Travel Made Easy – 15 Tips to Make Your Next Trip Stress Free

Do you hardly ever go anywhere and have a big trip coming up so you’re afraid you’ll forget something? Or, are you a frequent traveler who has been around the world more times than you can count and you want to find a way to make it less stressful?

Travel can cause the calmest person to get anxious. It’s easy enough to have access to what you need when you’re at home, but the idea of travelling to foreign places where you won’t know where anything is can be daunting to say the least.

The more prepared you are before you go, the better off you are. You’ll be able to leave and enjoy yourself knowing that everything you could possibly take care of is handled and ready to go.

How can you be sure? Follow these fifteen tips:

1. Make a packing list

elegant woman writing

If you keep going through the items you need to take in your mind, you’re going to mentally exhaust yourself before you even leave. And, you’re less likely to forget something if you write it down. So, make a list and break it into two parts: what you can pack beforehand and what needs to be added to the suitcase the day you leave. That way you’ll remember even the smallest things that are normally left behind (like sunglasses and toothbrushes). Here are more tips.

2. Keep trial size items on hand

There’s nothing worse than being in the middle of packing and realizing that you don’t have little bottles of your favorite shampoo or conditioner on hand to take with you. Sure, you can take your chances and go without them but you’re not quite sure what amenities your destination has to offer, so how lucky do you feel? You can avoid this whole process if you keep a few trial size packages of your favorite items on hand at all times. That way, they’re there whenever you need them.

3. Research the area you’re going to just in case you need something while you’re there

Use your internet savvy skills and check out what your destination has to offer. For example, is there a convenience store nearby the hotel in case you forget something small and need to run out and pick it up? Or, is there a laundry service in the area in the event that you get something on the only dress outfit that you’re taking and need to have it cleaned quickly? It’s better to know beforehand what you’ll have available to you when you get there so you’re not scrounging last minute trying to find something you need.

4. Pack ahead of time

woman trying to close her suitcase on her bed

If you wait until the last minute to pack and find out that your suitcase is too small, it’s bad times for you. You can “mock pack” a few weeks ahead of time to make sure you’re not trying to cram too much stuff in your case. One extra tip to help your clothes fit better is to roll them up instead of folding them. They take up less room and have fewer wrinkles, making your ironing job on the other end much easier.

5. Tuck some extra cash in your wallet

Even if you don’t think you’ll need it, it always eases your mind a little more to know that it’s available. Airport purchases of food and drinks are always around double what they normally are and can zap your cash quicker than a frog can grab a fly. Also, make sure you have enough smaller bills (like $1 and $5) for tip purposes.

6. Keep a credit card someplace other than your wallet

In the unfortunate even that you lose your wallet or it’s stolen, at least you’re not without access to cash if you have an extra card somewhere else. Put it in a hidden compartment in your suitcase or throw it in an unlikely pocket on your makeup bag. A word of caution on using hotel lock boxes: obviously the hotel has keys to them so you’re running the risk that someone else has access to your valuables. Not that everyone is a thief, but sometimes it pays to think outside the box and stash things in unconventional places.

7. Make a copy of all your important documents

Take copies of your driver’s license, credit cards (front and back) and passport, if you plan on taking it. Leave one copy at home and take the other copy with you. That way if something happens, you have all the information in front of you to report it both to the authorities and to the credit card companies. Also, if you’re on foreign travel and lose your passport, you’ll find it much easier to find your way home when you can prove who you are.

8. Give yourself more than enough time to get to the airport

young professional woman hitching a taxi

Nothing can throw your stress into overdrive more than worrying that you’re going to miss your flight. Don’t wait until the last minute to leave. Try to give yourself an extra 30-60 minutes in the event you encounter traffic delays or car problems.

9. Don’t forget munchies

Sometimes in the hustle and bustle you don’t get time to eat. And, when you’re hungry, your patience and politeness take a back seat to your rumbling tummy. After all, blood sugar lows can make the nicest person meaner than a snake. Make sure you have something with you to eat, whether it be a protein bar or some trail mix, in the event that your travel plans cause you to miss a meal. All the other travelers will thank you.

10. Have a Plan “B”

Things don’t always go as expected, so make sure you have a contingency plan. For example, if your friend is taking you to the airport, have someone else on standby in case an emergency pops up. Or, if your flight is delayed and you arrive to your destination later than you’re supposed to, have your options available and know how you’re going to get from the airport to your hotel. The fewer surprises you have, the smoother your trip will go.

11. Make sure you’re rested up before you leave

If you start out with minimal energy because you’re not getting enough sleep, you’re going to get frustrated and upset easier if something pops up unexpectedly (see #10). Sure, it can be difficult to sleep when you’re excited or anxious, but at least try. At a minimum, spend some time relaxing so that you’re not running around like a chicken with its head cut off right before your departure.

12. Know your airline’s baggage policy

businesswoman traveling

For instance, if you bought your ticket and didn’t notice the fine print that says that you have to pay for your carry-on, you may start your trip on a bad note. Or, what happens if you didn’t pay attention to dimensions and you get there and find out your carry-on doesn’t fit? On the converse, also know what they will do for you in the event that your luggage is lost or flight is cancelled.

13. Mentally go through your trip

Walk through your days in your mind to see if anything jumps out at you that you need to take but wouldn’t ordinarily think about. For example, if you know that you’re going to be spending some time outside one dayvand it’s the rainy season in your destination, you might decide to take an umbrella.

14. Aim for close enough

Let go of perfection and “what ifs.” You can try to plan for any unexpected circumstance you may encounter but you’ll never hit them all. Just do the best you can and have the faith that in the event something comes up you didn’t expect, you’ll handle it the best way you can.

15. Remember to breathe

You’re not conducting brain surgery here. Your travel is not a life or death situation so make sure you breathe. Getting yourself all stressed and uptight isn’t going to help anyone, especially you. Keep things in perspective and avoid the feeling of overwhelm that travel can sometimes give.

In the end, travel is what you make of it. Make it a fun experience where you take challenges in stride and you’ll enjoy yourself. Make it negative and stressful and you’ll hate it every step of the way. Here are more tips for stress-free travel.

So, what will it be? The choice is yours.


About the author

Christina DeBusk

Changing careers mid-life from law enforcement to writing, Christina spends her days helping others enrich their businesses and personal lives one word at a time.

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