Do you keep a bag packed so you can jet off at a moment’s notice or do you prefer staying home except for those carefully researched and planned annual trips? For many, traveling is also a part of their job description which might make it something to endure rather than enjoy.
Traveling is something I enjoy and I’m grateful that it often includes time with family and close friends. I’m also fortunate that my schedule allows me the flexibility to appreciate my time away without anxiety about what I might be missing or what isn’t getting done at home.
If travel is on your wish list or if it’s a part of your life (whether you like it or not) it doesn’t have to fill you with anxiety. Here are my 6 favorite tips to ensure that travel is stress-free.
Plan Ahead: If you travel often for business or pleasure, it pays to plan ahead. Packing and taking care of arrangements are unavoidable and rushing doesn’t make it any easier. Schedule your prep time like an appointment if you need to so that you have adequate time to prepare.
Keep Things Simple: I love having options, but I’ve learned that airline travel goes much better when I keep things streamlined. Find a way to minimize how much you need to take with you. Can you get by with one pair of shoes (other than those you wear on the plane) and fewer accessories? Pack clothes that don’t need loads of extra care and take only what you need.
Note: When traveling by car, I am less disciplined about this. I often take extra things that would never make the cut otherwise.
Take Care of Your Health: Getting sick is never fun, especially when traveling. Give yourself the best chance of feeling well by getting plenty of rest and staying hydrated. Airplanes, buses, trains and shuttles are full of others with their own germs and health issues. Your best bet is controlling your environment as best you can. Keep your hands clean and use antibacterial wipes in public spaces. You’ll also benefit from getting a good night’s sleep or even taking a short nap if you are changing time zones.
All Things in Moderation: Being out of town probably means eating out more often but it’s not a good idea to go overboard. Enjoy your meals but be aware when you find yourself making big changes in your diet. If you end up eating and drinking more than normal, it can be a recipe for feeling sluggish, or even dealing with heartburn or indigestion. Not how you want to feel when you are away from home.
Know Your Budget: No one wants to count pennies on vacation, but it’s a good idea to have a budget. Plan what you’ll spend on meals and incidentals especially if it your trip doesn’t include an all inclusive hotel package. It can be easy to plop down a credit card (which is a safe way to handle travel expenses) without paying attention to the total. Know what you’ll need for taxi’s, resort fees and rental car add-ons. Surprises can create stress. Knowing what you’ll need in advance also means you might be able to pre-pay at a lower price as well.
Be Flexible: Even the best plan can go awry due to things you can’t control. The weather, flight cancellations, construction, closures and other unexpected changes happen. It’s part of traveling so be ready and have a plan B and even a Plan C to make sure you can adapt without having a panic attack or losing sleep.
It’s a big world with lots to see and do. Travel can be fun, but you’re also likely to find yourself in unfamiliar territory now and then. Have a few go-to resources that can keep you centered and enjoy the journey!