I wish I had never gone traveling.
Said no one ever!
However, travel can be pretty stressful sometimes and there can be various reasons. Sometimes it’s the pre-travel time, sometimes travel in general, and sometimes the post-travel period. There are many things I sometimes find stressful when traveling and I’m sure you faced one or another as well. But during my intensive travels I found ways to deal with all of them!
Multi City Trips
Ever planned a multi city trip? Especially in Europe it is easy to visit multiple cities in several days. One day in Barcelona, next day in Paris and the day afterwards in Amsterdam? No problem and in the mean time you want to see as much as possible right? Been there, done that, not doing it again… At the end of the day I wasn’t anywhere and didn’t see anything… physically though I visited all of the cities… but with my head I was always planning the next step of the itinerary. During the years I learned that less is more and I will be more content with one great experience rather than with three short and stressful memories. I can always go and check out the other cities on my next trip! I’m a huge friend of slow travel and I think this is the only way to really experience and to get to know a place.
Delays and Cancelations
While most transportation methods in Europe are reliable, you can never be sure that they really will be on time. Always plan a little bit of extra time. And if it happens that you aren’t going anywhere on time, try to relax and make the best out of it… Flight delayed by a few hours? Isn’t there anything you can do in the mean time? Now you finally have the extra time you were looking for to get something done…
When I experience delays or cancelations, I simply find a task that fills that time… Right now I’m sitting at the airport in Copenhagen filling a two-hour gap by writing this blog post… you see, there is always something to do. Don’t waste your energy complaining about things you simply cannot change!
Food, Water, Bathrooms
You are probably familiar with this phenomenon. You’ve got a bargain flight to a destination and look forward to save a lot of money but before you have even boarded the flight you’ve already spent a fortune… A snack and a coffee at the airport, water after the security check in and sometimes you even have to pay to go to the toilet… isn’t that crazy that before you’ve boarded the plane you’ve already spent 20 €?
I used to do to this all the time, nowadays, I go back into town before I make my way to the airport and eat a proper meal and drink a lot before driving to the airport. When traveling, you should try to be hydrated anyways.
Don’t you hate getting lost in unfamiliar places? Well I actually don’t because this is a great way to experience what a place is all about by finding hidden corners of a city I would normally not get to see with a normal guide. But to find my way out again, I always try to download a Google Maps map on my phone to use it when offline. You can easily do this too. Search for a place in Google Maps and zoom in such that all the area that you wish to save is visible on the screen. Now tap the search box and type “ok maps” without the quotes. Tap the Search button on the keyboard and all the visible area will download to your phone almost instantly. Try it now, you’ll love it!
Isn’t it annoying when you have somebody slow in front of you at the security check at the airport? I don’t think anybody should ever stress himself when in a queue as stressing won’t make it any easier or faster. But I think we can all do our bit to make the process a little bit more efficient. When I travel, I often put all the things I have in my pockets into my jacket. This way I only have to take off the jacket and take out the laptop and I’m done. I also take off the belt while in the queue already, this often takes up a lot of time… Imagine everybody saving one or two minutes in the queue, it would be so much faster…
Transportation (taxi) in unfamiliar places
In many countries it is still common to charge tourist prices and local prices and it’s even more common to drive many detours in order to charge more. One of those cities is Bangkok for instance where they still try to rip you off if you are a farang (in thai foreigner). It’s very handy to have a version of google maps available offline and also to check the quickest direction before you step into the taxi in order to give directions. If you want to download an offline version of google maps to your phone check “Getting Lost” I explained how you can download it there… An alternative would be to have a map with you where you can show the driver where to take you and to try to follow the route you are driving over the map.
Loosing things (camera, laptop, documents)
I’m always afraid I will loose some of my things when traveling. My passport, camera, laptop and much more were stolen when I was drugged and hit by a car in 2008 in Sydney. Since then I always back everything up with Dropbox. I have a copy of my ID, passport etc. up there and also back up my most important files (blog posts, blog backup, photos, videos). I just purchased the Dropbox Business Plan with over 200 GB of space and it makes my life much easier and stress free!
Oh god, I travel quite a lot and at least once a month. Back in the days, I used to pack weeks before to see if everything fits, nowadays, I pack an hour before leaving the house. I found a system that works perfectly for me and I know which things I need for which purposes! If you have problems packing for a trip, pack once and then leave it for a while and focus on something else. Then go back to your bag and try to remove half of your things. Works every time!
Check out my packing list for inspiration!
Tense muscles and insomnia when traveling
Traveling can be painful sometimes, cramped in a metal tube at 40.000 feet with screaming kids around you or in a small bus in South East Asia. When I try to sleep, I usually tense my shoulders to relax my head. At least this is something I used to do, but I recently found a solution called Relax Ally! It’s magical… You fix a strap around your seat, fix your head with the ribbon and relax. The ribbon holds your head in position and you can finally relax your head and sleep… if it is too bright, the inventors even added a little extra fabric that falls over your eyes and if that isn’t enough they even patched little pockets with earplugs. Can it get better than this? Check out Relax Ally here!
What do you think is the most stressful thing about traveling and how do you avoid it?