ADHD and Travel: Why Packing for a Trip Challenges ADHD Adults.

 In Organizing ADHD

Trip Challenges

Combining ADHD and travel can lead to a major case of overwhelm. Writing about why packing for a trip challenges ADHD adults presented itself to me loud and clear today!

First, one of my ADHD coaching clients told me about a nightmare she had last night, “Dana, you know how hard packing a suitcase is for me. Well, last night I dreamed I was packing over and over while two of my problem employees argued about what to take on the vacation.”

My next client shot me a text desperate for packing tips for a cruise she’s leaving on this weekend. (Why don’t my clients ever take me on their exciting vacations? I’m loads of fun to have around and don’t take up much space in a suitcase!)

Always ready to help out my clients, I jumped on Google to see what tips I could find about ADHD and travel packing where I discovered this great site: It’s loaded with great packing tips which can easily be tweaked for ADHD! And, with the start of vacation season looming, I have a feeling many of my ADHD coaching clients will struggle with the same challenge.

Four Reasons Why Packing for a Trip Challenges ADHD Adults

Psst! In the next blog, I’ll share terrific tips on packing for a trip if you have Attention Deficit, so be sure to watch for next week’s post!

1. Packing Requires Planning

In case you haven’t noticed, planning isn’t exactly a strength for most of the Adult ADHD world. Smart packing doesn’t leave a lot of room for impulsivity: you must know where you’re going, what you’re doing, and even check the weather forecast.

Will you be lounging by a pool? Hiking? Attending business meetings? All of the above? The options are often endless and sometimes trips combine both business and pleasure activities making travel planning a nightmare for ADHD adults.

2. Packing Requires Decision-Making

Decisions come hard for ADHD adults and packing a suitcase means decisions galore! “What outfit do I wear Saturday night?” and “How much can I fit into my suitcase?” are just two of many decisions you’ll have to make before you leave.

The typical approach for most ADHD adults is to pack their entire wardrobe. The last time I went on a cruise I packed enough outfits to change my clothes six times a day. Nope, I’m not kidding… Since then, I’ve learned of my own Adult ADHD diagnosis and teach others how to cope with situations like the one I’ve just mentioned through ADHD Coaching.

3. Trip Packing Takes Organization

Isn’t organization one of the biggest struggles of Attention Deficit? Have you ever arrived at a hotel room, opened up your suitcase and discovered that someone (you) detonated a small bomb inside of it. You then have to dig for a pair of shorts, find a matching (now wrinkled) top, and… you know you put a pair of socks in there somewhere (didn’t you?)… By the time you’ve found everything your hotel room looks like someone (you) exploded a bomb in it.

This explosion style of packing is neither efficient nor helpful for an ADHD adult. Organizing your suitcase not only eliminates a need to iron while on vacation (or walk out wearing a wrinkled shirt!), but it means less stress while dressing.

4. Trip Packing is Best Done in Advance

Okay, honestly, I’ve rarely packed before the very last minute. My ADHD brain needs that deadline of leaving for the airport before it clicks into gear. This is a true testament to Adult ADHD!

The trick is finding a balance. Doing some planning and decision-making in advance so you can push against that deadline without your house of cards falling down.

Next week we’ll discuss packing tips and techniques that will help you plan, make decisions, organize, and even pack in advance!

Tell me, do you have any thoughts about ADHD and travel and why packing for a trip challenges ADHD Adults? I want to hear from you!

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