Stress while you’re away is a total buzz kill. With stress around, your positive vibes and good times will be gone faster than free shots in a hostel bar. It can be a good thing to solve problems under stress, it builds on life skills and experience, but if we can reduce it, we should! Over the last few years, we’ve become a lot better at dealing with stressful situations, even our parents worry about us less (or they seem to), which is a relief in itself. Whether you are just starting out, or are an experienced traveller, we think it’s helpful to have some go to ideas for reducing stress on the road. For your own piece of mind, and probably your parents too, here are some of our tips for super stress free travel;
Keep It Together
It might seem pretty obvious, but planning is the key to stress free travel. I don’t mean planning every minute of every day, or even all your accommodation and transport between stops, I’m talking about planning the backbone of your trip and being prepared with what you need for it. Yes, it is possible to take a flexible approach to travel while having planned some things in advance – in our opinion this is actually totally necessary. The trouble with planning, is that it often happens well in advance of when you’re actually doing the travelling, things get forgotten, dates gets mixed up, and consequently, things can get stressful. To prevent this from happening, we keep all our stuff together in an A4 clear file. There’s no arguing, a clear file is small and flat enough to easily fit into a backpack, basically unnoticed. Firstly, we print the part of a calendar which covers our trip dates and record key events on it to keep in the folder, we put a copy of our passports and some passport photos in (very important!), and then each time we book any accommodation, a flight, transport or an activity, it gets printed and slipped into the file. Just before we leave, we will arrange the documents in date order and in the backpack it goes. You may not even need to pull this bad boy out, and you may just have your calendar and passport copies in it, but phones die and computers crash so, if the need arises, the information is on hand in hard copy for you.
Ensure You Insure
Travel insurance is something you pay for and hope you never have to use, which can put you off getting it in the first place – but lets be clear, it is foolish and irresponsible to travel without it. Personally, I’ve had to claim twice for medical treatment, once in Croatia and once in Morocco, both fairly minor charges. But take America, where there is little to no funding for medical treatment, you could bankrupt yourself over a broken arm if you don’t have insurance, and they may not even treat you at all if you can’t prove you have the means to cover costs. I could go on and on with possible situations, but lets face it, forking out for medical costs is simply not something you want to be stressing about if you’re sick or injured and you just never know what might happen. Decent medical cover and a low (or nil excess) are really important things to look for on your policy, along with cover for personal belongings, in case your phone/laptop is lost or stolen for example. Be sure to check most, or all, of the activities you plan on doing are covered in your policy too – things like skiing, surfing or driving a hire scooter. You can print your policy number and stow it in your clear file even! Another great tip for avoiding potential stress is to put together a first aid kit for all the basic ailments – Band aids, paracetamol and imodium (for upset tummy), plus vitamins to help ward off sickness, throat lozenges, tampons (they don’t sell these everywhere as I found out in Morocco) and sun block
Back It Up
It is so important to always have access to at least one other source of income aside from your main one while you travel. A dear friend of mine was pick pocketed on her first day in Paris, it was a disastrous way to start a Europe trip, and a hassle to cancel credit cards etc. However, because she had access to a back up currency card, there was no affect on the awesomeness of the rest of the trip and no reason to stress about money. If you can have multiple back ups, that is even better, and obviously keep your sources of money in different places! Photos are another thing which are devastating to lose or have stolen, and because so many of us use our phones to take and store photos, it is all too common that these go missing. Before you go away, sign up to a cloud based back up service and change your settings so your device is backed up every time you connect to WiFi, this will minimise what is lost if anything happens. It also means a higher capacity for storage, so no stressing about space to fit more cute selfies and those unforgettable travel snaps
Something that trips a lot of people up are obtaining the right visas and following the conditions that come with entering new countries. Immigration troubles are definitely a stressful situation you want to avoid, so be sure to check what your visas requirements are for each country you want to visit, and make sure the information is coming from a credible source. We find the Star Alliance passport, visa and health travel requirements page to be very helpful when looking for visa information
Find Your Way
For the more flexible travellers who plan as they go, it can be stressful to work out how to get from A to B in a country that doesn’t speak your language or doesn’t have a lot of tourism and information for foreign visitors. Something that we find ourselves turning to over and over again is Rome2rio, not only does it help in situations like the above, it gives you a good idea around the cost of different modes of transport, how long the journey will take and links to book the trips online in some cases. This is a really good resource to save as a favourite, you will end up using it all the time, feel the public transport stress melt away!
The best thing to do is learn what your stress triggers are and do a little forward planning to prepare yourself for those situations. Remember that its normal to stress, but don’t let it take over your trip to the point where you are no longer enjoying yourself. Know that things will go wrong and that no trip will be perfect, but allow yourself to be OK with that. We’ve all had mishaps on the road, but they usually just turn in to great stories. Happy stress-free travelling everyone!
Give us your own tips for fighting stress while travelling below – you never know who you might help by sharing!