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5 Simple Tactics to Help You Stick to Your Habits While Travelling

May 22, 2019

5 Simple Tactics to Help You Stick to Your Habits While Travelling

This post was written by Saint Belford Co Founder, Alex Phillips.

We’re at the halfway point of our five month adventure around Asia and it has become increasingly clear that sticking to daily routines and rituals takes a little more work when you’re living the nomad lifestyle, far away from your natural habitat.

We’ve come to learn that habits (good and bad) are heavily influenced by the environment you’re in. When you’re at home, your habits fit into the flow of your life. The gym is within close proximity, perhaps on the way to work. You’re familiar with the running tracks in your neighbourhood. You know where to purchase healthy snacks. Your yoga mat sits in the living room where there is adequate space to stretch. Your planner sits by your bedside table.

The stability and predictability of your environment as well as accessibility to your daily essentials make following through with your habits infinitely easier. Without these environmental cues (reminders) to prompt you, sticking to good habits can quickly become an uphill battle.

If you’re going on a short holiday, you might decide to press pause on your daily routine and resume once you return. That’s perfectly fine. However, if you’re moving around from one place to another on a long-term basis or you’re just eager to maintain your habits while travelling, these nomad tips are for you.

Plan ahead

Do your research beforehand and get a lay of the land you’re visiting. This was something we neglected to do. We overestimated our discipline and underestimated the importance of a supportive environment. We thought we would “wing it” but I’m afraid that strategy didn’t really help our habits.

The fact is, when your habits become an inconvenience to complete in a foreign environment, your very best intentions can quickly wither away.

If you’re looking to continue your yoga practice, book accommodation that is within close proximity to a yoga studio or maybe book a slightly larger room so that there is sufficient space to stretch. Even better, sign up to a virtual yoga studio if you prefer to flow in your own time, without schedule restrictions.

The goal is to eliminate “in the moment” decision making and make as many habit-related decisions as you can in advance, like signing up to an online yoga studio and choosing your instructor beforehand.

Having a good understanding of the destination you’re going to and how it can accommodate your good habits can alleviate A LOT of frustration and decision fatigue when you arrive.

Questions to ask yourself:

What decisions can I make in advance?

Pack the essentials

Determine the essentials you’ll need to follow through with your habits. You might need to invest in a travel-friendly equivalent or substitute it if it’s not portable.

If yoga is part of your morning ritual, a lightweight yoga mat might be a worthwhile investment.

Make it your mission to pack or invest in any routine-related essentials before your trip as opposed to putting it on your to-do list when you arrive. There will be plenty of other things that will require your attention upon arrival and the reality is, it’s easy to delay what is not urgent.

Make your habits easier (and less of a chore) by equipping yourself with the essentials beforehand.


Questions to ask yourself:

What essentials do I need to perform my habits?

Do I need to substitute these essentials?

Where can I purchase these travel-friendly essentials?


Choose the optimal time to commit

Determine the optimal time to commit to your habits. With other factors to consider, like the weather, travel agenda, transportation and accessibility, it’s important to recognise that the optimal time may differ from your normal schedule.

If you’re used to exercising outdoors but you’re entering a hotter climate, you may have to adjust the time of your workout accordingly. Depending on the temperature, it might be better to work up a sweat before the sun rises or after the sun goes down.

Be flexible. Acknowledge that Plan A might not always be available, so be prepared to go with the flow and accept plan B.

Questions to ask yourself:

When is the best time to complete my routine?

If the first time is not available, what is another time I can complete it?

Optimise your space

Your home and work environment will have a whole host of subtle and obvious cues that greatly influence the habits you engage in. It could be objects in your environment, people you see on a regular basis or other recurring habits that serve as the launching point for your routines.

At home, this might be keeping your moisturiser on the bathroom counter to initiate your morning skincare ritual after brushing your teeth, placing a watering can near the kitchen sink to remind you to water your plants, walking past the local gym or the alarm going off at 7am to remind you to meditate.

Consider the things that currently trigger your home habits. How can you recreate those same cues on your travels? How can you create your home away from home?

Some will be easy to replicate, like leaving your gym gear out the night before. Others will require a little more work, like moving the furniture around the night before to create space for a yoga flow in the morning.

The goal is to recreate a supportive environment where your routines and rituals come naturally and easily.

Questions to ask yourself:

What are the things that currently trigger my habit?

How can I recreate the same triggers or cues while travelling?

Downsize if you need to

Sticking to your routines while travelling is less about doing what is ideal and more about adapting your routines.

Let go of the “all-or-nothing” mentality. It can be tempting to abandon your habits if you feel as though you can’t fully commit, but completing a smaller version of your habit is always better than nothing.

A one hour gym session might not be feasible if you don’t have access to a gym or it interferes with a group schedule. Instead of giving up on your workout regime altogether, you could replace it with a ten minute full body workout in your hotel room before breakfast. You’re still achieving the same intention of moving and strengthening your body.

I was feeling a little guilty for not doing longer yoga flows like I would at home or in Saigon where we had settled for a month and had access to an incredible studio nearby. Even though I was doing shorter flows from my hotel room, there was still an element of guilt for downsizing my routine.

If you ever feel like you’re not doing enough, recognise that showing up is a big deal, especially when there is a lack of consistency in your schedule. Showing up is a testament of your commitment and you should be exceptionally proud of yourself. Ultimately, you’re still getting your “reps” in.

Questions to ask yourself:

What is a smaller version of my habit that I can easily complete?

Don’t be disheartened if you run into a few hurdles along the way. It’s just the nature of adapting to a new environment. Just remember to get a lay of the land, pack the essentials, recreate a supportive space and downsize your habits if you need to. You’ve got this.


What are your top tips for sticking to habits while travelling? Leave a comment below 👇🏼