Travel isn’t always a walk in the park, and there are times when it can be plain stressful. Since April is Stress Awareness Month, I thought it appropriate to address this topic now. We have found that there are actions you can take to remove some of that stress and so here are some tips of own on how to reduce stress while travelling.
Sam says…organise things at home and give someone you trust the ability to take action on your behalf
Having to deal with banks, insurance companies or tax authorities to figure out what you owe in your home country while you are away can be stressful, frustrating and extremely time consuming, in part because they are often only set up to receive calls or mail from within the relevant country and they are not used to dealing with customers while they are on the other side of the world. I had this problem while trying to deal with my UK bank over a weak Skype connection from Peru and I am now convinced it is its own special circle of hell. In order to make this easier for myself, next time I will try to inform them that I will be outside of the UK, and if possible, make it so that someone who lives permanently in the UK is able to deal with basic tasks on my behalf. And of course, I’ll make sure to bring back this person a gift from my travels!
Sam says…plan and book in advance (but don’t forget to leave room for spontaneity)
Personally, I have found that not knowing where I’ll sleep the night after tomorrow to be rather unsettling, so I always end up booking something in advance. The further in advance I have plans set, the more comfortable I feel, especially on a long trip where I’m moving from place to place. However, I also realise that there is a fine line between being well prepared and draining all the spontaneity and adventure out of my travels, and I’ve learnt that it’s also important to allow some time for the unknown to creep in and see what happens. You can find your own threshold for this by going to the extremes (from planning absolutely nothing and simply going with the flow, to planning every moment of a trip) and your comfort level with each end of the spectrum will quickly make itself known.
Zab says…load your MP3 device with relaxing music
I recommend this for long journeys of any kind, but having something to take you out of a stressful situation which is beyond your control can be very useful, as well as calming. Music is certainly what does this for me, but maybe a good book, a game or your favourite film are what will relax you when you’re starting to feel stressed out because of the traffic jam your long distance bus is stuck in, or because you’re waiting at the airport for a flight that is continually being delayed and seems will never leave.
Sam says…give everything a place in your luggage and stick to it
One major source of stress for me revolves around not knowing where my things are. I’ve discovered, however, that if I try to pack my bag in the same way, and keep certain things with certain other things (nail clippers along with tweezers in my toiletries bag which goes in last at the very top of my backpack, for example) or in a particular pocket then this stress mostly vanishes. As long as I remember to put it back where it belongs (or lives, as I prefer to say).
Zab says…prepare your happy place to go to in moments of stress
In those moments when the stress starts to become too much, I like to simply close my eyes, take a deep breath and think of a happy memory. I actually sat down and made a list of some of these to remind myself, and now if I find myself needing it, I can take a quick glance at the list and remember something pleasant to distract me from a stressful situation around me, whether that’s on a crowded bus or just being overwhelmed with options and issue in planning our next steps.
What tips do you recommend for reducing stress while travelling?
This post was inspired by Dropcam‘s campaign to share tips on how to reduce stress while travelling. If you have any more tips to share, they’d love to hear from you – email Tiffany at tpham(at)dropcam(dot)com.