The first thing one needs to accept about travel and stress is that they are interrelated. Anything that promises “stress free” travel is not really travel. The fact is anything unfamiliar or outside our daily routine will cause us some sort of stress. The purpose then is not to eliminate the stress but minimize it.
Step one: The essential anxieties
The first things that pop into our mind when we start planning a trip are essential things we need to survive: food, transport and shelter. We calculate a budget, what money we will need to eat, where we can afford to stay and finally how do we get there. Many people don’t travel as often as they would like and some never get around to the traveling they dream of. A proposal to begin putting trips into action is just to think of travel as the exact same things you are responsible for at home. Everyday you make decisions about what you eat, where you sleep and how you get around. Now of course travel has some added anxieties on top of this, but just putting oneself in this simple mindset can minimize the effects of travel stress one might have even before undertaking the journey.
Step two: Concerns beyond the ordinary
The second wave of stress can hit during or after we’ve considered how we will cover our most basic needs. We recommend catching your breath, have some time to look over your reservations again and confirm that dates and times are correct. You probably should have done this first, but be sure you have access to the places you are visiting either with a passport or a visa. You may have read some disturbing things about your destination. Do the appropriate research to determine whether these are just stereotypes or legitimate concerns you will have to be wary of on your trip. The night before departure be sure to double check all itineraries for possible cancellations and schedule changes.
Step three: Stress while on the road
The first and most essential rule to minimizing actual journey stress is proper sleep. Get exceptionally good sleep two days before your departure. Packing should be handled around the same time, you may have a day or two to add or subtract something from the suitcase you do or don’t need.
As far as logistics go, it is recommended to get a handle on basic transit options in the area you will be exploring. Maps with highlighted places to visit, either printed, purchased or gotten in the form of apps can be quite helpful. Give them proper attention before you get to your destination, but don’t over think it too much. Paying attention to things like bus numbers around your hotel, names of neighborhoods and having an idea of where you might like to eat or get groceries can allow for the day to be much more efficient.
Why travel stress can be good
Being a bit anxious is a natural defense mechanism we all have. It helps us avoid mistakes, to act prudently and to control the future in a small way. If we simply just hopped on a plane and landed in a far away land with no money or plans, we probably would still survive, some people have done so. But we make plans, we take responsibility for putting ourselves in strange places and situations. If we are imposing ourselves on someone else’s daily life halfway around the world, it is good that we are a little stressed about it, just not too much.