If you’re heading out on vacation in the near future, you’re probably feeling a tad stressed and anxious about some of the events to come. Rather than suffering with the anxiety, consider these eight tips for reducing your stress while you have a great vacation!
Curb Your Anxiety
If you’re like many travelers, you have a bit of a worrying side. You might be afraid of flying, worried about an attack of some sort, or otherwise concerned about your trip, causing anxiety that’s hard to shake.
Anxiety is one of the worst kinds of travel stress, and it can derail your entire vacation. Thankfully, there are many ways to treat anxiety, such as through a prescription, meditation, or guided therapy.
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Utilize Your Mobile Device
Your phone is one thing you probably won’t forget on your vacation, and it can be used to relieve so much stress and anxiety on your trip. Just make sure you bring along an extra charge cord so it’s always handy.
If you’re flying, you can use it to check in online. Then, you can save your digital boarding pass to the Wallet app for easy access when you need to show your ticket. You can also download your airport and airline apps for information and notifications about flights.
You can also take pictures of important things like where you parked your car, a map on a hiking trail, instructions for getting into your Airbnb, and important documents you need. If you have pictures of your identification, it’s easier to get through security when needed if you forget or lose the originals.
Build in Time Buffers
A common mistake of novice travelers is packing an itinerary too tightly. If you only have 10 minutes or less between each activity, for example, you’ll have a difficult time fitting everything in!
When planning your itinerary for flights, travel destinations, excursions, shows, dinner, and more, give yourself some time buffers. That way, you’ll be planning for the unexpected. If you get behind on your itinerary at some point, it’ll be easier to make up the time with later time buffers, giving you a break.
Carry-on the Essentials
If you’re flying, you should always carry on the things you can’t live without rather than packing them in your checked baggage. The most important items to keep with you are your medications since getting a new prescription is difficult.
It’s also a good idea to pack a change of clothes, a toothbrush, and a mini first aid kit in your carry-on bag. That way, if your luggage gets lost or you have an incident at the airport, you’re ready to go.
When packing your carry-on remember TSA regulations. Getting stopped at security is always stressful, even if you know you’re not carrying anything illegal! Checking your carry-on for TSA-banned items is always a smart way to avoid a pat down.
Bring Non-Electronic Entertainment
With phones, tablets, and other electronic devices, it hardly seems worthwhile to bring along another form of entertainment. However, what if your device is low on power? If you’re flying, for example, you need your phone for your boarding pass and to communicate, so you can’t let the battery die. Outlets are few and far between at airports and not all airplanes have them.
To avoid boredom, bring along a book, a deck of cards, a few magazines, or other forms of lightweight entertainment for your journey. You might even use it as an excuse to buy a book or magazine at the airport bookstore while you’re waiting for your flight. If it’s been years since you last read a book, this will be a real treat for you!
Additionally, non-electronic entertainment can be much more relaxing than that on your device. Something about the blue light of electronics stimulates parts of your brain associated with anxiety and stress, so it can actually increase your frustrations.
Nothing puts a damper on travel like constantly worrying about paying for your vacation. If money is tight, you won’t be able to let loose and have fun in the way you’d like to. You’ll be counting pennies and missing out on memorable activities simply because of a stringent budget.
This doesn’t mean you have to pull out all the stops. You probably don’t need to stay in a 5-star hotel, eat at the fanciest restaurants, and bring home diamonds as souvenirs. But if you want to try a signature dessert at the restaurant you’re visiting, don’t worry about the extra $5-$10. Make room in your budget for excursions and experiences as well.
Additionally, don’t skip out on a nicer hotel in a good part of town. You want to be safe and unconcerned about your valuables while you’re out and about, and it’s worth paying an extra $50+ per night to feel secure in where you’re staying!
Many amateur travelers that packing everything you can for your trip is the solution to being stress free. It seems logical that if you want to avoid stress, you’ll ensure that everything you could possibly need is in your bag.
But this typically creates more stress in the long run. To begin with, you’re stressing over your long list of items, and throughout your travels, you’ll be worried that you forgot something. Then, your bags will be full and heavy, which is inconvenient and can complicate travel.
Packing just the necessities is usually best. You can get by without your special pillow for a few nights, and you’ll be glad for the extra space it saves you. Just pack what you absolutely need like medications, passport, identification, etc. and remind yourself that if you really need something else, you can buy it there.
To boost your productivity, improve peace of mind, and encourage relaxation on your trip, make lists. Before and during your trip, carry around a small notebook where you can write lists of essentials to bring, activities you want to do, budgets, and so forth.
Too often, we think of something we’d like to do or bring on our trip and forget about it when the time comes. Making lists can make things go more smoothly and help you feel more organized so you can enjoy a stress-less vacation!