7 Key Considerations for the Setting of a Psychedelic Trip

The physical environment you trip in, known as the “setting”, can make or break your psychedelic experience. While your inner mindset also plays a key role, the external space literally contains the journey about to unfold. Setting intentionality with your surroundings is as important as setting intentionality with your headspace when manifesting a safe, meaningful trip.

That’s why taking time to craft the ideal setting is essential preparation for any psychedelic voyage. When external conditions harmonize with your inner world, profound transformation can occur. The space should offer sanctuary to relax into any effects and express whatever emerges within. By contrast, chaotic or unsafe settings can trigger anxiety and “bad trips.”

When curating your ideal environment, aim to minimize surprises and maximize comfort. Eliminate any jarring elements that could disturb the transformational process. Fill the space with softness, beauty and wonder to delight the senses. Appoint a sober guide to hold space if possible.

With proper care in designing the set and setting, you allow magic to blossom from within rather than reacting to circumstances. Set the stage to let your inner journey unfold with fluidity and grace. This guide will address key considerations when preparing your ideal physical environment for a psychedelic trip. Let’s create space for meaningful awakening and healing.

When external conditions harmonize with your inner world, profound transformation can occur.

Choose Your Location Wisely

Indoors vs Outdoors

An indoor private space like your home or apartment is often ideal for your first psychedelic trip. Being in a comfortable, familiar environment allows you to relax and control the setting. With an indoor location, you can:

  • Create ideal lighting, music, and other environmental factors
  • Prevent disruptions by locking doors and limiting access
  • Avoid interactions with strangers
  • Have quick access to water, food, and other supplies
  • Remain sheltered if the weather shifts unexpectedly

However, experiencing psychedelics outdoors surrounded by nature can also be profoundly healing. The fresh air and natural serenity can promote a deeper connection. If venturing outside, look for:

  • A secure, legal private location like your backyard or a secluded park
  • An easily accessible indoor area in case you need to go inside
  • Sufficient supplies for the duration of your trip
  • A space free from dangerous terrain like cliffs, lakes, etc.

Private vs Public

For your first journey, prioritize private spaces over public areas. Psychedelics make you more sensitive to energies and overstimulation. The openness and unknown factors of public spaces can cause anxiety. A private location allows you to:

  • Control the environment without disruptions
  • Feel fully secure and comfortable
  • Explore inner realms uninhibited
  • Follow intuition on activities or movement without judgement

However, some public spaces like certain parks or beaches can also be fitting if you take precautions:

  • Go during off-peak hours when less crowded
  • Have a trusted guide to assist you
  • Ensure the area is legal for psychedelic use
  • Have an exit plan if the space becomes overstimulating

Craft Your Ideal Environment

The details of your setting help facilitate a smooth, insightful trip. Craft an environment tailored to your needs and intentions to get the most out of the experience.

Remove any clutter or mess from the space to minimize visual distractions. Play calming, ambient music if desired, but avoid jarring sounds. Keep lighting soft and indirect – string lights, candles (if safe!), or natural light from windows work well.

Make the space ultra-comfortable with pillows, blankets, bean bags or a mattress on the floor. Psychedelics amplify bodily sensations, so soft textures feel soothing. Have eye masks, headphones, and cosy clothing on hand too.

Incorporate elements from nature like fresh flowers, houseplants, and fruit. Natural substances heighten the senses and remind you of life’s fleeting beauty. Step outside periodically if tripping at home.

Art supplies like coloured pencils, clay, and notebooks provide healthy creative outlets for visions or epiphanies. Set the intention to channel insights into artistic expression.

To focus your journey, you may create an altar space (if that is your thing) with spiritual artefacts, photos, stones, incense or candles. Rituals like meditation, chanting, or tea ceremonies can deepen the meaning.

For trips with others, provide enough room for people to move about separately if needed. Set up zones for music, art, relaxation, and introspection. Let the space evolve organically as the experience unfolds.

Crafting an intentional environment allows your inner process to flow unobstructed. Make your space a sanctuary where you feel safe, held, and inspired to release anything wishing to emerge from within.

Make the space super-duper-comfortable.

Appoint a Sober Guide

Having an experienced, trusted guide or sitter during your trip provides an invaluable anchor to the present moment. Their sober presence reassures safety so you can fully surrender to the psychedelic headspace.

The guide is there to hold space, not control the experience. Beforehand, communicate your needs and intentions so they can assist skillfully. If possible, they should prepare some of the space and help minimize outside disruptions.

Qualities to look for in a sitter:

  • Trustworthy, responsible, and cares about your wellbeing
  • Familiar with psychedelic experiences
  • Patient, empathetic, and a good listener
  • Calm and even-keeled in challenging situations
  • Willing to assist while allowing you to guide the process
  • Can oversee safety and provide emotional support
  • Sober from drugs and alcohol

A guide’s composed, caring energy can steer trips in a positive direction. And their grounded presence reminds you that you’re safe, should challenging emotions arise. Having a sitter creates optimal conditions for healing.

The guide is there to hold space, not control the experience.

Minimize External Interruptions

To create a serene “set and setting” for a psychedelic trip, minimising external distractions and interruptions is vital. These could divert your focus from the inner journey.

Turn off cell phones (or go in flight mode – you’re already going on a journey to outer space) to reduce digital distractions. Shut down televisions, radios, and other electronics.

Inform housemates or roommates that you are “indisposed” for the duration and request privacy. Place a “Do Not Disturb” sign on your door if you live with others that might unexpectedly run inside. Ask that people who might contact you today only contact your guide in a true emergency.

If you have children, arrange for them to stay with family or friends during your session. The psychedelic space is not safe or appropriate for them. Secure childcare ahead of time.

Block off ample time in your schedule with no work duties, appointments, or other commitments. Clear your calendar to immerse in the experience fully. Set the intention to go inward without distractions.

Psychedelics amplify your sensitivity to energies around you. Minimizing outer interruptions allows your consciousness to travel uninhibited into visionary dimensions within. Protect your sacred inner journey.

External distractions and interruptions can divert your focus from the inner journey.

Stock Up on Supplies

Psychedelic journeys can be unpredictable, so it’s wise to stock your space with any supplies you might need throughout your trip. This prevents having to seek items out when in an altered state. Stock up on these essentials (from most to least necessary):

  • Water – Keep hydrated with water bottles or a pitcher with cup. Dehydration can occur.
  • Fresh fruits and foods – Cut up fruits and veggies for easy snacks during. Avoid heavy meals beforehand.
  • Soft tissues or toilet paper – Psychedelics can open emotional floodgates. Have tissues on hand.
  • Trash can or bags – Clean up any mess without hassle. Staying organized reduces stress.
  • Notebook and pens – For journaling revelations during the trip or stream-of-consciousness writing.
  • Eye masks or sleep masks – For tuning out visuals during introspective moments.
  • Comfort items like stuffed animals, blankets – For soothing any moments of anxiety.
  • Music players, headphones – For curating soundscapes to match the trip phases.
  • Art supplies like coloured pens, modelling clay – For expressing the ineffable through creativity.
  • Candles, incense, essential oils – For setting ambience with scent.
  • Fresh flowers, fruit slices – Natural elements to spark awe.
  • Healthy snacks like nuts, crackers – Having energy-boosting snacks on hand prevents fatigue.
  • Battery packs, extra batteries – Keep music players and lights powered up.
  • Hand sanitiser, wet wipes – Stay fresh when unable to shower or bathe during.
  • Lavender or CBD balm – For soothing tension headaches or body aches during comedown.
  • Portable speaker – For listening to music out loud instead of isolated headphones.
  • Chewing gum – Helps ground you during challenging moments.

Having supplies easily accessible ensures you can follow the flow of the psychedelic trail without interruptions.

Safety First

Safety should always come first when preparing your space for a psychedelic journey. While these substances offer incredible healing potential, respecting their power is paramount.

Remove hazardous objects from the space, like sharp tools, fragile glass, or anything that could cause harm if handled incorrectly. Secure weapons (the obvious like firearms but also bows and other unlikely weapons), chemical cleaners, or toxic materials.

If indoors, check for tripping hazards like rugs, wires, and clutter on the floor. You may be moving about unconventionally. Tuck away breakables too.

Outdoors, scout your location ahead of time. Avoid areas with dangerous terrain like cliffs, caves, steep hills, or water without a sober guide. Consider potential wildlife encounters too.

Make sure the space is hygienic. Remove trash, dirty dishes, and stale or mouldy food that could become nauseating.

Emergency phone numbers like medical services or a psychedelic-friendly therapist are available (e.g., Fireside Project, which offers phone and text-based help). Write down the address of your location too. Hopefully needed for emergencies only.

Your guide should know basic first aid protocols, preferably be CPR certified, and educate you on harm reduction beforehand. Discuss contingency plans.

While uncommon, very challenging emotional reactions can occur. Remove objects like knives or matches that could be misused when judgment is impaired.

With proper care and supervision, psychedelics can be used safely. Let your guide handle any minor risks so your journey remains smooth.

Finishing Touches

After preparing your ideal set and setting, add some finishing touches to elevate the space into a sacred psychedelic sanctuary. These elements smooth the transition into expanded states of awareness.

Take a moment of silence to set your inner intention before ingesting your psychedelic.

If you wish, burn palo santo, sage, or cleansing incense to invite in fresh perspectives. You can “smudge” the space by fanning smoke into corners and doorways.

Play relaxing instrumental music in the background to achieve a calm, uplifting ambience. Enchanting sounds stimulate senses primed by psychedelics.

Dim the lights and illuminate the space with candles (again, if safe), string lights or paper lanterns. Psychedelic visuals shine brighter in lower lighting.

Arrange freshly cut flowers, aromatic plants, feathers, crystals or other natural artefacts to delight the eye and inspire.

Prepare comfortable seating, altars, artwork, or any other particular set-up so it’s ready to go at the start. This way, you can ease right into the experience.

Finally, take a moment of silence to set your inner intention before ingesting your psychedelic. Express gratitude and willingness to learn anything the journey presents.

When the external space feels nurturing, the inner realms bloom freely. Mindfully curate your setting to manifest insight and healing. Let the psychedelics guide you home.


Lotte and Floris are the two guides for FLO Coaching. We combine our years of coaching & therapy to help people experience a (first) guided psychedelic trip.

We uniquely focus on preparation and integration to provide long-term positive changes in mind and behaviour.

Assistance is provided by Max and Saar, though our dogs haven't yet learned to write for the blog 🐾