Ahh the infamous Mercury retrograde — not actually a time to be feared but rather used as reflection, reassessment, readjustment, and refinement (basically all the “re’s”). Mercury is the fast-moving planet that governs communication and travel, amongst other things, hence why when it visibly turns retrograde (which is really an illusion), it can cause all manner of technological and travel mishaps. But what if you simply can’t avoid travel during a Mercury retrograde and rescheduling isn’t an option? Read on for six tips on how to foolproof your travel plans!

What is Mercury retrograde?

Before we get into it, let’s discuss what a retrograde is. A planet is said to be in retrograde when it appears to be moving backwards from our vantage point on Earth due to our respective speeds. It’s actually an optical illusion. Because of this, and because Mercury rules the intellect, our thought patterns, and how we express ourselves too; we can feel a little foggy during this time, and miscommunication is possible — unless you were born during a Mercury retrograde in which case you might feel right at home!

Professional astrologer Nala Ferreira shares with Matador Network: “Mercury in Astrology rules communication, traveling, and transportation. When appearing to be moving backwards, those topics seem to go in disarray, and not functioning well during this time. When questioned about what can happen specifically to planning a trip, Ferreira says, “Travel can be particularly challenging, but nothing to be scared of, retrogrades aren’t the end of the world and you shouldn’t put your life on hold. Just make sure that you double-check the time of your flight, your documents, and plan ahead, but be flexible in case of delays or casual technological errors.”

When is Mercury retrograde in 2022?

Mercury typically stations retrograde three to four times a year, making it relatively common. The next motion starts on May 10 through to June 2. There are two more periods to keep in mind September 9 to October 2 and December 29 to January 18, 2023. Again, when this is happening, it is an invitation to slow down and bring awareness to our daily lives. Here is how you can move through it with ease.

1. Double check the details

While this may seem obvious, nothing is to be overlooked during Mercury retrograde. In fact, triple-check all the facts, details, dates, times, and information on everything. Again, if it is possible to literally move the date so it doesn’t fall during the Mercury retrograde period, then it could be beneficial to take that option.

Otherwise, keep on checking those figures (the same advice goes for signing new contracts, which Mercury also rules), and stay up to date on any changes and write important trip planning information out on paper as well as having it stored in your phone.

2. Check in with communication

You may be all up to scratch, but is everybody else on the same page? Everyone will be affected by a retrograde to differing degrees depending on their natal chart placements, and so while you may not feel the effects so much — other people you are traveling with might. Miscommunication is very possible during Mercury retrograde. This also goes for making sure you’ve understood correctly what someone is saying and that you are effectively expressing yourself in return.

3. Have a back up plan

What would happen if your flight got canceled, your car bursts a tire, or you do get the wrong date, time, etc.? When traveling during Mercury retrograde, it is more than wise to have a backup plan, or two, in case of sudden curveballs and changes to itineraries and schedules. What’s the worst that could happen, figure out what you might do if certain situations occurred and prepare.

4. Be prepared for delays

So your flight has been delayed for a few hours or your bus hasn’t shown up yet, what now? After you’ve re-informed yourself of any updates (it could also be beneficial to download relevant travel apps), you can use the time to your advantage! Be prepared with ample snacks, drinks, books, and charging appliances. If you know that traveling in general already makes you stressed, get a head start on stocking up with the things that help keep you calm. Perhaps that’s packing chamomile tea and lavender essential oil, or maybe you know that a certain crystal soothes your nerves or you love coloring books.

5. Get insurance

You should probably already have insurance when traveling, but especially during Mercury retrograde! If something is going to occur, you’ll be glad to be compensated for it. As mentioned Mercury retrograde also governs technology. The last thing you would want is for your camera to stop working on vacation or your phone to get lost while trying to navigate foreign neighborhoods. Same goes for backing up all your data or an important account before you leave home.

6. Use the time for reflection

If a travel delay or other issue does occur, perhaps you can use the time to meditate, listen to a podcast, do some journaling, or strike up a conversation with a stranger. Mercury, the planet of the mind, wouldn’t go retrograde so many times a year if there wasn’t a message in that for us to slow down and pay attention to the world in and around us. You can also use the time to research your final destination, which is always useful. Or, simply catch up on that Netflix series you were proactive about and downloaded before getting to the airport.

While it’s not always feasible, nor required, to readjust our lives around a planet’s movements, we can take the invitation to be a little more mindful of our actions during this period to (hopefully) avoid any mishaps. And if any travel blunders do occur, we can take them as an invitation to learn something about ourselves and the process too.