It's surprisingly often that I hear people talking about how stressful they find travel. It always makes me kind of sad because travel is something that does the opposite of stress me out. It makes me feel awake and excited and inspired every single time, no matter where I'm going. After 25 years of travel, I'm still not jaded.
But, I can also understand why someone might feel stressed before and during their vacations. There are a lot of factors and uncertainty involved in travel, especially when you are abroad. Regardless, travel is precious and every second of it should be enjoyed. Here are the five things I do every time I travel in order to have a great trip.
To ward off any stress that could come up while traveling, prepare ahead of time. Create an in-depth packing list, get everything taken care of at home, and even arrange for transportation ahead of time if it makes you feel better. Eliminating some of the potential stressors than can be controlled ahead of time will make things much easier in the long-run.
Plan ahead, but not too much.
I'm a pretty big planner in life, but not so much for vacations. I don't like the idea of organized tours or strict itineraries. As I mentioned previously here, you can balance between organized and spontaneous by creating a packet for each of your destinations. Each packet would include a list of places you'd like to see, restaurants, shops, and other things that interest you. If you're visiting a big city, take that list into account and choose a section of the city to visit at a time. I like to call this organized spontaneity.
Apparently, working for just one hour a day during your vacation makes you 43% more likely to have trouble remembering the vacation at all. That fact is pretty scary! So, when you're on vacation, be on vacation. When I say unplug, I'm referring specifically to unplugging from anything that has the capability to produce stress----work emails, the news, and so on. Because, for some of us, scrolling through Instagram or watching YouTube can actually be relaxing. The point is, try your best to keep your mind in the moment so that you can fully take in the time you're spending away.
This may seem contradictory to unplugging, but one of my favorite parts of traveling and going on vacation is taking photos. Not only is it fun in the moment to be creative in capturing your vacation, but it's also great to look back at the photos and videos once you're home and remember all of the fun things you did.
Go with the flow.
After all of the planning and organization, try to go with the flow when you actually reach your destination. If you have reservations at a trendy vegan restaurant but you feel like you'd rather eat Italian, don't hesitate...just cancel the reservations and do what you feel like! If it rains on the day you're supposed to be having a picnic in the park, don't stress, just go to the museum instead.