Secrets of People Who Don’t Stress Out When They Travel

published May 5, 2015
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(Image credit: Jessica Isaac)

Have some trips coming up (for business or pleasure)? Want to know how to glide through the airport, not break a sweat on a road trip and in general, enjoy the act of traveling — the actual getting from one place to another — a bit more? Take a page out of the notebook of travelers who never seem mussed or frustrated with these stress-less secrets.

1. They make a list of what they need to buy, pack and do way before any travel occurs

Sometimes travel brain — the tendency to think about your trip coming up while simultaneously forgetting what you need to bring — can set in a lot earlier than you think. So make a list of what you need to do at work and home before you leave, what you need to pack and bring and any other things that need to be checked off on your travel to do list way before you travel and when your brain is calm and fresh. Keep this list with you throughout the whole traveling preparation and even take it with you when you travel in case you get attacked by “oh did I remember to…” while en route.

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2. They pack lightly with easy-to-move luggage

You rarely see someone schlepping five heavy and awkward bags through an airport with a smile on their face. As much as you think you’ll need those extra items when you get to your destination, chances are you can do without. And focus on the ease in which you move through airports and train stations — some folks like not straining by using rolling bags but others like the flexibility of darting through crowds with an over-shoulder bag. Whichever bag style is your style, just invest the money you can on quality so wheels don’t pop off and straps don’t dig into your shoulder.

3. But they know what to pack to make their life easier when they travel, too.

You don’t have to carry a full-size first-aid kit with you when you travel, but you might consider packing a few motion sickness pills if you’re prone. Hate the noise of travel? Or can only sleep when it’s dark? Ear plugs and a small sleep mask don’t take up much space in a bag. Consider the little things that could make your travel slightly more pleasant and keep them on you (and don’t necessarily depend on buying them when you get to the airport because they might not have what you need or you might be delayed and not have time).

4. They get plenty of rest before the trip

Rushing to get everything done before you travel, whether for work or for fun, can leave you worn out. This is definitely something considered “easier said than done,” but don’t travel tired. Navigating unfamiliar airports and highways is so much more difficult when you’re not your most rested.

5. They stay hydrated and well fed

Getting away from your daily routine plus the dry air of airplanes can make it easy to end up feeling dehydrated, so carry a reusable water bottle you can fill up as you travel, and take swigs often (as much as you can with limited bathroom access). And if you turn into a nightmare traveler when you get hangry, keep some snacks you can get to easily if you’re not into mini-bags of nuts or over-paying for food at the airport or trying to find something healthy on road trips through unfamiliar cities.

6. They dress comfortably — but also practically

There’s a sort of perfect travel outfit — one that makes you feel a bit like a chic traveler, that is comfortable enough to sit, stand and walk in for hours on end and that doesn’t require a lot of actions to undo for restroom breaks or airport security. Unfortunately everyone has to decipher what this outfit is for themselves and their own style — but it’s worth the search.

7. They give themselves plenty of time

Things can go wrong. Buses can be late. Taxis can get flat tires. Folks who never seem stressed when they travel don’t cut it close to flight times and departures, they give themselves plenty of time. Not rushing or worrying about missing something will cut the stress out of traveling big time.

8. They entertain themselves

Boredom can be more than just a bummer…it can ignite annoyance. What’s your favorite thing to fill your time with when you’re not working? Listening to podcasts? Catching up on articles? Reading a few chapters of your favorite book? Indulging in magazines? Give yourself that opportunity while you wait with strangers or miles pass under your wheels (well, don’t read while you drive).

9. They focus on the positive

Also file this one under “easier said than done,” but it’s true. As mentioned above, a lot can go wrong when you travel. A lot. But, like life, negative things won’t feel like they have as much power when you notice the silver lining of the situation.

What would you add to this list?