Describe ADHD to someone without it? Imagine all the bees in the world are trying to get through a keyhole? That’s what it feels like in the brain. It can make travelling a deeply rewarding and incredibly testing experience.
With this in mind, a key to travelling with ADHD or any kind of neurodiversity is taking the time to prepare and make things convenient. Clearing a path through all the noise to make things as straightforward as possible, like setting down railway lines ahead of the journey instead of just ahead of the locomotive. Below are some of the best points of advice we can give. All based on personal experience.
PACK AND TRAVEL LIGHT
A colleague taught me the secret to comfortable flying and I will be forever in his debt. Travel light. Now, he was the expert at fitting enough clothes for an entire week into hand luggage and this included casual and office clothing. His approach was a simple one, two office shirts, two casual shirts. One good pair of jeans. Seven pairs of underwear. He even taught me the secret to packing suits. Roll the trousers and light-fold the jacket. Changed the way I travel and made long haul flights almost feel like bus journeys.
HAVE A RELIABLE LIST OF YOUR ESSENTIALS
My travel preparation begins days before I fly. I make dozens of lists which I refine to the bare minimum of what I need to travel as lightly as possible. I have my list of essentials that I keep in my trouser pockets, the things that if I lose everything else, I’ll be able to get by with. Phone, wallet, keys and passport. Then a list of important luxuries for the pockets of my carry on, including chargers, laptops and battery banks.
Having all this written down on a list means all I have to do is check off the list on my way out the door so I don’t forget anything.
PAY FOR THE FAST TRACK SECURITY
Fast track costs different depending on which airport you’re at, but it is usually not that expensive and it means you don’t have to wait in line. I find I immediately feel better having gotten through security and into that blessed departure side of the airport where now I just have to wait for my flight. Getting through that stage smoothly and quickly keeps the brain calm. Well worth it.
PAY FOR THE LOUNGE
Lounges offer comfortable chairs, no crowds and easy access to coffee, teas, alcohol and food. If I have more than an hour to wait for my departure and I’m not scoffing down food at a restaurant, I always take the time to rest up in a lounge away from the noise of the airport. Not only is it more peaceful and comfortable but there is a sense of control that I enjoy, knowing that I have invested in my peace of mind. And it is worth it. Memberships can be purchased and often it adds onto travel points.
ARE YOU GOING TO BE COMFORTABLE AND ENTERTAINED
Boredom and discomfort are the enemy. You want to be as comfy as possible and entertained with a variety of things. I always make sure my devices and battery packs are charged. My travel pillow is on hand and I have my book, audiobook and film downloaded to watch. Most long haul flights will provide some form of entertainment, but all you need is to be sat in the seat that doesn’t have a working screen and you’ll have a few hours of hell on your hands.
A GOOD EYE MASK AND EARPLUGS.
Invest in a good, reliable eye mask and earplugs you won’t regret it. One of the issues with ADHD is being unable to filter all of the data coming in. This makes it difficult to get any kind of restful sleep on long haul flights. Eye masks and earplugs, reduce the glare to the eyes and lower the general screaming of the world in general to a light background white noise. The key to travelling well is knowing how to sleep well while travelling.
A TRAVEL CREDIT CARD
Credit cards sometimes get a bad rep, mostly by those who don’t know how to use them. But having one specifically set for regular travelling is important because it covers you for any of those last minute purchases and emergencies. Again, being able to breathe easily in an airport knowing that should the sh1t hit the fan you can at least afford to buy an umbrella at the last minute, is worth it.
On the same note, bad money skills and ADHD often go hand in hand, so on your list of essentials, make sure you jot down the list of things you’re allowed to buy and those you are not. Or else you’ll end up travelling with a brand new bicycle and a flat screen TV wondering why.
Feature image source.