Travel can enrich the soul and broaden horizons, opening our hearts and minds to new possibilities. In today’s busy world, however, it can be overwhelming for those of us who are empaths or sensitives.  Especially since we seem to sense and feel everything around us, and experience overwhelm easily. If your senses are on over-drive and your awareness is heightened, busy cities, chaotic airports and so much new stuff can send a highly sensitive person into meltdown. 

This article is about empath travel. It explores what it is like to be an empath when travelling and offers advice on tips for sensitive people to make your journey and stay easier.  

Empaths in fight or flight mode when travelling

As a sensitive person, you will likely at some point on the journey be kicked into fight or flight mode.

You might even talk yourself out of travelling at all. If you are anything like me you will easily find a thousand reasons to stay in your cosy safe space and find a perfectly valid reason to venture out.

Having to process the energy of so much new information ahead of time can be overwhelming. And then feeling the melting pot of other people’s energy when out and about requires special measures for us sensitive people. 

The good news is that there are quite a number of things that we can do to make sure that we are prepared. Let’s look at minimising hyper-stimulation and enjoying the ride.

Owning your sensitivity – embracing who you are

The first key to embracing empath travel is acknowledging to ourselves that we are sensitive – not fighting it.

It’s not about making our sensitivity go away.

It’s not about trying to be like other people.

Our sensitivity is our greatest gift.

Our sensitivity as an empath means that we can feel at incredible depths. Whilst this has its challenges, it can also have a huge upside. If we are able to surrender into the incredible beauty of new places, we will have a far more divine time than we could have imagined. However, it is important to remember that we have a different set of functionality rules compared to those who aren’t empaths.

The days are gone when we had to hide our gifts whilst trying to fit in. We are living in an era of authenticity and realness. This is about loving yourself and honouring your gifts!

Taking the pressure off ourselves – the balance between planning and spontaneity for empaths

Spontaneity can be super overwhelming for us sensitive folk. My advice? Plan as many things ahead as you can. This takes the pressure off hugely! Even if things need to be adapted as you go (and they almost certainly will), it means you have less to think about. This is a game changer for highly sensitive people. 

Whatever your reason for travel it likely involves some sort of organisation. This might involve flights, buses, car hire, accommodation or a change in weather/temperature.

So what do you bring?

What do you need to wear?

How do you get around?

Do you need a different currency?

Do you need to speak a different language?

What are you going to eat?

How do we find the best place to travel that would suit us?

These things can cause a lot of stress on our system. Although your stress levels will probably reduce dramatically if you give yourself a little space to allow plans to unfold with ease. Make it as easy on yourself as you can. Adjust your mindset to prepare yourself for the challenge.

With so many things to think about, it can help to be organised ahead of time. Take time to work out the essentials. As a travelling empath or highly sensitive person will help you to be more comfortable when you are there.

I see the planning all as part of the adventure. Personally, I find that it takes a lot of pressure off me so that I can be sure to relax into the whole experience as the trip happens.

How do I take the pressure off myself by travel planning?

  • I print off maps ahead of time so that I know where I am going. Something to ‘fall back on’ if things get topsy turvy.
  • I find out how I am going to get from A to B when I arrive at my destination too. Nothing worse than arriving in a foreign place and not knowing what to do on arrival.
  • Am I hiring a car or taking a bus during my stay? What do I need to know to make that run smoothly? If I am hiring a car for example, I’ll research a little about driving in the area I am going to and figure out how I can make it as easy as possible for myself. Every country has different considerations and sometimes it might be even better to take a taxi.
  • If I am taking the bus, I check the timetable and route ahead of time online (it’s helpful to know if the buses run only every few hours).
  • Healthy food is important to me. This means that I also check online to see if there are any health food stores or veggie restaurants in the vicinity and figure out how to get to them. I have used the Happy Cow App for years, it is super helpful to tell me where I can get good plant-based food all over the world. Before they had an app I used their website.
  • What is safety like where I am visiting? When travelling alone as a woman I want to know if it is safe to travel as a female. There are lots of places that are perfect for solo travellers. I am going to head for those and will look online to see where it might be good to travel on my own.
  • I often don’t like to plan my actual activities ahead, although I like to have an idea of what is possible. This means that I tend to buy a guidebook (or look online) so I can see what options might be available. It feels important to me to create space so that I am not ‘doing-doing-doing’ all of the time, but allowing for rest and relaxation. This is so good for us sensitive souls.
  • Something I love to do is hike in stunning places. I make sure that I am prepared for the various weather conditions (hot, cold, dry, wet), so I check out ahead of time to see what the climate is and what I might need to bring with me. Your nature of travel will determine what you need to check out ahead of time. 

It’s all about minimising the stressful factors

Basically, as empaths on the road, we need to make sure we plan enough ahead to take the pressure off ourselves. This means when we get there it will be much easier to relax and enjoy ourselves.

Planning isn’t about being fixed either, it just helps to even out the load so that we don’t end up feeling burdened with a million unforeseen details at the last minute. It’s about minimising stressful factors so that we don’t go into sensory overdrive. Crucial for empaths and sensitives! We can change or abandon plans that don’t feel right to us whenever we want. Planning simply allows us to feel relaxed enough so that can enjoy spontaneity whenever it feels right too. I love spontaneity, although I find that I ONLY enjoy it when I am not already on hyper-stimulation over-drive.

So finding the balance between planning to take the pressure off ourselves, yet knowing that we can change plans if it feels right to do something different when the moment arises – is really helpful for an empath on the road.

Empath travel: being in busy places

Airports and cities can be particularly chaotic for a highly sensitive person.

There will be lots of anxiety in the air as people fret over arrangements, plans and problems that arise – and if you are an empath, you’ll feel it all!

Remember to ground yourself, no matter where you are

I know that I can become particularly ungrounded in busy places, so if I sense that it may become too much, I’ll take a moment, close my eyes and feel (or visualise) my connection to Mother Earth through my feet. That alone can make a massive difference.

Here is a super easy grounding mediation that you can do by visualising Mother Earth and grounding:
Grounding meditation for empaths

It’s important to draw your empath boundaries

I also make a conscious effort to draw my boundaries. Asserting boundaries can be as simple as bringing awareness to them ‘this is me and everything outside is not me’.

If it is really busy and there is no chance of peace and quiet, then I put my headphones on and listen to my favourite music (this is an excellent way of creating a personal boundary as you attune to the inspiring vibes of the music rather than everyone else around you). I regularly find quiet spots to recharge too, whenever possible, where there are fewer people. In the city, I will seek out any green or natural places. I will visit them whenever I need to re-balance or recharge. I must admit that when travelling I do tend to naturally avoid busy cities wherever possible (or visit them only briefly).

For an in-depth guide on boundaries for empaths look at this article here:
7 boundary exercises for empaths and sensitive people

Tips for managing energies in busy places as an empath when travelling

  1. Make a conscious effort to draw your boundaries, by simply bringing awareness to them.
  2. Use an ‘Instant Calm’ meditation technique for breathing in peace and calm whilst breathing out any tension or stress. Check out my video here for a very simple technique that you can use at any time or any place: How to find instant calm wherever you are
  3. Draw an invisible chalk line around yourself to keep unwanted energies out (whilst still allowing supportive ‘universal life energy’ to flow through as usual).
  4. Put headphones on and listen to your favourite, inspiring music to help zone out from the busyness outside of you.
  5. Find quiet spots to recharge and use them regularly.
  6. Seek out green places, gardens, and woodlands to rejuvenate and raise your vibration.

Five empath travel tips for flights

Flights aren’t always the most comfortable of experiences. As an empath, it’s helpful to take measures to make sure that you are as comfortable as possible. On a flight, you’ll be in close proximity to a lot of people and there is just no escaping it.

Comfort is not just a luxury, it helps to keep your own energy in check so that you are better able to deal with the more challenging experiences of feeling everyone’s energy.

Here are some tips for dealing with flights…

  1. Take earplugs. They may not block the noise out completely, but they tone it down and allow for a more restful experience.
  2. Drink plenty of water. On a flight, you may be tempted to drink less so that you aren’t up and down to the loo all the time. However, flights dehydrate us rapidly, which causes unnecessary stress on our system. Staying dehydrated helps us to stay centred and balanced. If you are concerned about going to the loo and not wanting to clamber over other people, be sure to select an aisle seat in advance.
  3. Bring your own food if necessary. If you think that the in-flight food won’t agree with your system, be sure to bring your own. Being prepared can take the stress out of the journey. Eating well when travelling also helps to keep your energy rejuvenated and fresh. Eating nutritious food is important to help control our mood.
  4. Wear comfortable clothing. It sounds obvious, but if you forget, you’ll be uncomfortable, making for an unpleasant trip. Being comfortable will help preserve yourself so that you have more energy to deal with other more challenging ’empath’ things that might come up.
  5. Make a conscious effort with boundaries. This is definitely possible no matter how close you are to other people. You can comfortably withdraw into yourself on a flight by closing your eyes whenever you want. Use soothing music on your mp3 player if it helps to help zone everything else out and focus internally. Breathe in peace and calm and exhale and tension.

Thanks for tuning in. I do hope that some of the tips in this article have been helpful.

Please let me know in the comments if you have any more advice that you can share to others reading this.

with love