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As much as we all love to travel, heading out to new places can be stressful. Transportation, be it by plane, train, auto, or boat, can be fraught with waiting, delays, and even missed connections. While experiencing a whole new culture is amazing, it can also overwhelm the senses. And then, there’s always our old travel foe, jetlag.

But there are simple ways to de-stress on the road that will help keep you calm, balanced, and ready to roll while you’re exploring, whether you’re across the state or halfway around the world. Here are a few of our favorite tips and tricks to help you wind down -- and ultimately center up -- when you’re off on your next adventure.

1. Have A Sleep Strategy

A lack of sleep can increase your stress levels while you’re on the road, and you’re especially susceptible if you’re zipping across numerous time zones. Make sure you have a plan to combat jetlag and stick to it. If you’re heading east, get some shut-eye on the plane and plan to plow into the next day as soon as you hit your destination. To the west, grab a flight that lands at night so you can immediately settle in. Once you’re on the ground, do everything you can to ensure you get a good night’s rest in order to stay refreshed for the duration of your vacation.

2. Bring Your Favorite Scent

Once you’ve reached your destination, treat your hotel room as your haven. It’s the place where you will come back to after a long day of walking, seeing, tasting, and doing. Aromatherapy can work wonders to help soothe the senses.

Our favorite scents to bring on relaxation and calm include lavender, tea tree, eucalyptus, and rose. Once you find your perfect blend, bring a travel-sized room spray that can double as a facial spritzer and linen refresher. Also consider picking up travel-sized toiletries infused with those same scents to further boost the de-stress effect.

Try some of our favorite scents here:

3. Try Hydrotherapy

At the end of a long day of sightseeing, nothing beats a nice hot bath. Not only will your muscles thank you, but your body temperature will also rise, which has been proven to get you ready for rest. If your hotel offers bath salts, make sure you add some to your tub. They are likely made with Epsom salt, known for its ability to stabilize your mood when sprinkled and dissolved in your bath. Alternatively, you can hit the hotel’s whirlpool or hot tub before lights out.

Be prepared and grab some of your own calming bath additions to travel with here: 

4. Do Some Self-Guided Stretches

Don’t worry: We’re not recommending you sign up for a full 60-minute yoga session at the end of a long, exciting day. Rather, a few tried-and-true poses, when repeated slowly, can offer a great stretch and cooldown. A simple forward bend can relieve shoulder and neck tension.

Balasana, or child’s pose, gives your hips and ankles a stretch. And while Savasana, or corpse pose, is typically used for relaxation at the end of a yoga session, it’s just as effective at the end of a long travel day. The great thing about all of these poses is that they are gentle and easily modified for your own flexibility level.

5. Chill Out With A Mindfulness App

Zeroing in on the breath, and using its rhythm to tune in to the present moment, is the central principle of mindfulness. It’s a simple way to truly center up and chill out. It can be a useful daily, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place. Granted, it can be a tricky practice to get used to; that’s why we love the Calm app.

Easily downloadable on your smartphone, it allows you to bring mindfulness wherever you go. The app offers daily guided meditation sessions (10 minutes max!), as well as nighttime music and even bedtime stories!

6. Dim The Lights

When you return after a busy day on the go, immediately set the relaxation level in your accommodations with mood lighting. Kill the harsh floor and bedside lamps in favor of a softer, center-of-the-room glow from a ceiling light. If you’ve got a master dimmer switch in your main space, use it to tone down the overall light level. And when in doubt, light a candle or two.

7. Sip Some Tea

No matter where you are in the world, you’ll have access to some terrific tea options. A warm cup is the perfect apres-travel relaxation ritual. Go with a tisane (herbal mix) or white tea, which has less caffeine than its green and black counterparts. Some of our favorites include soothing chamomile, peppermint, and lemon balm. Taking the time to slow down and sip will reduce any anxiety you might have and help keep you on an even keel.

Stock up on some easily transported tea bags here:

8. Keep A Travel Journal

Travel can be a whirlwind. At the end of each evening, why not take a few moments to journal about your day? It’s a terrific way to de-stress and record everything you got to do, see, and experience. Sometimes after a vacation, little details can get lost in the memory shuffle. By being intentional, and taking the time to summarize each day, you’ll remember and appreciate much more about your trip in the long run.

Check out some of our favorite travel journals here:

9. Review Your Plans For The Next Day

Remember when you were a kid and you laid out your clothes for school the night before? Guess what? It’s a great evening-ending ritual when you’re on the road as well. Setting out your clothes and getting your tote bag packed and supplies squared away for the next day’s adventures can help bring about calm and serenity.

Plotting out and writing down your agenda can also work wonders. This isn’t about going overboard with planning; rather, just a little bit of structure can and does make a big difference. You’ll go to bed feeling prepared, and wake up refreshed, on point, and ready to go the next morning.

Want more travel tips? Read up on lessons from the road, and why it’s all about attitude.

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