Who knew clicking the “Book Now!” button could be so stressful? After all, you’re going on vacation to escape the stress, right?
But, somehow, its sneaky tentacles are already wrapping around you.
Our advice? Click that button, anyway. We have 10 tried-and-true ways to avoid stress on the magical vacation you’ve always dreamed of.
Let’s give the owner of those tentacles a good kick and, in the meantime, start shaking off the Travel Stress Monster before he makes a comeback. Read on for your personal travel-stress defense training.
10 Ways to Avoid Stress While Traveling
Over half of Americans return from vacations without the nourished, refreshed feelings a getaway is supposed to inspire. Almost a third wrestle with anxieties over work-related issues while they are vacationing.
So how are travelers expected to let their worries sail away? Our 10 tricks can provide just the wind you need to send those anxieties whirling into outer space.
1. Stick to a Budget
One of the biggest reasons individuals experience travel stress is the expenses.
So travel the smart way: on a budget.
Purchase tickets in the off-peak seasons. Stay in hostels or check Airbnb for discounted prices. Find out how much you can spend on the time away altogether and portion it out, reserving some for necessary tickets, some for meals and some for recreation.
If you have a bad habit of overspending, consider taking out cash in small portions and keeping track of it on your phone or on paper.
Doing it this way ensures you won’t have the added stress of expenses hanging over you, ruining your chance to relax and have fun.
2. Check, Check and Check
Make a checklist. Seriously.
Start several months in advance. Keep a file on your cell or have a notepad sitting out on your desk or some other place you’ll see it every day so you continually add to the list.
Within a couple of weeks, you’ll have a long list of “to-do”s. Organize the thoughts into a checklist. Consider making lists for:
- Reminders for when you return
- Reminders or instructions for anyone watching the house, pets or kids
Once you’re done, you’ll find you made a list of pretty much everything you need to remember. Once it’s all organized into categories, the gnawing worry you’re forgetting something will dissipate.
3. One Foot in Front of the Other
At some point, the seemingly endless planning is going to be overwhelming. Before the stress takes hold, utilize your lists to space everything that needs to be done out.
By portioning out the planning and taking small steps, you’ll feel much less worried.
This period may take a few months. During this time, be sure to discuss plans with those traveling with you, places everyone wants to visit and any special requests.
4. Light Reading
If you really want to avoid stress, go to the library or purchase a short travel guide online about your destination. This will help you become more acquainted with the area, culture, and customs.
These informational booklets will discuss common attractions, necessary vaccines, and important laws or safety concerns. Most guides will even provide helpful foreign phrases.
5. Pack With Your Head . . . Not With Everything in the House
Do you really need 10 pairs of shoes or an entire Playstation?
Keep the packing simple. If you’re on a real vacation, you won’t spend too much time in your room.
Pack clothing that is appropriate for the area and comfortable. Don’t worry; that doesn’t mean fashion is out of the window. You can view here to see what we mean.
Don’t forget necessary toiletries, chargers, medications and traveling documents.
6. Someone’s Home, We Swear
Well in advance, ask a close friend or relative to house sit, watch the kids or take care of the kitties and pups. After all, most people won’t be apt to leave behind a mischevious child who will fend away thieves.
Tips for keeping the home safe include:
- Not posting to social media about the vacation
- Informing neighbors you’ll be away
- Hiring a service to check in on the house
- Leaving a light on inside the house so it appears someone’s home
7. Preparing for Liftoff
Don’t let a delayed flight or a long line ruin your vacation. Arrive at the airport with about two hours to get on the plane.
Carry a good book, game or another form of entertainment with you to hold your attention (and your children’s if the little ones are with you). Instead of viewing delays as a hassle, see it as a chance to relax.
After all, you’re not working.
On top of entertainment, keep an extra pair of clothing inside your carry-on in case of cancellations and have the airport baggage claim’s number handy in case of lost luggage.
Finally, bring food you can eat while waiting. When that blood sugar gets low, travelers become walking tigers.
8. Get Acquainted with Uncertainty
No matter how much you plan, events beyond your control will occur.
Learn what works for you in the face of a tense situation. Try breathing exercises, yoga or morning meditation.
By practicing stress-reducing techniques before the vacation, you’ll learn how to face new situations without feeling overwhelmed.
9. Make a List of Things You’re Excited About
Right before the vacation, stress skyrockets. People worry about getting enough hours in at work and have panic attacks about the pile-up of bills waiting for them when they get back.
To divert the anxiety, make a list of everything you’re excited for concerning the vacation. Look at it every day to remind yourself of all the positive things waiting for you.
10. Dream Ahead
The end-of-vacation blues are no joke. Getting back to the real world can be a huge joy kill.
If you’re susceptible to feeling the stress return on the last few days of traveling or when you arrive home, start brainstorming for the next vacation. Make a journal of possibilities.
At home, have something waiting for you that will get you excited about coming back, perhaps a night out with your besties or a romantic date with your significant other. Whatever it may be, it will give you something to look forward to upon your return.
Relaxation A La Carte
Pick and choose the techniques that work for you in order to enjoy a stress-free vacation. But keep in mind there are many ways to avoid stress, and several of them require some practice.
Are you ready to beat The Stress Monster? Give these 10 stress-beating tips a whirl and prepare for the most relaxing vacation of your life.