A variety of tips to reduce travel stress

Travel is stressful. Changes in diet, air quality, movement, worry about catching the connection, lack of good sleep and much more adds to our stress. All these tiny (or not so tiny) events add up to increase the stress you encounter when traveling.

Below are some tips that can reduce or even remove some of these stressors and make your travel a much more enjoyable experience.

Accept that things go missing, are lost, damaged or forgotten. It’s really rare they can’t be replaced. Even your money falls into this category. Most hotels will happily give you cash at a really bad exchange rate. But losing a few dollars is worth it if it saves you stressing over not having the cash to do something.

Those few things that can’t easily be replaced by spending a few extra dollars (prescription drugs, young Janie’s favourite rabbit, prescription glasses) either have a spare or make it a standard procedure to confirm the item is still in your possession. For example, I carry usually carry a spare set of contact lenses and my old prescription glasses. The glasses are not perfect any more, but if I’m stuck they’ll do the job. Another example for those irreplaceable items, a friend uses a collar and leash for their child\’s rabbit when traveling.

Have standard procedures for what you do regularly. Similar to packing things in the same place, do things the same way every time. Build that ritual. Eg, when leaving a hotel I pack my bags, lock them, place them on the bed. Then do a final search of the room, checking on and under tables, chairs and bed. Opening the cupboards and anywhere else I might have placed something. I also check the wall plugs (Another procedure I have is to use only one plug – usually the one nearest the desk) for powercords. Then another final check for my passport and wallet – making sure those two irreplaceable items are with me.

Accept you can always get a cheaper deal. I’d booked a return flight for two weeks holiday in Tokyo. All up the flight cost was a little over $800. A good deal at the time. A month later, two months before I was to leave, the same airline offered me a ‘special deal’ for a new ticket at $400. So if I didn’t book the $800 return flight, I would have had a $400 return flight. That would have been annoying if I didn’t accept I could get a cheaper deal. This rule extends to many other things, bargaining for a shirt, buying dinner, getting a taxi.

Have something to do. Planes are delayed, trains run slow, buses get stuck in traffic. Having something to do makes the time go faster. As the old saying goes, a watched kettle never boils. Same holds for travel. If you\’re stuck in a seat for the next 8 hours, having something to do can make it more enjoyable and useful. I always carry a book (or two), a laptop to do some work with, and a few DVD’s I only watch when waiting.

Accept what happens and deal with the problem at hand. You might have just missed the last flight because your taxi broke down. Situations like this can be the toughest things to recover from when traveling. Take a breath, and start working towards a solution. As the old saying goes, don’t cry over spilt milk.

What are your suggestions for having a stress free trip?