I enjoy going to the airport and just watching people. It doesn’t take long to come to the conclusion that traveling can be very stressful. Most people are in a hurry, feeling rushed to get to where they want to be. And if it’s not the parents yelling at each other, the kids will certainly express their dissatisfaction vocally, emitting all the tension in the family vacation thus far. That tension often starts right from the planning stage, building up to the time you are leaving – or worse: coming back. Contrary to popular belief, stress does not have to ruin your trip.
Here’s some simple tips to help you eliminate most of the travel related stress.
There is nothing to replace good planning. To ensure that your travel will be stress-free, make sure that your flights and hotel accommodations are booked and confirmed. This will put you at ease knowing that getting stuck somewhere is unlikely and there will be no surprises at the checkin counter when you’re finally at your destination.
I often like to arrange for ground transportation before arriving so I know there’s someone waiting for me when I arrive. You can get a limo driver to wait for you in almost all airports, which can be cheaper than a taxi or shuttle service (I wrote an article about that). If you plan to use a taxi, bring the address of the hotel on a piece of paper so you can give it to the taxi driver which often eliminates confusion.
Be prepared to get lost
Remember that you are in a foreign country and unless you have already traveled there before, you’ll feel at least a little lost on arrival with no way of knowing how to get around. Getting lost is probably the biggest nightmare for travelers.
Before embarking on your trip, buy a travel book with maps and some useful phrases that you can use with the locals. My favourite is still Lonely Planet – I have one for every destination I’ve visited or plan to visit. Always make sure you have a credit card, identification papers (and copies) and enough money to get around in case you get lost. It is also a good idea to ask your hotel for a business card which you can show to locals when you ask for directions.
By being aware of the fact that you can get lost, you can better prepare and be ready for it when it happens. For me getting lost is part of my travel experience. As I share in my travel hacking book – From a safety perspective, even if you have no clue where you’re going, it’s important to make sure you never look like you’re actually lost.
Keep the communication open
One of the reasons I get away is because I want to be away and leave it all behind. Even though I enjoy being completely disconnected from the outside world sometimes, it’s important to know who you can call if you need to before you need to. With today’s technology, staying in touch is easy. Even if your hotel charges for internet access, it’s usually available for free nearby at a McDonalds or Starbucks.
Eat local cuisine
Eating on time can be a welcome break to minimize travel stress! Treat yourself to local foods and stay away from familiar places you already know from home. Be adventurous and have fun in local restaurants. Before leaving, ask your friends who might have already traveled to your destinations if they can make any recommendations. If not, hotel staff can also help you find your next meal, but don’t get tricked into eating in the hotel restaurant. When you’re there, don’t hesitate to ask for the house specialty and enjoy! Read my article on eating like a local when you’re traveling here.
Keep a travel journal
Writing down your experiences during your travel will not only preserve the memories, it will also help you relieve stress. Describe the sights that you have seen, the places that you have been to, even the people you have met. Get small keepsakes from each experience, a napkin from the restaurant where you have eaten, a receipt from a souvenir shop, a bus ticket going to a special place. This will keep the magic of your travel with you – and it will help should you ever decide to write a book. Keeping a travel journal on my trip to Asia is what eventually got me to write my first book, so you’ll never know where it might lead you next.
Looking to get more travel tips? My travel book shows a new approach to travel as a lifestyle. Travel has countless benefits to all areas of life, and they are available to everyone. This book has been called the liberating blueprint for finding freedom and happiness in your traveling life.Get the book