Travel Morning Routine

jana meerman lake tekapo new zealand

Back in 2016, I wrote a post titled My Morning Routine.

Well, things have changed a bit in the last three years - most notably the fact that I've been backpacking non-stop for the last nine months and my mornings look significantly different in comparison to when I was in university/working back in Vancouver.

Here's my updated morning routine answering the same questions as I did back in 2016, specifically discussing what I do in the mornings while I'm traveling the world!

1. What is your morning routine?

My first alarm goes off at 7am; the second one beeps at me at 7:30am. During this gap, I stretch in bed and indulge in my terrible habit of scrolling through my phone. I use this time to look at my to-do list for the day, check out my plans for discovering whichever new city I'm in, look up directions on Google Maps, browse through my social media and reply to messages and emails I received throughout the night from people in different time zones.

I get up after my second alarm and make my bed - I've spent most of my last nine months in hostel bunks so it's a simple matter of straightening the duvet and tucking everything away.

Then, I'll grab my clothes for the day and my toiletries bag and head into the communal hostel bathroom where I'll change, brush my teeth, use a Micellar water and moisturizer on my face and brush my hair.

After I'm ready for the day, I'll go down into the kitchen where I'll join other travelers in making breakfast during which time I'll socialize with others staying in the hostel and get a bit of work done from my phone. Then, I'll be ready to hit the ground running to explore wherever I am at that time!

2. How has your morning routine changed over the years?

My 2016 morning routine was focused around the fact that I had just graduated university, moved off campus and started working full-time. My schedule was much different as I was in an office every week-day and I was living on my own in an apartment.

Now that I'm full-time traveling, I'm living in various hostels, am often on the go and no two days are the same! Managing to stay on track while traveling can sometimes be tough since every day is a new challenge in a new place with new experiences, surroundings and distractions. I've found that creating a routine I can follow no matter where I am in the world has helped tremendously.

3. What time do you go to sleep?

Although it can change depending on what's on the calendar, I try to get ready for bed around 10pm so that I can be asleep by 11pm.

4. Do you do anything before going to bed to make your morning easier?

I always go through my to-do list before I go to bed to make sure everything has either been checked off or moved to an alternate date so that my next day is ready to go. I try to make sure everything I want to do is written down so I can jump on tasks the next day. I also try to read every night before I fall asleep as it tends to result in a better sleep than scrolling through my phone.

5. Do you use an alarm to wake you up in the morning, and if so do you ever hit the snooze button?

Yes. If I didn't have an alarm, I'd be sleeping in... I have two alarms a half hour apart so I give myself that time to wake up before getting out of bed.

6. How soon after waking up do you have breakfast, and what do you typically have?

Pretty much as soon as I'm up, dressed and ready for the day, I'm in the kitchen for breakfast. I used to have a smoothie bowl every day while I lived alone but I don't have access to a blender while I'm traveling. Now, my go-to is yogurt, granola, chia seeds and a big cup of tea! I also try and drink 2L of water a day so I get started on this at breakfast time, too.

jana meerman albatross hostel kaikoura (2)

Shared kitchen at Albatross Hostel, Kaikoura, New Zealand

7. Do you have a morning workout routine?

No, I found that I much prefer working out in the evenings before dinner. I like to head back to the hostel after a day of exploring and traveling, get my sweat on for half an hour or so, hop in the shower and then enjoy dinner and socializing with the rest of the hostel crowd or working on my laptop for the rest of the evening.

My workout is pretty standard and I do the same thing every day including exercises for arms, abs and legs plus stretching at the end. I try to workout 5-6 times a week while traveling. It's also the kind of workout I can do anywhere and doesn't need a gym or any equipment so it can be done on a beach, in a park or in the middle of the hostel dorm!

I also hike a ton while I'm traveling which is great exercise for both the body and soul.

jana meerman wayalailai fiji (23)

Sunrise hike in the Yasawa Islands, Fiji

8. Do you have a morning meditation routine, and if so what kind of meditation do you practice?

Other than the brief stretches and rolling out of my joints, no. I don't really have the time in the morning to meditate nor is it something I've ever really enjoyed. I do take a few minutes every evening to write down what I've done that day to reflect on my experiences; days can tend to blur together when you're doing so much and constantly on the go.

9. Do you answer email first thing in the morning, or leave it until later in the day?

Yes, I have to, since most emails I receive are coming from other time zones around the world. I want to be able to jump on responses right away (and everything I can't deal with immediately goes onto my to-do list!). I use that half hour in the mornings to get these things done.

10. Do you use any apps or products to enhance your sleep or morning routine?

I use the bedtime app that comes with the iPhone clock and it sends me reminders when it's time to go to bed. It also puts my phone on Do Not Disturb overnight which is great because otherwise my screen would be lighting up with notifications all night long from around the world.

To keep my life organized I use Todoist which is probably the single greatest app I've ever used. There's a desktop version and the app version which are constantly in sync with one another. My entire schedule is in there, along with all my to-do lists and grocery lists and deadlines and goals and bucket lists. You sort everything into various projects, like school and shopping and traveling and work. You can schedule things for one time occurrences, or for repeated occurrences (you literally type 'every fifth day at 10am' and it pops up) and you check off each item as you go. I like the idea of my life being organized into a to-do list, it's very manageable.

11. How soon do you check your phone in the morning?

Pretty much right away! For that first half hour while I lie in bed I look at my to-do list for the day, check out my plans for discovering whichever new city I'm in, look up directions on Google Maps, browse through my social media and reply to messages and emails I received throughout the night from people in different time zones.

12. What are your most important tasks in the morning?

Catching up on notifications and checking in with what's going on around the world, planning out my day's activities (hiking, exploring, museum hunting, seeing friends...!).

13. What and when is your first drink in the morning?

A big cup of tea with a spoonful of sugar for breakfast, plus getting started on my goal to drink 2L of water a day.

14. Do you also follow this routine on weekends, or do you change some steps?

There's no such thing as a weekend while you're traveling - every day blurs into the next and a Monday feels the same as a Saturday. If I can kick start every day the same, I'm always much more productive and energized to get out there and get going.

15. On days you're not settled in your home, are you able to adapt your routine to fit in with a different environment?

Well, I haven't been settled in a home since last December!

16. What do you do if you fail to follow your morning routine, and how does this influence the rest of your day?

Having basic steps to follow every morning gets me on track for my day. If I sleep in or am not organized or am not on top of work or don't eat well or haven't exercised the night before, I tend to be in a bad mood. Traveling is exhausting and takes a lot of energy and effort so it's important for me to keep my foundations intact so I can reap the rewards of this high-intensity lifestyle!

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