Personally, I believe that there is nothing better than traveling. I think it’s important to have not one, but several “trips of a lifetime.” However, as the best places to visit are often some of the hardest to get to, you will inevitably find yourself on planes, trains and automobiles, all of which can be overwhelming. Add that to visiting an unknown locale for the first time, and it’s understandable to see why people get stressed out when traveling. It’s time to let that stress slip away! Here are 10 tips for staying stress-free and healthy while exploring the world!
1. Think about your flight
While it’s sometimes hard to do, when you book your flight make sure you give yourself over an hour in between connections.Though this may make your travel day longer, it will definitely keep the stress down. Trust me when I say that there is nothing worse than flat-out sprinting through an airport you’ve never been to (or even one you have) to make a connection. It will give you some cushion for delays, and make sure your heart rate and breathing are normal when you finally do get to your departure gate.
2. Make a list
Being totally prepared before you leave will definitely make things run more smoothly. Don’t leave your packing until the night before, you will inevitably not pack everything you want. And, you’ll regret staying up until 2 am when you have to catch a 6 am flight. I love lists (as you can probably tell by the one you're reading right now.) I start a list at least a month before my departure of all the things I’m going to need on the trip. A week or two before my I leave, I gather all the items together and reassess what I actually need (and don’t.) This will help you keep your pack light, which (trust me) you’ll be thankful for. A few items I never travel without? A journal, my kindle, and a plastic folder with all of my important documents (itineraries, hotel details, emergency contact numbers, a copy of my passport, credit card company/bank phone numbers, etc.) Save your list and update it after your trip so that the next time around will be easier.
3. Know where you’re headed… and let others know too
If you’re headed out of the country, make sure you know whether you’ll need a power adapter (and if so, what kind,) and, if you want to use your cell phone, any information about an international plan for your phone. No matter where you're headed, let your credit-card company and bank know where you’ll be so that they don’t cancel your cards due to fraudulent activity. Check to see if your ATM card will work where you’re traveling and what kind of fee you’ll be charged, or how easy it is to exchange money. Finally, find out what time zone you’ll be headed to (it's always good to know these things.)
4. Make your carry-on count
If I am checking a bag, I always put toothpaste, a tooth brush, face wash and a travel towel in my carry-on.You will feel so much better after a long flight if you can freshen up a bit. Plus, if you get stuck somewhere, you’ll have a few essentials to help you through the delay. I also carry a small medical bag with stuff that’s great to have on hand when traveling (and may not always be easily accessible once you get there): Advil, Pepto Bismal, anti-septic wipes, band aids, Purell, and hand wipes (see #8 for more details on the last two.) Two other great carry-on additions (which I’m a recent convert to): an eye mask and a small travel pillow.
5. Water is your (best) friend
Most importantly of all- drink lots of water. Stay hydrated. Free alcohol on airplanes can be pretty enticing, but make sure you balance it out with plenty of water (if you choose to indulge.) Once you land, if you’re traveling to a country where you don’t feel comfortable drinking tap water, make sure you have a LARGE bottle of water with you at all times, and make sure you actually drink it!
6. Get yourself acclimated before you get there
Flying and spending time in airports, particularly on longer trips, is like being in some weird parallel universe. You lose all sense of time, and any rules you have for yourself typically go out the window. Try to keep a routine while traveling. I like to look towards my destination, and do my best to sleep more on a schedule in tempo with my new time zone, not my old one. I also eat lightly and often (carrying healthy snacks from home helps with this.) Remember, you don’t have to eat just because a stewardess says it’s meal time!
7. Get your stretch on!
Sometimes we forget how taxing it is on the body to be stationary for a long time. Take advantage of layovers, and trips to the bathroom on the plane. Stretch your body and move around! Ever take a yoga class? Don’t be afraid to do a little downward dog in the airport! Once in flight, you can sit in your seat and roll your head from side to side, rotate your wrists and ankles, and move your legs up and down (all without bugging your neighbor too much.) You’ll feel more rested, and your body will be happier, when you reach your destination.
8. Hand Sanitizer and Wipes… in moderation
Traveling to any new destination inevitably brings an onslaught of fears about germs, particularly if you’re traveling to a new country. Though often exaggerated, it’s not out of line to feel this way, because most new places have germs you’re not used to. So, whether hiking in the Rockies, or exploring the ancient streets of Istanbul, it’s important to have some hand sanitizer and wipes with you. Please note! It’s equally important not to over do it with them. Use these items as much as you would wash your hands at home (and not every time you touch something.) Some germs are good germs!
9. Bring a little piece of home with you
No matter where you travel to, it’s not your home. Because of this, it’s important to make sure you have a little something that will make you smile and cure any homesick blues. The longer the trip, the more important this is. Whether a picture of your dog, your significant other, or your favorite local haunt, it’s always nice to see something familiar.
The less you think about traveling being stressful, the more you’ll enjoy it. Don’t forget that you’re on this adventure to discover new and exciting things! Relax and take everything in. Write down your experiences in a journal! Most importantly, laugh and smile as much as possible!
Hope these tips helped! Know of any more? Share some of your own in the comment box below!