The 2020 Olympic games are in full swing and have me SO inspired to travel.
I love watching the national processions and seeing athletes giving their all for their country. But it also has me wondering: what must it be like to travel like an Olympian?
I caught up with Monica Aksamit, an American Saber Fencer, who won a bronze medal for the USA in the 2016 Olympics and who has been to 35 countries and counting. I asked her: how does one travel like an Olympian?
“It’s a lot, you sacrifice a lot to make the Olympics, from sleep to friendships and everything in between,” Aksamit said. “But it’s literally a dream come true to be able to make it happen.”
Here are her top tips on traveling like an Olympian.
- Organize Your Visas, Forms & Paperwork
The first thing that Olympians have to do is make sure that visas are lined up, and that the correct documents are secured. When it comes to packing, it’s a precise art form.
“I’m pretty particular about what I pack, and everything needs to go in a precise place, where I can reach it, whether it’s laptop chargers or documents. I always make sure I know exactly where my passport is,” Aksamit said.
2. Prioritize Wellness
In order for Olympians to be at their best, they need to prioritize their wellness. This means making sure that they are staying in properties that have healthy menus, or that they are in close proximity to healthy food.
Because they’re such stars, they also need to be extra careful to ensure the hotels where they stay are in safe locations and have security protocols in place.
3. Find Ways to Exercise
Staying in top shape while traveling is a priority for all athletes, so Aksamit says she always looks for properties that have gyms. If she can’t hit the gym, Aksamit finds ways to move her body, whether that means morning yoga flows in her hotel room or a quick run around the city.
4. Prioritize Sleep & Seek Quiet Moments
It’s not always easy for Olympians to find hotels that have comfortable beds that are large enough, so this is something that really takes a little extra bit of research.
Being in the right headspace is so important for Olympians — something Simone Biles brought to the forefront by withdrawing from her team finals just yesterday. To keep in the right mindset and to help counteract jet lag, try to utilize light-blocking shades in your hotel. Download a white noise app to your phone to help with sound sleep. If you can, seek out stillness in your day. Just 15 minutes of meditation or stillness can help set you up for a great day.
5. Eat Well & Have Fun
“Having a general concept of where you want to go and what you want to do is really important. That, of course, can always change at the last minute for athletes, but I try to do some research beforehand and I always talk to the local people. I ask people at reception where you recommend to eat and see.”
Olympians don’t always have time to explore new cities when they travel, as they mostly come to train and compete. But Aksamit loves to travel, so she always tries to squeeze in time to explore the area and enjoy local food.
If you’re traveling for business, to achieve your goals, or just to explore — have fun! Do what you came to do, but try to leave time and space to enjoy yourself and the destination, too.
Are you watching the Olympics? Is it making you want to travel? Let me know in the comments below!