To many people, traveling is a joy, something to look forward to, plan for and have fun with. Those who travel frequently have their routine down pat and often keep luggage packed, ready for the next trip. Those who do not travel often, probably might not because they don’t like the whole business of traveling. Still, aside from people with challenging handicaps or celebrities, most of us should not have a lot of trouble with traveling.
Lets take a look at some travel tips aimed to make the process as stress-free as possible.
Get a passport. Unless your trip finds you walking through a National Park, you need a passport. Cruise travelers that are U.S. citizens slide under the law by booking closed-loop cruises that begin and end in the U.S. The problem is that the birth certificate they use for identification to get on the ship it technically not enough to let them fly back into the United States, should an emergency arise. A U.S. passport is simply the best identification you can have. Like paying more for a well-made tool, the confidence travelers have when using a passport totally elminates this stress factor.
Buy the largest carry-on sized luggage you can find and keep all the most important things you need with you on the plane, train or bus. To arrive at your destination wondering if your luggage made it is probably one of the biggest stress-inducing moments of any trip.
Have a backup plan on flights that includes airlines, flight numbers and times in case your flight is late/canceled/diverted.You will be the prepared person at the airline ticket counter with complete information, asking good questions that require a direct answer.
Buy travel protection of some sort. You may not need travel insurance but travel assistance that provides emergency evacuation might be the ticket for you. A cheap policy with only basic medical coverage will keep you from kicking yourself later. Accidents happen.
Line it all out in an itinerary you make for yourself. I mean type up every detail of your itinerary on your computer with your own hands, not something you get from a travel agent or the cruise line. The physical act of organizing it all in a document you have created organizes it in your mind as well. Knowledge is power and knowing your itinerary without looking is a huge stress releiver.
Do everything ahead of time that you can. Boarding passes, luggage tags, joining frequent flyer clubs, anything that can be done ahead of time online do that. While you are on line, copy important information you might need down the road like emergency numbers, baggage weight and size requirements and the like.
Be prepared for security checks. You know they are coming at various times throughout your journey. Wear a travel vest or use a carry-on bag with outside pockets that are easy to quickly stuff with the contents of pants pockets.
Go early to critical places like airports before flights. You want to be seated close to the gate (the door people walk through to get on the plane) and close to the gate’s ticket counter (the place people go when there is a problem) so that you can respond to airline announcements quickly and efficiently. Procrastinators lose big time on this one.
Be alert by doing whatever it takes to stay that way. If traveling with others, take turns being alert OR being plugged in to whatever devices amuse you. You can’t do both effectively. Banking sleep the week before traveling helps more mentally than physically but find someone who knows about stress reduction and “sleep” will be a hot topic with them.
Finally, think about your previous travels; when someone dragged you kicking and screaming but in the end it was a good experience. Isolate those elements of that particular trip that you found most disruptive and make plans in advance to head them off before they start. Odds are that if some part of travel bothered you before, it will again, if you let it. Don’t.