When you travel to a new and exciting destination, you want to make the most of every moment, absorbing all the sights and sounds every step of the way. Unfortunately, stress can become a frequent travelling companion, but the following tips should help you avoid many of the situations that cause nerves to fray, allowing you to have a great time.
Start with the “where” and “when”
Once you’ve chosen your destination(s), research the best time to visit. A small island may sound idyllic, but if a special event takes place in July each year it probably draws huge crowds, making finding accommodation tricky and stressful.
Once you know where you’re heading off to and when, try to buy your flights well in advance, as seats on popular routes can go quickly, and prices usually go up as availability goes down. Comparison sites are popular but sometimes going to the airline directly can get you the best deal. The same is true for hotel rooms.
Take the time to check in for your flight online as this will mean you’ll only need to drop off any hold luggage at the airport. Nowadays, many airlines ask that you complete your check-in in advance and charge a fee if you fail to do so, so make sure you read the terms and conditions on your reservation to avoid any unnecessary stress and costs at the airport.
Don’t leave it to chance to find nearby airport parking when you arrive; reserve a space using a comparison site like Looking 4 Parking and take advantage of the rates that are often heavily discounted. To make life even simpler, opt for a Meet and Greet service, where you simply hand your car keys to a parking valet at the departure terminal and they take care of the rest.
Don’t neglect to pre-book your plane seat (the cost is usually low for doing so) – if you don’t you may end up with the worst seat or separated from your company. Are you more stressed by having to get up for other passengers (choose a window seat), or do you hate disturbing people (aisle seat)?
Before setting off, compile a list of contact details for the nearest hospital, dentist and police station. Data roaming charges can be expensive, plus you may not be able to have internet access at all times, so download an app that gives you access to offline maps or print any maps you may need to make finding your way around easy and stress-free.
If you’d like more tips on saving time while you travel, you can check out my infographic.
If you’re not going away for a long time, try sticking to hand luggage; this way you won’t have to wait to collect your bag, plus it can’t get lost. If you do need to check a bag, personalising the exterior will help you identify your case more quickly.
A capsule wardrobe will help you to pack minimally, as you can mix and match outfits. A traveller’s first-aid kit could save you a trip to the chemist, and if biting insects is a problem at your destination pack repellent and a mosquito net (unless you know one will be provided).
Travel money and documents
It’s prudent to carry some local currency for when you arrive in case you need it for a taxi or meal. If you don’t like carrying a lot of cash, a preloaded travel card is another option, and it means you can leave your credit and debit cards at home.
Make copies of your important documents (passport, driving licence, travel insurance, etc.) and store them in a different place to the originals. That way, if they’re lost or stolen, you’ll have proof of identity.
At the airport
Ensure you are up to date on prohibited items and have your 100ml liquids, gels and pastes (including makeup) in a clear bag, ready for security. If you’re a fan of essential oils, include a soothing variety to inhale at the airport and during the flight, such as lavender, rose or vetiver.
Airports are often crowded and noisy, which can make it hard to find a quiet corner to relax. Using an airport lounge is a great way to find your ‘inner Zen’. Alternatively, noise-cancelling headphones can make your airport and flight experience much more relaxing.
On the plane
Load up your phone/tablet with films, games and your favourite playlist. If you’re not into movies, bring your e-reader or a book you’ve been dying to read. Exercise is highly recommended for longer flights, and these Yoga stretches will have you feeling more relaxed and ready for your holiday.
If you’re prone to digestive issues, try to avoid any food or drink that might trigger an attack. Alcohol can seem like a great way to calm down, but it can have the opposite effect if it makes you queasy and dehydrated.
The time you spend travelling is precious, so the last thing you need is to feel stressed and anxious. Hopefully these tips will help you chill out and enjoy your trip to the full.