I did not travel a lot when I was younger, but once I became an adult, the world was my oyster. I was grown! I could go anywhere and pretty much do what I wanted. I travel domestically and internationally as it gives me a chance to see beautiful new places, try new things, and see how others live their everyday life which keeps me humble.
Travel is always fun, but it can also cause stress levels to soar.
Travel Stress Fact – According to a survey released by Wyndham Vacation Rentals, 51 percent of U.S. vacationers confess they are more stressed today compared to a year ago, and it’s causing more than one in three (37%) to cancel or delay their trip.
Knowing those statistics you may now be wondering How do I beat travel stress?
Here are 23 travel hacks I use before, during, and after my adventurous travel that may help you decrease your Travel stress so that you can enjoy every bit of your trip.
Note: There are many hacks I utilize, but of course, it always best to choose which ones will fit your lifestyle and what you feel will help you reduce your stress during your travels.
How to Beat Travel Stress Before Travel
Pay Trip In Advance
I get anxiety just thinking about paying a lump sum of money all at one time. I book our family trips well ahead of time so that I can pay for a trip a bit each and every month until it is paid in full. It keeps my anxiety at bay, and sometimes the farther advance you pay, the increase in the likelihood of snagging an excellent travel deal.
Purchase Travel Insurance
I will never forget the time I was caring for a patient, and her family was saying their goodbyes as if they were leaving for out of town. Well, they were. It was not because they were visiting from out of town and returning home. It was because they were leaving for a trip.
I thought to myself, “how odd.” I later found out that the trip was planned, but since they did not get travel insurance, they could not get a refund. Wow was my thought because she cannot get her money back, and her family was left without her because they could not get their money back.
Ever since then, I have paid the extra small fee for insurance for peace of mind. There are many types of travel insurance, so check out a travel insurance site such as Allianz or check with your travel agent to get this added to your trip package asap as you never know what will happen before or during your trip.
Plan Your Trip
Structure helps keeps me calm, so doing some planning is a must. Every detail does not have to be documented or abided by, but having a general plan in place for things such as excursions, budget, and packing will help decrease the pressure of last-minute decisions and the chances overspending. Bullet journal works wonders when planning out your trip.
What I have done for many years is solicit the help of a Travel Agent in the town I live in or one of my friends that do Travel agent work as a side hustle. This has been an excellent relief of trying to find the best deals for Flights, hotels, cruise, etc.
Walk The CAT Walk
Before you spend the money clothes and accessories, first raid your closet or storage to find clothes and accessories you may be able to wear on your trip. I do this a month out from my trip to give myself time and a budget just in case I need to buy something special.
I am always surprised at the amount of clothing I have that I had forgotten about which, means less money spent on new clothing I do not need and more money spent on my trip. The benefit of finding and trying on clothing on clothing 1-2 months in advance is to give you time to shop for the clothes you need and find the money in your budget to do so.
Schedule Your Hair and Nail Appointment
For many of us, it is of importance to get our hair and nail done for any special occasion. That includes vacation. Even if we are not doing much on vacation, we still want to look fly. Period.
Whether it is a natural style or weave style, be sure to scope out the person who is going to do your hair so that you will know the type of work she does (True story – I have experienced my expensive braids unravel before getting on the plane to my travel destination), how much it is going to cost & how long the hairstyle will take to finish because as you know some styles can take up most of your day).
The same goes for nails, especially with timing. I had walked into nail salons without appointments on days when it was packed. It put a dent in my day.
Prepare Your Anti-Anxiety / Stress Travel kit
To keep myself comfortable and relaxed, I prepare my anti-anxiety travel kit to keep me sane while traveling.
What’s included in my anti-anxiety travel kit? Just the basics.
Eye Covers– Blocks out light during my flight or if my hotel room is not dark enough.
Natural remedies (herbs, essential oils, supplements, etc.).
What you need may be different from my needs, so create a kit that is unique for you. Also, for any natural herbs, medication or essential oils be sure to check with your doctor before use as some interaction with other medications or it is something not recommended for various other reasons.
Pack Ahead of Time
1-2 weeks begin to pull out your luggage and slowly start to pack it with the items you will need for travel (clothes, shoes, accessories, hair items, etc.). Don’t forget to include medications and travel documents. Why pack ahead of time? Simply so that you don’t rush attempting to pack at the last minute and you do not happen to forget to pack something important.
Trust me you do not want to forget something as simple as a deodorant when traveling overseas. For many countries items are imported at a higher price thus you will pay a higher price.
Clean Your Mess
Why would you clean your home before you leave on vacation? So that you don’t have to stress over a dirty house when you return from your travel. When I am done with the vacation I am usually a bit overwhelmed knowing that I have to readjust to my routine life. The last thing I want to do is worry about cleaning a whole house upon my return home. No thanks.
Skip Work for an Extra Day
If your job allows you to schedule an extra day off after the date you return from your vacation TAKE IT. Allow yourself a day to rest and readjust to routine. That one extra day has helped me not feel like I am thrown back into the stress of adulting all at once.
Let Family or Friends Know You Are “Peacing Out”
Sometimes you may want to leave town without anyone knowing, but you never know what life may toss your way. Letting friends and family know that you are traveling and where you are going helps when an emergency back home or during your travel occurs. They can help deal with that emergency or simply check on your house (or pet) while you are gone so that you don’t have to worry as much.
It may not seem like a big deal, but it gives me comfort that someone I trust knows where I am just in case my health is effected or I need something done back home while I am out of town.
Nonstop Flight Each Way
I never understood the logic behind changing flights in the middle of travel (layover). Nobody got time for that! I mean getting off of one plane and running to another to make sure you catch the flight on time. Or even sitting on a plane for an hour before it takes off for the final destination is nerve-wracking.
And it’s not like you have time or security clearance always to leave the airport to explore any of the city where you’re layover occurs. To prevent my nerves from going wrong, I always book nonstop flights.
Create a Budget
Trips can get expensive very fast if you do not set a budget. Determine how much you are going to spend on food, drinks, fun, souvenirs etc. This is a good thing to know before you leave on your trip as you do not want a credit bill surprise to create anxiety because you don’t have the monies to cover it.
Managing Travel Stress and Anxiety During Travel
Travel can last up to 4-5 hours, depending on where you are going and your exciting itinerary. For example, I leave for the airport about an hour in advance, 2 hours are spent at the airport to take the shuttle from parking to airport, check-in luggage, go through line for TSA, finding my gate, waiting to board plane, then you have the actual plane ride. After the plane ride you are getting baggage, waiting on ride to hotel, the trip to the hotel and then check-in.
I don’t know about you but I do not want my pants button digging into my tummy, my feet to hurt, or my bra wire digging into my skin so I wear my yoga pants, tee, comfortable bra, and shoes. I might even wear a headscarf so that I do not have to be mindful of how or where I lay my head.
Think long and hard about what you are going to wear while you travel so that you can be comfortable and not regretting it…
I remember an incident where I sped down the highway to the airport. Almost in tears and heart about to beat our of my chest in the TSA line. Then running (probably looking crazy) through the airport to my gate. Why? All because I did not leave the house early enough.
I can not express this enough. LEAVE home with enough time to spare to get through the travel process. I have actually witness individuals missed their flight.
Nope, not me! Never again will I pull those stunts.
Have Travel Documents Ready
I am not so into digital boarding passes yet, but I will try it soon. Although I can not tell you about that piece, I do recommend having your emails with your boarding number, flight numbers, TSA number, hotel confirmation, Transportation number, etc. The last thing you want to do is hold up your self or the line because you are not prepared.
Stay on Budget
Periodically check what you have spent so that you stay on your set budget. I mean there is almost no excuse as there is Wifi in many places and most of us have smartphones.
Enjoy But Don’t Over Drink
Alcohol tends to increase the likelihood of anxiety, helps you pack on extra unwanted pounds and spend more than what your budgeted for on travel. I am not saying do not drink, but be mindful of how much.
Don’t Be Greedy
One thing about being on vacation, there is a huge variety of food Everywhere. You may try to ask or tell your self the following. “Why not eat this or that? I am on vacation.” It is ok to enjoy, because calories do not count on vacation.
Keep telling yourself lies , but trust me, you will be stressed behind the pounds you have gained when you return home. Enjoy, but be conscious of what and how much you are eating.
Utilize Your Kit
Remember that Anti-anxiety or Travel Stress management kit we previously spoke of in the before travel section? Well, this is when you can start or continue using some of the items mention in the before travel section.
Dealing With Travel Stress and Anxiety After Travel
Pay Credit Card
First of all, you should never spend what you do not have. Be sure to pay off your credit card balance as soon as you return home. This prevents the balance from gaining interest and one less thing you will need to worry about later.
Dirty Clothes Straight to the Washroom
If you don’t feel like washing clothes right away, that’s cool. I mean who wants to be greeted with housework as soon as they return home from a great time. Although you are not doing full-on chores at least empty your bag of the dirty clothes from your trip into your wash area. You do not want the stench of dirty clothes to linger in your bag for you to try to remove later. Besides, your clothes will be in place and ready to wash when the time comes.
Relax the Day After Travel to Reboot
If your job’s PTO or vacation time allows, attempt to schedule a day or two immediately after your actual vacation day to be off. These 1-2 additional off days will allow you to recoup from your vacation. To each their own, but I have never been able to return to work the day following my return home from my vacation. I need a vacation from a vacation.
Let Friends and Family Know You Are Back
Similar to letting your designated friends and family know that you are leaving for vacation, let them know that you are back as this will allow them to carry on their normal routine.
Although travel can be stressful in the long run it can be the best medicine. Improving your mental, physical and spiritual being. Do you have any tips that you use to decrease your travel stress? Comment below as I would love to hear them all. Besides you would be helping other Sistas out.