8 Tips to Reduce Travel Stress
May 16, 2019 | Published by Brandon Hoenisch
With summer on the horizon, vacation season has officially arrived. Unfortunately, even time we set aside to relax can bring its own stressors. Here are 8 travel stress relieving tips to help make your vacation the relaxing trip you deserve.
Consider your work schedule
If working a fulltime job, it can sometimes be difficult to find time in your busy work schedule to take time off for travel. Consider taking your trip during a period of downtime at your work to relieve some of the stress of coworkers. If you’re consistently busy at work, find a time that others may not also be taking off. Avoid busy holiday seasons in lieu of less busy periods such as spring. Also, think about taking some extra time to decompress before going back to work. Take a day or two to adjust to being back to “real life”. Run some errands, take a nice bath, and get a good night’s sleep to get back in the groove before heading back to work. (1)
Put together some pre-travel lists
One way to minimize stress is by making several before-travel to-do lists. Things to pack, stuff to do around the house, and getting prepared for the day of your flight can all be major stressors if not planned out ahead of time. Even just writing things down as you think of them in advance can alleviate that feeling of forgetting something before you leave.
Pack an extra suitcase
If you’re a frequent traveler, having a separate suitcase packed can make you feel like you’re already ahead of the game. Keeping a set of “travel clothes” along with toiletries like toothpaste, shampoo, and deodorant can save you the time and energy of shopping and doing laundry when you no longer have time. (2)
Plan ahead financially
The stress if not being financially prepared for your trip can be one of the biggest stressors while traveling. (3) Plan to save and stick to a sensible budget that you’re comfortable with well before you’re to leave. If traveling internationally, be sure to research conversion rates and price differences of things you may need. You can even find coupons online for things like museums, tours, and restaurants. (4)
Look into TSA PreCheck or Global Entry
For many of us, airport of the 21st century can be the most stressful part of our trip. Thankfully, options such as TSA PreCheck and Global Entry are options for expediting the time it takes to get from the airport entrance to the gate. (5) For a fee, you gain access to a much shorter line and can skip the drill of taking off your shoes and belt while digging any electronics out of your luggage.
Relax during your downtime
While getting to the airport at least two-to-three hours early can be a significant stress saver, occasionally things can go smoothly, and you find yourself with extra time on your hands. Take advantage of what may be a rare moment of downtime by allowing yourself to unwind. Listen to a podcast or some relaxing music, read a book, take a nap, or do some meditating. You may find yourself in an improved headspace before your flight.
Work on destressing before your trip
Getting into a comfortable headspace at home can prepare you for a more relaxed journey. Exercise, healthy eating, meditation, yoga, and creative endeavors are all excellent ways of achieving an improved mindset before you take off.
Plan something exciting for when you get home
It can sometimes be difficult to acclimate to life after getting back from a vacation or trip. Something you’ve been anticipating for months has come and gone, and with nothing to look forward to on the horizon, jumping back into your old routine can be discouraging. Having an event or trip to look forward to when you get home can bring some relief to the notion of revisiting your old routine, so make plans to do something fun. This could be planning another vacation to go on, or something as small as a date night, or going to a movie you’ve been waiting for.
It’s important to keep in mind that taking a trip is supposed to decrease your stress levels, not add to them. If you ever feel anxious or overwhelmed, take some time to close your eyes, practice some belly breathing, and recall the things you were excited to experience in the first place.