As a travel writer, I don’t really do travel stress – it wouldn’t be the ideal job for me if I did. But to travel stress-free takes practice and planning. If the thought of packing for a trip sends you into a panic, here are my tried and tested tips for reducing travel stress.
Prep before you book
The world can be a scary place and if you’re constantly stressing about your safety, you’ll never have a relaxing vacation. Know yourself: will you be more comfortable in the company of a group or with your own personal guide? Purchase decent travel insurance and check your government’s advise as to whether your potential destination is considered safe. Once there, minimise risk. Take taxis after dark and keep your valuables in a cross-body bag or money belt beneath your clothes. Make good use of the hotel safe and don’t flash expensive cameras or jewellery if you’re in areas where poverty is rife. Keep a copy of your passport with you and leave the original locked away in your villa or hotel room. Finally, hit up your concierge to keep abreast of the current safety situation, just in case.
Plan your travel connections
Airports can be stressful places and especially for those who’ve booked indirect flights with little time in between. Make the layover part of the vacation and plan to enjoy a meal or read a book. Some airports, such as Singapore’s Changi, even boast gardens and a cinema. Where possible, limit yourself to carry-on luggage only. It’s liberating to travel light. Also, you won’t have the nervous wait at the baggage carousel to see if your bag’s made it. If you do decide to go with checked baggage, mitigate the risk of it being delayed. Pack a single change of clothes in your hand luggage. Most lost bags turn up pretty quickly and you won’t have to interrupt your sightseeing to shop for clean clothes.
It’s all well and good splashing the cash and spoiling ourselves a little – we are on vacation after all. But go massively over budget and your relaxed state will soon be a distant memory once the bills start coming in. Set a budget and spend sensibly. You can achieve upgrades without having to spend more money, for instance, by collecting miles or points to secure a flight upgrade from economy to business. Accommodation will be cheaper if it’s less central. If public transport is easy, you can get a luxury hotel for a fraction of what a similar hotel would cost in a better location without feeling cut off from the action. Splurge on the things that make you happy, like a balloon ride, theatre tickets or fancy meal.
Don’t expect things to be perfect
Life isn’t perfect and neither is your holiday. Things can and do go wrong. Getting worked up about a less than perfect room or a delayed train is a sure fire way to feel miserable. Instead, one of the most effective tips for reducing travel stress is to look for the good in a bad situation. No room service? Well, that’s the perfect excuse to find that cute restaurant where the locals hang out. Rain in the forecast? Grab an umbrella and check out that tourist attraction across the street. A holiday activity not as enjoyable as you thought it would be? Bale and go do something else instead. If things really do go wrong, you’ll have an entertaining story to tell friends and family when you get back home.
Planning a vacation just got a whole lot simpler. Leave the stress to us and let Mundana make your arrangements for you.