6 Travel Habits to Adopt for a Better Life
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6 Travel Habits to Adopt for a Better Life

Be the best version of youself

6 Travel Habits to Adopt for a Better Life
Dayana Aleksandrova

I've been on the road for 8 years, from Barcelona to Boston to Bali, and by now have realized that I can't sit still for more than two months at a time.

Over the past few years, I've noticed that I tend to be a better version of myself while traveling - I'm friendlier, healthier and happier. In order to ease the pain of a twentysomething's mundane existence, I put together 6 travel habits to adopt for a better life.

1. Wake up early

This may sound like a nightmare if you're not a morning person, but trust me, it will change your life.

Waking up early was especially true for Bali, where being out and about at 6am was the only way to get some peace and quiet. I spent time in Canggu, which is a small village on Echo Beach. Contrary to what you may think of Bali from Eat, Pray, Love and other movies, the island is bustling with life early in the a.m. because locals have jobs to go to.

Image by Dayana Aleksandrova

Being awake for the sunrise will charge you with energy to last through the rest of the day. You'll feel like you have an advantage to everyone else who's wallowing in bed till 8am. Plus, you'll be able to get your thoughts straight and come up with a game plan for the day.

It may not seem like an advantage at first glance, but waking up early guarantees to tire you out by bed time (logic, duh!), so you'll gloriously surrender to your sweet bed around 10pm instead of struggling to fall asleep till 2. Try this strategy. (and an espresso shot, too.)

2. Stay active throughout the day

Being on the road is challenging to say the least. As a travel writer, I get to go on press trips where I stay at nice hotels, explore landmarks and straight up run around islands to get the best photos I can. That all requires physical effort.

I recently went to Malta, where I had to cover lots of ground from Valletta to Slima and Mdina in just a weekend for a photography campaign. That meant getting up early, knocking back a coffee or two and not sitting down until dinner time (which in Malta means rabbit). I felt great and my clothes fit better, too. Once I went back to my routine though, I found myself moving less and eating more. Bummer.

If there's one principle from physics I've learned, it's that "a body in motion will stay in motion," and that's absolutely true. Try to incorporate movement in your daily routine. A great time is lunch break. Have a quick bite or drink a juice on the go and stroll around the city for as long as you can. Instead of rushing home after work to 'Netflix & Chill," go for a little jog. It doesn't have to be intense exercise, just something to get the blood flowing.

Image by Dayana Aleksandrova

3. Eat mindfully

Relax, I'm not making you meditate. Although meditation is really damn great for both body and mind. What I mean here is to pay attention to what you're consuming and listen to your body.

It's easy to get used to the meals you constantly prepare at home. Grilled chicken on a bed of lettuce, sound familiar? That kills the entire thrill of the food, plus, if you're anything like me, eating the same meal over and over again is like chasing the dragon - you have to eat more to feel the same satisfaction you did before.

While you travel, you put much more thought into the food you eat. You want to see how it's made, you're curious about the ingredients and its role in local culture. You eat with a stronger appetite (especially if you've been running around cities and islands all day) and you use your senses to experience the food.

You can easily bring that experience into your daily routine by choosing a new recipe to cook one a week.

Image by Dayana Aleksandrova

4. Talk to everyone

When I travel, I approach each city with an open mind. Although I wouldn't normally go to an Irish bar in Barcelona, when I see a Scottish pub in San Giljan, I'm totally down for it. Travel frees us from our idea of a "scene" we belong to and stimulates us to explore new things.

Talking to everyone happens naturally for lots of travelers who normally wouldn't do it at home. Why? My theory is that when we travel, we allow ourselves to assume different personalities. For example, at the office I'm friendly Dee who's always hanging out by herself. When you drop me off in Athens, I'm fun Dee who wants to try every dish on the menu and dance sirtaki at the pub, waving a napkin and singing in broken Greek.

Travel lets us experiment with our personalities and helps us discover traits we may not have been previously aware of. Try meeting one new person per week and see how your daily life changes over time.

5. Put your phone down

Seriously, there are better things to do. Rediscover your city instead of being on Instagram all the time and dreaming of places others go to. Have a face-to-face interaction with someone instead of stalking your ex on Facebook. We haven't yet invented the type of technology to replace the joy of receiving a hug in person, laughing with someone or sharing a meal.

I try not to use my phone at all while traveling unless I'm totally lost and desperately need Google Maps. Otherwise, the only time you'll see me pull out the phone is to put a quick Instagram story of the area I'm exploring or take down someone's number.

A friend of mine is actually extremely vigilant about disconnecting from technology, so dinner parties at her place are a breath of fresh air. We all have to contribute to the conversation, drink wine and share stories while she literally takes our phones away. To be honest, I've found out by now that I have less of a headache from a wine hangover than from staring at my phone 24/7.

Image by Dayana Aleksandrova

6. Learn to budget

I'm gonna be straight with you and say that I absolutely hate budgeting or anything else that has to do with money. The reality is, however, that budgeting is an invaluable skill, especially if you're a broke post-grad trying to figure out ways to see the world.

We've all seen tons of articles on why experiences are better than things and a vast majority of Millennials support this notion. Although we may no longer buy expensive homes and shoes, we still don't earn enough to afford all the trips we want, so I'll give you my best, proven advice on budgeting.

First and foremost, your rent has to be no more than 1/3 of what you earn. When I lived in Boston, close to 70% of my salary went on rent and my quality of life was dismal. Moving to Barcelona, I spend only 29% of my pay check on rent and oh, it is glorious. Now I can afford a trip at least every two months even if I've started paying my student loans. Seriously, no one's first apartment is that great. Make sure you've got all the basics covered and invest the rest in travel.

Second piece of advice - cook your own food. Not only is it a million times healthier to prepare your own meals (you know exactly what you consume and can prepare it exactly how you like it), but it's also much cheaper. Take out bills add up, while groceries cost a fraction and last longer. I always like to stay at private rooms with a kitchen on the road when possible, so that I can prep my food and feel at home abroad while saving money.

(Note: I say this to all my friends who claim to hate cooking - take all the ingredients you like, throw them in a pan with olive oil and turn the heat on for 15 minutes. Done.)

So there you have it - my 6 best travel-inspired hacks for a better daily life. Give it a go and tell me what happens.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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