Article By Guest Contributor: Henry Moore at Fit Well Traveler
Traveling is meant to be a time for us to relax, kick up our feet, and let our minds wander away from the stress of daily life. So why do so many people feel anxiety and stress when faced with the prospect of traveling?
Planning a vacation can have a lot of details and particulars that make it an ordeal; we can’t help stressing, but there’s plenty we can do to minimize stress. Whether it’s planning, flying, or a combination of these and other factors that makes your mind race and blood pressure rise, follow this guide to minimize travel stress as much as possible.
(Photo via Pixabay)
Why Does Travel Make Us Stress?
For many people, the “security’ measures” that we face at the airport alone are enough to make our blood boil. Other people have a fear of flying. It’s often not rational, but it can be very real in its anxiety-inducing effects. Others can’t help but constantly worry what door they forgot to lock or what item they forgot at home. Calm Clinic explains the root causes of travel anxiety, which for many stems from life anxiety.
So, we’ve established that travel can induce some serious stress, but we also know that the vacation itself tends to be great for our mental and physical health. So the issue is not avoiding travel stress completely; that’s impossible for most of us. The key question is: How can we minimize stress as much as possible in order to get the most out of our vacation?
Prepare in Advance
The Washington Post wisely advises that travelers plan their trip intelligently. Don’t be impulsive, jumping at a dirt-cheap airfare without giving serious thought to what may prevent you from traveling during a certain time frame, even if that travel-preventing obstacle isn’t yet on your calendar. A low fare is completely wasted if you have to cancel the trip completely.
Very Well points out that planning ahead means researching and securing accommodations, but only after you’ve chosen a travel date range that makes sense for you. They also add packing smart to the list of travel stress-reducers. Pack as lightly as possible, starting early and weeding out as many items as possible as your departure date approaches.
Don’t rely on your memory when it comes to packing and planning, according to Psychology Today. In other words, make lists. And stick to them. It will reduce the worrisome and often unshakeable thoughts that rhetorically ask, “What did I forget?”
Secure Your Home
Speaking of forgetting something, neglecting to secure your home is one of the surest ways to ruin a trip. Ask your neighbors to check on your home once you head out, but also be sure to triple-check to that all doors and windows are locked before you leave. If you have outside lights, put them on a timer so would-be burglars are deterred if they take the lights to mean you’re at home. And lastly, lock your garage door.
We often think of vacation in a context that considers only its benefits. That’s mostly fine, because vacation does result in health and experiential benefits that are undeniable. But that doesn’t mean traveling is all roses. Nothing in life is all roses – besides actual roses, of course – and the airport in particular means that traveling is not an exception to this rule. Do what you can to be prepared well in advance of a trip, and by the way, a quick pitstop at the airport bar might not be a bad idea either.
Henry is the co-creator of Fit Well Traveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both.