Most of us love to travel to new and distant places, but many of us also hate the actual physical process of traveling. For a lot of us, traveling is a means to an end, and a stressful one at that, but it doesn’t have to be that way! There are lots of things you can do to ensure stress-free travel, including the following:
Write a list of everything you’ll need
One of the most stressful aspects of traveling is often ensuring that you have everything you need, so it makes sense to do a little travel planning before you head off. One of the best forms of travel planning is to write a list of everything you will need to bring with you so that you can simply check every item off the list as you pack it, and then you won’t spend the whole flight worrying that you’ve forgotten something, nor will you end up in a panic on the morning of your trip because you feel like you have forgotten something important!
Have a place for everything
While we’re on the subject of packing, as well as writing a list to ensure you don’t forget anything, you should also think about ensuring that you have a place for everything when you pack. If you know exactly where every item in your luggage lives then you will no longer be forced to rake through your suitcases or carry-ons to find that passport or your sunglasses because you will know exactly where it is located, and that alone will give you far more peace than usual on your next trip. Packing cubes are great for this.
Plan your outfits
Some people find that planning the outfits they will wear on their travels is a good way to know exactly what to pack, and that they don’t pack too much and have to struggle with their suitcases, which can be pretty stressful. So, sit down and think about the activities you will be doing and work out a wardrobe that will cover all eventualities without requiring you to pack too much. Check the weather so you bring appropriate attire.
Keep valuables in your carry-on
If you’re traveling with anything that is valuable, it’s a really good idea to keep it in your carry-on. By doing this, you will know that it is always by your side, so you won’t spend all of your travel time preoccupied with thinking about it and if it is still secure. It also means that if your checked luggage gets delayed or lost you will still have the most important items.
Leaving early might not seem like the most exciting option ahead of a day packed with airports and travel when you could spend a little more time in bed, but if you’re serious about taking the stress out of traveling, you are going to want to do it anyway. If you can give yourself an hour or two more than you need to comfortably travel to the airport, check-in and so on, then even if you do end up getting a little behind, chances are you will still have plenty of time to get where you need to be when you need to be there, which means fewer frantic situations where you’re rushing around getting more and more stressed and blowing up at each other, and that means that you will have a much happier, calmer start to your vacation. Have a plan for getting to the airport, if needed.
Check out a map before you travel
It’s always a good idea to get your bearings BEFORE you are actually in the process of traveling. That way, you will already have a good idea of which road you will need to take or where the hotel is located. If necessary print out directions in case you don’t have service where you are headed. Traveling to the airport and from the airport to your destination is often the most stressful part of any trip, so if you can do as much of it virtually before the main event, you can hopefully alleviate a lot of your stress.
Get plenty of sleep
Sleep and stress are inextricably linked, so if you want to give yourself the best chance of a stress-free trip, ensure that you get enough sleep the night before. If you are going to be traveling long-haul, and especially if you are going to be traveling overnight, you may also want to pack a sleep mask, earplugs and a travel pillow so you can get some sleep on the journey and avoid feeling groggy, overtired and snappy.
Do as much in advance as possible
Leaving things until the last minute is a primary cause of travel stress, too, so ideally, it is something that you should never do if you can help it. This means packing a few days in advance, washing any clothes you would like to wear, checking that you have all of the documents you need and ensuring you know the journey well as mentioned above. If you’re really organized, you could do all of this stuff as much as a week in advance, which would really help you to relax ahead of the big day. Be sure if you have all boxes checked, like hiring a pet sitter if needed, for example.
Go with the flow
Expecting your trip to go 100 percent smoothly and as planned is a sure-fire way to end up stressed and disappointed. Life just isn’t like that! So, if you can learn to plan for everything you can plan for, but also to go with the flow when things don’t quite happen as expected, you will stand a much better chance of having a fun, fulfilling trip with no stress and no drama at all. Yes, it might rain when you didn’t expect it to or your flight may be delayed three hours, but just focus on how much fun you’ll have when you’re sitting on the beach with a cool cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other!
As you can see, it really is possible to take much of the stress out of traveling, it’s just a matter of being ready for everything that comes your way and planning as much as you can in advance. Have a great trip!