Travelling is one of the finer things in life. After all, there’s just nothing like being able to venture near and far, meet diverse people and immerse yourself in new cultures.
That said, going on a trip isn’t all sunshine and rainbows. There are some aspects of travelling that require hard work.
(For example, have you ever booked an exotic hotel through Agoda and arrived late at night only to find that the hotel was closed, you didn’t have phone reception and there weren’t any other hotels open in the area? Because I have! Eek!)
The truth is, you can’t always trust what you see on your favourite influencer’s Instagram feed. Things go wrong all the time. Such is life.
However, there are some ways to reduce stress when travelling, which will guarantee a happier, healthier trip.
Let’s explore them one by one, shall we?
1. Plan Ahead
Ways to reduce stress when travelling 101: plan ahead as much as possible.
Sure, this can be difficult if you’re travelling long-term or heading away for a year on a working holiday visa. Having said that, planning a short-term trip in advance is pretty manageable and a smart move.
To put it simply, it means that you don’t have to plan on the move, eliminating the time, energy and stress of booking flights and accommodation. Plus, you usually save money by booking ahead. Win-win.
2. Use a Travel Concierge
Experienced travellers might feel comfortable taking on all their travel arrangements themselves.
However, using a travel concierge such as The Voyageurs Collection can help you book a tailor-made holiday from start to finish, including:
- Airport assistance and lounge access
- Airport transportation
Not sure what to do and see in your destination? The Voyageurs Collection can also produce creative and original trip itineraries based on your likes and dislikes in partnership with their British colleagues Original Travel.
And the best thing about using a travel concierge is that there’s a 24-hour helpline for if things go wrong, like losing your luggage or missing a flight. Phew.
3. Be Prepared
The worst thing you can do when you’re going abroad is just show up at the airport and hope everything’s going to turn out okay.
No, the stress-free travelling of your dreams can only be achieved if you do some hard thinking beforehand. To be specific:
- What currency do they use in that country? Use comparison websites online to order what you’re going to need at least one week before your holiday
- How far away from the airport is your hotel? Book a bus or taxi beforehand to preserve time and energy when you arrive
- What’s the weather going to be like? Pack the right clothing so that you’re not caught short in a snowstorm, for instance
The trick is to be like Scar (for once in your life) and “be prepaaared” to ensure everything goes as smoothly as possible.
4. Travel With Someone You Love
Not everybody is brave enough to travel solo. Therefore, if you decide to grab yourself a travel buddy, proceed with caution.
Keep in mind that you’re going to be spending 24/7 with this person. You’re going to eat with them, sleep with them and try to cross the chaotic roads in a South-Asian country with them (maybe).
Needless to say, your travel buddy needs to be someone you absolutely adore. If you don’t like them even one little bit, the cracks will begin to show very early on.
Granted, you’ll argue and have disagreements with anybody you travel with, whether this is your husband, sister or best friend. It’s only natural when you’re spending so much time together.
Having said that, travelling with someone who you can only just about tolerate on the average day is a recipe for disaster (and a sh*t ton of stress).
5. Minimise the Number of People You’re Travelling With
Following on from the previous point, say it with me now: “the less amount of people I travel with, the better.”
At the end of the day, the more thoughts and opinions that you add into the mix, the more stressful travelling can become.
Keep things simple with a limited amount of people (or, in my experience, just one other person).
Alternatively, travel solo so that the only person you have to please is yourself. Happy days.
6. Get Plenty of Sleep
Although travelling is amazing and one of the best things you’ll ever do, it’s also tiring AF. (Especially if you’re visiting multiple destinations in a short space of time!)
Regardless of whether you’re going to be in the same time zone or not, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that you’re able to function properly and entirely enjoy your holiday.
Why? Well, tiredness equals grumpiness. Plus, if you fail to get seven to eight hours of sleep per night long-term, it can lead to a weakened immune system, forgetfulness and a haggard appearance. Not cool.
7. Cover Yourself
One of the top ways to reduce stress when travelling is by grabbing travel insurance.
Yes, it can be a pain to sort out but it’s ultimately worth doing. After all, you just never know what could happen on your trip.
It’s very unlikely that you’ll need it. I mean, I’ve never had to make a claim in all the trips I’ve been on previously. That said, you need to cover your back in the slightest chance that there’s an accident, injury or unexpected illness.
Hop onto Google, search “travel insurance” and get comparing the costs. Trust me — it’ll be one thing less to worry about while you’re away trying to have the time of your life.
8. Carry Important Documents Somewhere Safe
Sometimes when you’re in a foreign country, you’re unable to access WiFi when you need to. (For example, an immigration officer might ask to see your visa confirmation and you’ll have it in your emails but struggle to access your emails without the internet.)
This can cause a bit of a sticky situation, which causes your stress levels to rise.
As a result, I’ve got into the habit of printing out all the important documents I might need for a trip beforehand and then taking them with me in my hand luggage.
This means I can grab them easily whenever I may need them. Sorted.
9. Tell Your Bank That You’re Leaving the Country
One of the most stressful aspects of travelling is dealing with money, from learning a new currency to figuring out which ATMs won’t destroy you with high transaction fees.
However, imagine not being able to access your pot of savings because your bank thinks you’re a hacker, not a holidaymaker in Singapore.
To eliminate the risk of this happening, tell your bank where and when you’re going away in advance. If you’re with Natwest, for instance, this is just a case of simply entering a few details via Online Banking — and it saves a whole load of hassle.
10. Set a Budget
Lastly, following on from the previous point, trying to make your money stretch further is tough whether you’re home or away. One of the key ways to reduce stress when travelling is to set a budget before you go.
I have a bank account dedicated to travel that I’ll transfer X amount of money into to be used while I’m away. To determine the amount, I try to think about:
- What I’ve already paid for (hotels, flights, etc.)
- What I’m likely to spend each day (on food, activities, etc.)
- Unexpected costs (for Ubers, entertainment, etc.)
Keep in mind that your budget might change once you get a feel for the cost of living in the country you’re going to. Hopefully, you won’t need to spend everything you’ve budgeted. Then again, sometimes you go over.
And that’s just the price you pay to live your best life, my friend.
Finding Your Own Ways to Reduce Stress When Travelling
Let’s face it, some people are more laid-back than others. Regardless, you’re probably going to come into contact with at least one stressful situation on any given trip.
As you build up your jet-setting experience, you’re likely to figure out your own ways to reduce stress when travelling.
However, this often takes time and multiple trips. Therefore, feel free to utilise these tips as a jumping point to help you relax and fully make the most of your time away.