It’s that time of year again – the Summer Holidays. Many of us are planning to pack up and escape for a few days. For those with ADHD, planning a simple getaway can prove quite challenging.

Here’s a list of 12 tips to make travelling easier!

1. Insurance

As soon as your holiday is booked, invest in an insurance policy that covers lost or stolen items. It’s also a great time to get ‘replacement phone insurance’ or upgrade your existing policy if this isn’t included. Check the small print. Insurance may only be valid if you report an item as lost immediately, and there’s a limit to the number of phones that can be replaced annually.

Make sure you know your log-in details to important accounts so that if you don’t have your phone, you can log in on another device quickly and change passwords.

2. Make a checklist

Making lists is usually recommended to those with ADHD, and they can work for some… but not for all. Keep it simple. Work out your essentials, and keep this list in your bag; tick off items as you pack them.

You’ll almost certainly forget something, so don’t pack anything you would be distraught about losing (except absolute essentials).

Try to pick up your coat from the hook, the phone and charger from the socket, and remember shoes come in pairs!

  • Visualise getting ready as this will help you to get started with a list of essentials. Think ‘What matters to me?’
  • You will likely wear your normal clothes, so don’t spend a fortune on new ones! Extras can be bought when you get there, if needed.
  • Don’t pack expensive sunglasses! They often walk off on their own!
  • Pack light! Less to remember = less forgotten.

Think about:

  • Essential daytime clothes
  • Evening and nightwear
  • Activewear (swimming, hiking)
  • Toiletries and medication (if required)
  • Technology and chargers (phone, camera, tablet)

3. Download tickets to your smartphone.

If you forget your ticket, you can access it from your phone – plus, it’s environmentally friendly. If you decide to print documents, print two copies and pack in different places.

If you have a smart watch, downloading tickets and setting up mobile banking can provide a back-up if you lose your purse or phone, and you can also use it to find your phone nearby!

4. Check medication rules.

Medication restrictions aren’t universal, and each country has specific rules on what medications are allowed through security.

  • If travelling abroad, check the regulations of the countries you will be travelling through with your GP, pharmacist, or the embassy of the country you will be visiting.
  • If necessary, contact your ADHD service provider and request a travel letter – this may come with a small charge and it’s best to contact your service at the earliest opportunity in case there’s a wait.
  • Check if you need to apply for a specific medication license.
  • Keep medication in original packets with labels, prescriptions, and relevant documentation from your GP.
  • Once you’re through security, split medication into your pockets, bag and case – if you lose one, you’re not left totally without medication.

5. Prepare for the journey.

If you struggle to sit still, or anxiety has you wriggling, pack some of the below to help ease restlessness:

  • Before travelling, download music you enjoy and listen through headphones.
  • Take a fidget toy, craft project, book, console, puzzle or game to keep your hands and mind busy.
  • There are activity packs available online for children, including travel-sized games, colouring books and soft toys.
  • Pack noise-reducing headphones and eye masks to reduce sensory overload.

6. Check what is included at your accommodation.

There may be towels, iron, hairdryer, even straighteners. If you know what is provided, you’ll know what to pack – and it could mean less to remember.

7. Set last-minute reminders.

  • Set alarms for 15 minutes before you need to leave and rename as ‘passport, wallet, phone’.
  • Stick a post-it-note with your absolute essentials (purse/wallet, passport, medication, keys, phone charger, phone) on your front door the night before to prompt a final check before leaving.

8. Keep a phone charger in your bag.

Keep a charger in your ‘go-to’ bag – if you need it, you only have to find a plug socket! If you forget your charger, you don’t need to worry because you already have one in your bag.

9. Consider wearing a Sunflower lanyard.

Launched in 2016 in the UK by Hidden Disabilities, and now recognised globally, the Sunflower Lanyard is worn by people with invisible disabilities, and aims to ‘make the invisible visible’, encouraging compassion from others. The lanyard signifies that the person wearing it may need additional support, and there is no obligation to share why it’s being worn.

10. If planning works for you, pre-book as much as you can.

Pre-booking helps reduce anxiety and financial stressors, whether it’s parking, plane seats, early check-in, or taxis. You should then have a lot less to worry about on arrival and you can enjoy your holiday.

You may get discounts when you pre-book too, to help your holiday budget stretch even further.

11. Budget.

ADHD can cause impulsivity and financial anxiety. Planning what you can spend before you travel can save stress when you should be enjoying your holiday.

Why not research free activities for whilst you are away? This way, if you do overspend, rather than feeling guilt – you have a few fall-back options that are fun and financially friendly.

12. Wear comfy clothing.

Travelling can mean sitting still for hours in a small space. Wear loose and comfortable clothing, and think ‘layers’ so you can add-on or take-off items depending on climate.

And remember, we all forget things when travelling. ADHD tax is real – don’t let it ruin your holiday. If you forget something, most things can be bought when you’re there. Be kind to yourself  – you’ve worked hard for this, so go and enjoy yourself!

Have a great holiday!