Holiday Edition — BALANCE eating disorder treatment center

Over the holidays, you may be traveling by plane, train, or car. The distance you travel, the mode of transportation, and the time you will be gone are all critical factors to consider. No matter your travel plans, here are five helpful tools for holiday travel with an eating disorder.

Make a Plan

Traveling often comes with particular time constraints. You have to be at the airport two hours early or drive to the station to make a specific train. Your travel itinerary may look very different than a typical day. This can change your sleep and meal schedule, which may feel uncomfortable. Take a deep breath. Let’s open the calendar or notes app. Take out your travel itinerary, along with any meal or recovery plan you may have. 

Get ready because we are going to combine them! First, put your meal and snack times into your app when you usually eat them. Block off the amount of time it usually takes you to eat. Now it’s time to enter your travel plans. If you are driving, find out what time you are leaving, how long the drive will take, where you plan to stop, and your arrival time. If you are flying, include travel time to the airport and time to check bags and get through security. Are there any meals that overlap with these travel plans? Move your meal to a time when you can sit down to eat it. Do any of these travel plans occur during snack time? Bring them with you and set an alarm on your phone to remind you! Above all, remember to be flexible and understanding as you navigate these travel days. It doesn’t have to be perfect, do your best and get support if needed.

Bring Snacks

In addition to scheduled snacks, it can be helpful to pack ‘emergency’ snacks for your travel day. Is there anything you crave while in the car? Is there a food you like to find at convenience stores? Are there any snacks you want to have while away from home? Bring them all. Seriously, bring them all! This way, you’ll be prepared for any changes to your travel day, such as traffic or flight delays. Be mindful of your fluid and caffeine consumption so it doesn’t interfere with your meals or meal plan.

Dress for Comfort

Is there an outfit that you wear as soon as it’s clean? Or one that you wear multiple days in a row? Most importantly, is there an outfit that is comfortable and always feels good to wear? Yeah, that one! That is the outfit you want to wear. Remember to consider the temperature when you travel, as you often don’t control it on planes and trains. It’s best to dress in layers to stay comfortable no matter the temperature.

Ask Questions

Knowledge is power. Knowing the details of your travel plans can be helpful. If you are traveling with others, ask questions and discuss the details. If you are staying with family or friends, ask about the plan for meals & snacks. Will you be eating meals in or eating out? Getting on the same page as the people you are traveling with will help ease stress and sync your party’s plans.

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