5 Tips for Stress-Free Travel
Traveling can be really stressful or a total breeze. The difference is in how you plan your trip. If you pack the night before, it doesn’t allow enough time to shop for any last minute items that you may need. Or if you forget to book a ride to the airport, you’ll worry about how to get there. Here are some tips to plan your trip in advance for less stress and more productivity.
1) Research and Create an Itinerary
Are you going somewhere completely unfamiliar? If so, what do you want to see there? Make a list of the places you want to visit. Look up where they are in relation to where you’re staying and map them out accordingly. Often, places you want to visit will be clustered in different sections of the city or town. Plan on visiting attractions that are near each other on one day and attractions in another area on another day. If you’re visiting a museum or similar place, see which days and times they’re open. This way, you can maximize your time, money, and experience without risking showing up and the venue being closed.
There are a lot of costs associated with travel – flights, cabs, exhibit fees, hotels, etc. It can get quite expensive to get away and relax. Don’t put a big dent in your finances and stress yourself out more while you’re on vacation. Take some time to think about how much you want to spend and be sure to stay within those parameters. Are you traveling to a state without sales tax? Maybe you’ll want to do a bit of shopping there. Or will this be a place with delicious, lavish meals? Set aside money for that. Don’t strain yourself by trying to get it down to the exact dollar amount, but be sure that you have an idea of what to put away. That way, you know when you’re going over or under budget, and can adjust on vacation accordingly.
Airline departure board at airport
3) Be prepared
Create a list of items you’ll need and may forget. Headphones? Phone charger? Retainers? Check, check, check! Allow plenty of time to double-check your list, get your suitcases, lock your door, and get to the airport. You may also need time to check your bag, get through security, and find your gate. Prepare for any of the “what if?” scenarios. What if the line takes an hour? What if your boarding time is earlier than you expected? What if your suitcase is overweight and you have to shuffle items into your carry-on? Try and allow enough time for these scenarios just in case. It’s always better to have time to walk around the airport or read your magazine than be late, stressed, and maybe even miss your flight, which will throw off all of your plans.
4) Be organized
Nowadays, with smart phones, it’s easy to get organized and keep everything in one place. You can use apps like Passbook to add your boarding pass and track your flight status. If you’re more of a paper person, put all of your travel documents (hotel reservations, transit directions, etc.) in a large envelope. It’s also a good idea to Ziploc all of your toiletries in one place. If you’re carrying on your luggage, this will allow you to find them easily when you have to take them out at security. If you’re checking your luggage, this will give you peace of mind in case your shampoo bottle breaks; it will stay within the plastic bag and not get all over your clothing and other items. Set aside all of the items you plan on using in-flight, so you’re not frantically searching around for them while the entire plane waits behind you.
Rear view of airplane at sunrise
5) Pack Smartly
If you’ve planned your activities and know the gist of what you’ll be doing, make sure to pack only what you’ll need. If you’re hiking in Yosemite, you’re not going to need three pairs of shoes. If you’re going on a one-day business trip, you won’t need four pairs of slacks. Think about how many days you’ll be there and what you’ll be doing. Check the weather and lay out your outfits for each day beforehand if necessary. Take some solace in knowing that airports and places you travel will have most items available for purchase in case something slips your mind. Be sure to also maximize your packing space too. If you’re packing multiple pairs of socks, shove them into your sneakers. If you’re packing workout clothes or jeans, try rolling them up and tucking them into spare spaces.
As a last minute reminder, don’t forget to book a car for your return home. Now that you’re all organized and ready to go, you can sit back and relax knowing that you have everything you need. Bon voyage!