Traveling has become an integral part of life, for business or other purposes. People mostly travel to relieve stress but often don’t realize that traveling can be stressful if not planned properly!
While “travel” sounds fun and fabulous, we all know it can be nerve-wracking – even us hardcore travelers! Traveling can give you a real headache since there’s so much to keep in check.
From proper packing to health concerns, crowded airports, interacting with unknown people (especially when you’re an introvert!), to travel anxiety, and more, all these things can make your trip stressful.
So, whether you’re taking a road trip or flying away to another city or country, you must consider everything to make your journey as smooth and relaxing as possible.
Are you looking for some ideas to make travel less stressful? No worries! There are various tips that you may follow to make your trip an easy and painless experience.
In this post, we’ve listed some of the best-proven tips and tricks to help you plan a stress-free trip.
Top Travel Tips to Make Your Travel Stress Free
Though it is impossible to eliminate the stress associated with travel, we hope these tips will help you lessen the impact of travel stress!
1. Talk to a Mental Health Professional
What is your first reaction when you hear the word “travel?” Do you get excited? Do you feel anxious? If you love the idea of traveling but in actuality, you’re avoiding going on trips, you definitely need to figure out your mental health.
If you think traveling interferes with your life quality, consult a mental health professional before planning your next trip. A mental health expert can help you in several ways:
- They can help you determine whether your planned trip is good for you.
- They can give some tips on how to stay healthy while traveling.
- They can advise you on dealing with travel stress.
- They can give you tips to avoid jet lag.
- They can discuss some relaxation techniques.
- They can prescribe medicines that can help ease your travel anxiety.
Book a consultation before your trip with a reputable counselor or therapist. Taking professional advice can help you deal with your travel anxiety disorders.
See Related: Best Day to Book Flights
2. Plan Ahead
Once you know which travel type is right for you, the next step is to start your planning. Staying organized is one of the best ideas to deal with travel stress. If you want to keep your stress level minimal, have a proper plan.
It is suggested to prepare a general to-do list. You can start with a list of essential items, like clothes and toiletries. Also, remember that several situations, including unexpected delays, wintry weather, and crowded highways or airports, can become obstacles in your journey. These situations are beyond your control, and you cannot change them.
To stay calm and focused, you should focus on your reactions to these conditions. These small steps can lower your perception of stress, making your next trip seamless.
See Related: Tips for Beating Post-Travel Blues
3. Always Pack Light
Traveling with heavy bags or multiple trolleys loaded with luggage can cause stress, and people often make this mistake. They pack stuff that is not even required, making it hard to manage everything together.
If possible, carry minimal things and travel with only one luggage or carry-on bag. There are several benefits of traveling with just a carry-on bag.
For example, you don’t have to wait at the check-in counter to check your bags. You can walk directly to the computer, check-in, and proceed with security checks quickly! Also, carrying a small suitcase means you don’t have to create clutter to take out a particular item.
Just remember, less is more when it comes to traveling and packing. In addition to that, fewer items are easier to store or manage, leading to a less hectic experience.
See Related: Tips to Travel Full Time and Make Money
4. Roll Up Your Clothes
Really? To help nervous flyers and anxiety disorders? You bet! We are always in the habit of folding our clothing before putting them into drawers. When it comes to a trip, we directly transfer those folded clothes from the almirah to the suitcase.
It seems easy and quick. Isn’t it? But it is quite the opposite in reality. In general, folded clothes take up more space in the travel bag than rolled-up ones. This is because rolled-up clothing compresses a lot better and occupies less space. Also, you can fit more folded apparel into the small gaps of your carry-on luggage than you can with folded clothes.
As an added benefit, it’s a lot easier to re-pack your rolled-up stuff if you run into a cranky TSA (Transportation Security Administration) agent at the airport that tears your suitcase apart.
See Related: The Ultimate Travel Packing List
5. Use Shower Caps
Everyone wants to travel freely without letting their stuff get mixed or dirty. How do you pack your dirty shoes? Do you wrap them in a newspaper or plastic bags?
The best solution is to use disposable shower caps to pack things that you think can create a mess in your luggage.
Shower caps are a better option because they can fit over the bottom of your shoes and prevent dirt or debris from spreading over your clean clothes or souvenirs. Plus you can always use them for their intended purpose to save your vacation ‘do from getting mussed up!
6. Pack Dryer Sheets & Teabags
The use of dryer sheets is not just up to the laundry room anymore. You can use them in multiple ways. There’s something about a journey that causes clothes to smell… less than fresh, we’ll say. This is where dryer sheets come into the picture.
You can put a dryer sheet in your luggage to help your clothes smell fresh and amazing, no matter how long it will take you to reach your destination. A fabric dryer sheet can keep your clothes smelling fresher on a long road trip or when exposed to no pressure at 34,000 feet.
So, don’t forget to place dryer sheets in your travel bag next time you travel. Use one on the bottom and one at the top for the best results. These clever uses of dryer sheets can help you make your travel easier and fresher smelling.
Teabags can also help keep rancid travel smells at bay, and they fit perfectly into shoes. Nothing cuts through anxiety and grounds a person like a hot cup of Rosie Lee!
See Related: What is the Cheapest Way to Travel Across the US?
7. Bring a Bag of Buttons
One of the worst feelings you can have on a trip is losing your favorite pair of earrings while traveling. If you pack a bag of buttons, you can keep your earrings a lot more organized.
Fit the earring through the buttonhole, match it up with its pair, and then affix them as you would to your ear or let them hang naturally. This method will work better than stashing them in a heavy contact case or travel bag.
See Related: How Early Should I Arrive at the Airport?
8. Keep Your Old Medicine Bottles
Whether you have kids who like to get into stuff or you need to take some things along that won’t get lost, medicine bottles are the perfect way to transport your items.
Remember to remove the prescription label from bottles before using them for storage to eliminate the risk of exposing yourself to potential identity theft.
Also, keep these bottles away from kids’ reach while heading to your destination. This is because children seem to be the only ones who can open those bottles – despite those child-safe lids!
See Related: How to Travel Full Time
9. Carry a Painter’s Tape
Painter’s tape is an item you should always add to your travel checklist. It is the duct tape of the travel world – outside of duct tape.
Many people like using masking or duct tape to secure items and luggage for their journey, but painter’s tape is the better choice to secure your items. This is because the adhesive isn’t as strong, meaning it’s easier to remove and won’t damage your things. You can use it to correct or fix various problems.
A painter’s tape can make your journey easy in several ways, such as:
- You can use it to protect fragile souvenirs.
- You can use it as a toy in a pinch (I said “in a pinch,” I didn’t say it was a Nintendo Switch)
- It can be used for marking luggage.
- It keeps things fastened and won’t leave a residue like other tapes.
Painter’s tape isn’t just easy to apply and remove. This tape is usually cheaper than masking or duct tape, easier to dispose of, and better for the environment.
10. Arrive Early
If you’re traveling by air, it is always suggested to reach the airport early to reduce stress. Though airports and TSA agents want passengers to get there earlier for their reasons, you should arrive early if you don’t want to be rushed.
Gone are the days when you could reach the airport just an hour before the takeoff. Nowadays, ensure you arrive at least three hours early for international flights to give yourself enough time to go through the check-in process and account for unforeseen circumstances.
For Domestic flights, showing up 90 minutes early is the sweet spot, but 2 hours is great for travel anxiety. Arriving at the airport at the last moment sometimes creates pre-travel anxiety that can spoil your overall journey. So, if you don’t want any stress before the takeoff, get there early!
See Related: Epic Tips For Stress-Free Travel
11. Keep a Hard Copy of Important Documents
People prefer keeping only soft copies of all the important travel documents in this digital era. For example, we all have our boarding passes on our phones.
Though traveling with just online documents seems practical and easy, you never know when your phone could run out of battery while listening to music or watching your favorite TV show.
Who knows when the airport wifi might drop as your data runs out? Such last-minute situations can cause extreme anxiety. To ensure a stress-free travel experience, it is suggested to keep a paper copy of all the essential documents on hand as your backup plan.
By having everything prepared, you can check one tension off your list and reduce your travel stress to some extent.
12. Pick the TSA Line Without Kids or Old Folks
Waiting in the TSA line for hours before the air travel can be frustrating and make you feel tired even before the beginning of the trip. With four preschoolers, we can vouch for how difficult getting through security can be.
Make sure not to get in the security line with a bunch of kids if you don’t want to be…waiting…there…forever. The same goes for our elders (whom I assure you I have the utmost respect), who move a little slower than the rest of us…and sometimes…think they know better than security…or that the rules don’t apply to them.
Put it this way, I can count on one hand the number of child meltdowns I’ve seen at airports. Conversely, I’ve lost count of the senior citizens I’ve witnessed throwing tantrums at airports.
See Related: What is Customs at the Airport?
13. Download Your Books & Games in Advance
Whether driving in a car or waiting at the airport, you must plan what you’ll do in your downtime. It is suggested to have a list of as many activities as possible to stay entertained.
Before leaving the house, you can download your favorite games, movies, TV series, books, and apps to your phone or gadget. Those with generalized anxiety disorder can consider downloading meditation apps to unwind and relax.
If you don’t want to stick to your phone throughout the journey, head to a nearby library or bookstore to pick your favorite book. You can also carry a sketchbook to doodle and note your unique thoughts. Overall, make the most of your travel time by doing stuff you enjoy the most (even if that means sleeping).
14. Double Up Your Exercise
If you’re taking a long trip and jet lag is going to be a problem, double up the amount of exercise you normally do the day before your journey. You can also adjust your schedule gradually before leaving.
It will also help get you into the next time zone without as many problems adjusting. Plus, exercising is a proven way to beat back anxiety disorders.
See Related: Best Travel Trailers for Couples
15. Skip the Hotels
Booking your accommodation is something you should keep on your priority list, no matter where you are traveling to. Not having the right place to stay after landing at the end destination can give anyone a panic attack. Therefore, it is recommended to make your hotel reservation first.
However, finding the right hotel for your stay is another thing that can cause stress, especially when you travel in peak seasons. If you can’t find a hotel within your budget, skip this option.
There are a number of great alternatives that are the same price or even less than a hotel when you’ve got a destination trip planned.
Short-stay apartments give you all the amenities of home, and many complexes have a pool, a gym, free WiFi, and security on site so you and your family can be safe. If you’re traveling solo, there are ways to surf on people’s couches.
Even staying in the car and hitting up the travel plaza showers can save you a ton of cash if you need a holiday on a budget. We highly recommend VRBO as a great alternative to finding hotels. If you prefer hotels, ensure you use Booking.com to get the best possible price.
See Related: Amazing Resorts & Hotels With Animals On-Site
16. Have Travel Insurance
Everyone wants to secure their trip, especially when traveling abroad with families. So, the question is, how can you secure your upcoming trip? Though there are several ways, one of the best solutions is buying travel insurance.
Having the right travel insurance policy ensures your protection in an emergency. It can provide coverage for several situations, such as lost passports, flight delays, flight cancellations, lost luggage, medical expenses, personal accidents, and much more.
If you want to best coverage from your travel insurance plan, you can consider consulting the following insurance providers:
These travel insurance agencies provide simple and flexible insurance plans that you may claim from anywhere worldwide. We’ve used all of them and can attest to their legitimacy. You can check their policies, coverage plans, and other additional features to choose the one that best suits your needs.
Additionally, as travel insurance covers almost all associated risks, it plays an essential role in making your travel a little stress free. After all, it’s better to have and not need than need and not have!
See Related: Best Senior Travel Insurance Plans & Options
17. Carry Your Travel Credit Cards
We all love holidays! Trips are the best, except for the expenses that come with traveling – which are typically enormous. Several conditions can spoil your overall travel experience, for instance, sky-high airfares, expensive accommodation, dining out for every meal, shopping for pricey souvenirs, expensive activities, and entertainment. That’s a lot of cash to be carrying around.
You can try a handful of ways to make your experience stress-free and more pleasant. One of the easiest methods is to carry your travel credit cards with you, no matter your travel destination.
It’s way more convenient than carrying cash and could help you pay for parts of your vacation by using it on everyday purchases. Travel reward credit cards offer maximum security and can reduce travel stress. These cards typically issue you miles or points for everyday or travel purchases. You can redeem these reward points while booking your air tickets or hotels.
Since the accumulated points can help you lower your travel expenses or save money, a travel reward credit card is a must for frequent travelers.
Another benefit of travel credit cards is that they can provide coverage if your trip gets canceled, you get injured at the airport, or the airline goes bankrupt. They have an insurance policy to help cover all these expenses.
The best part of using travel credit cards is that they are not linked to your savings or checking account, eliminating the risk of fraudsters accessing your money. If you haven’t got a travel rewards credit card yet, some of the best ones you can consider investing in are as follows:
- American Express Platinum Card (one of our favorites)
- Chase Sapphire® Credit Cards (another one of our favorites)
- Marriott Bonvoy Boundless® Credit Card
- Citi® Diamond Preferred® Card
Look into these travel credit cards’ features, rewards, and bonuses and choose as per your needs and convenience.
18. When In Doubt, Use UPS
After a long road trip without a washing machine, we often accumulate lots of dirty clothes. What do you do with your dirty clothes while traveling? You can carry an extra packing cube, delicates bag, or laundry bag and keep your dirty clothes separate from your clean ones.
Hey, maybe your accommodation has laundry…but is it free? Will they know how to wash your things? Does your rental have the right detergent?
AAAHH! CLOTHING ANXIETY! If you don’t want to keep your dirty clothes with you, the other solution is to send them back to your place using UPS (United Parcel Service)!
Mail them inside a box and ship them to your desired address via USPS for an affordable price. The service is relatively quick & reliable, and you will get the box full of dirty clothes at home within a few days.
The best part of using UPS is that the service is convenient, and you don’t have to smell your dirty clothes on the way home. Plus, you can find UPS in virtually every country on Earth.
See Related: Best Credit Cards to Claim Travel Perks
19. Donate Away
Do you have a pile of shirts that you don’t wear anymore and need to get rid of them? If there is a washing machine somewhere on your journey, wear old clothes when you travel and pack the good ones for when you get there.
Wash the old ones and then donate them at your destination to Goodwill, the Salvation Army, St. Vincent de Paul, or any non-profit firm that takes clothing donations.
Donating things away will make you feel good from within and make your luggage light. Plus, you’ll be introducing “new” fashion to different corners of the world! Think of the people you’ll inspire!
20. Eat Vegetarian
Forget all that processed meat when you travel, as it can make you feel sick. Instead, take the vegetarian option for meals on airplanes, trains, or other forms of long-distance travel for healthier, fresher food. It’s much easier to digest, which means less internal drama for you!
If vegetarian food isn’t on the menu, go for something Asian. They tend to be less dependent on meat than other cuisines. Plus, many herbs and spices used in Asian dishes can help settle the stomach.
Just don’t go too spicy if that’s not your thing – that’ll make things worse!
See Related: Best Minnesota Foods You Need to Try
21. Keep a Positive Attitude
There’s always a solution for every situation, no matter how frustrating or scary it is. Keeping this in mind can help you overcome all the challenges of traveling without effort.
Just make up your mind to deal with obstacles. For example, you should be prepared to deal with traffic jams, flight delays, or other emergencies. You need to understand that these obstacles do occur. No matter the situation, try to be as calm as you can.
Keeping a positive attitude will not just make things easier for you but will also allow you to make the most of your trip.
If that seems like too much of an impossible effort, I can suggest two things:
- Sing a song. It’s hard to feel gloomy or anxious while singing your favorite ditty.
- Fake laugh until you really laugh. You can try this now if you like! If you pretend to laugh enough, you will actually start laughing, real, genuine, bonafide laughter!
22. Always Look Before You Leave
It’s easy to get distracted and leave something behind. Therefore, it is recommended not to leave your home or hotel without double-checking that you have everything.
Before leaving your home, ensure power outlets are off and doors or windows are locked properly. Forgetting to double-check these things will leave you under stress throughout the trip.
Similarly, follow the same process before checking out from your hotel or wherever you stay. Try to get into the habit of always looking around chairs, tables, beds, washrooms, or the cashier station to ensure everything you brought in comes out with you.
See Related: Best Websites for Cheap Flights and Hotels
23. Make Sure Your Car is Travel-Ready
If you’re taking a road trip, the most important thing is to ensure that your car is all set to go on the road. Instead of assuming your vehicle is in good condition, consider taking it to a mechanic and letting him check if it’s in good running condition.
Nothing would be worse than a broken car in the middle of the trip. Therefore, it is mandatory to get your vehicle checked to ensure it is ready for a long road trip.
Plan Your Trip Wisely to Make Travel Less Stressful
These are some ways that can make your travel less stressful. Consider following these tips while planning your next holiday or business trip and see the difference.
So, what do you do to reduce travel stress? Feel free to share your tips with us so we can update this list!
Frequently Asked Questions
What are some quick tips for planning a stress-free trip?
Though it is almost impossible to eliminate travel stress, you can do the following things before your next trip:
1. Ensure you carry updated documents, like a passport and visa (for international travel).
2. Know your health or get your travel anxiety medically reviewed to avoid last-minute stress.
3. Make sure you are carrying acceptable payment methods.
4. Pack wisely, don’t carry unwanted stuff.
5. Have travel insurance.
6. Book your accommodation in advance.
Also, do your homework and collect specific information about your destination. This will give you an idea about what you can do once you get there and plan your trip accordingly.
What are the important things you must carry while traveling to another country?
Here’s the list of things you should pack for an overseas trip:
1. Your passport, visa, and essential travel documents
2. Day bag
3. Sturdy luggage
4. Your regular medication, along with the doctor’s prescription
5. Travel insurance
6. Travel debit or credit cards
7. Universal travel adapter
8. Portable charger
Carrying these essentials can help you make your trip a little stress-free.
What are the common travel mistakes that you should avoid?
People often make a few careless mistakes while traveling. But sometimes, these mistakes can turn your trip into a money-wasting experience. Therefore, it is suggested to avoid as many travel mistakes as possible.
Some of the common ones are as follows:
1. No trip planning
2. No budget planning
3. Having zero knowledge about the destination
5. Relying completely on guidebooks
6. Not double-checking your documents before leaving the house or hotel
7. Carrying flashy and expensive jewelry
8. Drinking too much alcohol
9. Not drinking enough water
10. Having no travel locks
11. Not keeping a record of local emergency services