … whatever will be, will be. You can’t control everything, and besides, what fun would it be if you were in control of every aspect of the adventure? The surprises, and sometimes even those minor setbacks, often make the fondest memories. Expect the unexpected.

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