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Ways to overcome Travel Stress

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Last updated on October 28th, 2017

Ways to overcome Travel Stress

Many people I have talked to tell me that travel stress is one of the main reasons that puts them off travelling altogether. ¬†They don’t feel comfortable with the idea of organising their own trips for fear of doing something wrong that will spoil their holiday. These stress symptoms can take on different forms and depend on our personalities. They can be temporary, or more permanent.

It is a great shame to avoid travelling because of stress and opt-out from discovering this beautiful world we live it. Not to battle with the various levels of our comfort zones and enjoy travelling for what it really is.

In this post, I will present some of the most important ways to overcome Travel Stress so that I can hopefully help you treat this type of stress symptom and make it only temporary.

Your travel documents – Passport

First things first! We can’t really venture far without having some form of identification with us. For most of us, this is our Passport. In most cases, when travelling within Europe, as European citizens, our National Identification Card is also a valid option. Provided of course that it has Latin characters.

Overcoming Stress factor:

It is generally advised that our Passports should be valid for at least 6 months ahead of our travel dates. For example, let’s assume your trip takes place in February, your passport should be valid until at least August of that same year. There are some cases where you can still travel within Europe with a passport validity of less than six months. It is advised however to check with your local authorities to avoid any last minute surprises during the Check-in process.

If you decide to use your ID card instead, bear in mind that staff at the airport will check the number of your ID with the one you provided when you purchased your ticket. These two numbers need to be correct and matching. You cannot use your passport number to buy the ticket and present your ID card at the Check-in counter.


Important documents – ways of handling them

Without a doubt, the most important document is indeed our Passport. We would not want to find ourselves in a situation with a lost passport during one of our travels!

Overcoming stress factor:

You can do one or all of the following to eliminate or reduce the fear of losing your passport: Take a picture of the main page of your passport, ensuring that all four corners are clearly visible and that your picture and all important information is crisp and well-focused.

If you possess a scanner, its best to use this and ensure the best quality of your document. You can then print out a copy of this and carry with you at all times. During your departure and arrival at the airport, it’s best to keep it at a different place from where you hold your actual passport, (in case you lose this bag). When you check-in at your hotel, you can then lock your passport in your room’s safe and have with you only the actual copy. No matter what happens, you will always have your passport safe.

Ways to overcome Travel StressYou can also do the same with other documents and go an extra step of storing them in your mobile phone. If you happen to have a ‘cloud’ storage account, (such as ‘Google Drive’, ‘Dropbox’), use this as an extra safety measure. Upload your documents there, (using even a password to open specific documents such as PDF’s). In the unfortunate event of losing your phone/tablet, you can always access these from any other device.

Your itinerary – organising it to overcome Travel Stress

We all have in mind a certain itinerary when we are about to travel. Whether we are embarking on a ‘Round the world’ voyage or a week’s trip to Greece.
This could be just a rough idea of what we would like to see day by day, a simple daily reminder of places and things not to miss out on, or a more detailed account of every hotel we booked, rental car, flight number, etc.

How do you keep this info organised? Do you just print off everything and risk losing various pages of booking confirmations, boarding passes and other travel documents? Let alone the lack of respect for the environment.
In today’s world of information technology, mobile phones and apps it’s a shame not take advantage of some really cool tools that you can have at your disposal with a click of a button.

Overcoming stress factor:

Use the ‘Travefy’ app. You can download this application for both Android and iOS. I was thrilled to read about this app and test it out. It is basically everything you need in one. You can use it for just a rough sketch of your travel plans day by day, or a detailed account of everything taking place in your holidays. I have made a detailed post here of everything you need to know about ‘Travefy’, and I am confident that it will change the way you feel about organising your trips.


Uncertaintly of using Credit/Debit or prepaid cards abroad

This can be a huge subject by itself since there are so many factors that you could consider checking before you start using your cards abroad. I will only cover some necessary steps here, which will help you avoid nasty surprises when you travel.

Overcoming stress factor:

Ring your bank before you leave to let them know which countries you will be visiting. I cannot stress enough the importance of this since most banks will block any unusual transactions of your cards. By unusual I mean transactions you do not normally execute. If all your card transactions within the past 6 months / one year take place in your home city and they suddenly see a sale going through in a different country, they will naturally block this for your own account’s safety. Doing this will help you avoid embarrassing moments.

Find out if there are any cash withdrawal fees when abroad. Not knowing this can mount up to a hefty amount once your statements come through. Additionally, ask them if there are any fees for transactions in different currencies, (example, from euro to sterling or dollar). Many banks charge these nowadays.

Start making use of pre-paid debit cards. They can come in very handy, even when used in emergencies. A good example of this would be to load a certain safety amount, (that you think necessary), in the event of you losing your actual debit card. Keep this card separately and use it when you really have to.

Lastly, store your card’s telephone number, located on the back, and save it in your phone. This way, if you lose your card, you won’t have to start googling phone numbers in a panic. You can even write down the actual card number or last 4 digits as an extra safety measure.


Organising your luggage – major stress factor

This is a battle for all of us. Even after so many trips I have taken so far, I still struggle with this one. I have improved a little over the last decade, so I’m getting there.
The eternal question of “..will I need this one..?”, “..can I part from my favourite hiking shoes..?”. It is what I call the “..what if syndrome”.

Overcoming stress factor:

Leave that ‘kitchen sink’ behind you. You will survive! I promise! Although this comes down to a more personal approach of what everyone thinks as their comfort items, by following a few simple rules of packing light, you can avoid unnecessary burdens.

You can start by packing your carry on bag. Try placing what you consider would be the absolute necessities. A reasonable frame of thought for this one would be to think of yourself as being stranded somewhere. What kind of clothing would help you survive? A full change of clothes to see you through the first day or so would be the sensible approach. Does this fit in your carry on? If it does, you are already doing well. You can now consider packing a small, “personal care’ kit that could come in handy. This could include a travel size toothpaste with toothbrush, deodorant, and a small bottle of shower gel.

It is important to remember the 100ml limit of anything liquid here. Anything bigger than this and the airport authorities will take it away from you. It is always advisable to place these in ziplock clear bags. You can even fill them up with your products at home to save yourselves some wasted cash as well.
This kit will come really handy if you are stranded at the airport for hours due to a delay for example. Refreshing yourself with any of these items or any other small cosmetics you deem necessary, will lighten up your mood in most cases.

Moving on to your check-in luggage, continue to have the ‘survival’ kit in mind. How many clothes would you actually need for 1 week’s trip for example? Do you really need 2-3 changes of clothes per day? Try packing clothes that can be combined. Items that you can easily coordinate and mix with one another.

If you are going on a more extended trip, remember that you can make use of laundromats as well, or hotel laundry services. You really don’t have to pack clothes, underwear, socks for the entire duration of your journey, (imagine leaving for 1 month or longer)!

Remember to pack tightly. Take full advantage of every space or corner of your check-in luggage.
I will be doing a different post in the near future about Ways to pack your suitcases. There are some fantastic tools out there that can really save you space.


Smart ways to securing your luggage

We have all been concerned with losing our luggage due to airline failure. To avoid blaming yourself if this happens, you can take some steps to make your life easier afterwards.

Overcoming stress factor:

Once you are finished packing all the pieces of your luggage, take a picture of both your carry-on and check-in luggage. Taking snaps of both the inside and the outside, (brand details), will help you describe your luggage to the “Lost & Found” departments in a more efficient manner. There is nothing worse than not remembering the brand of your luggage, or what were the first few layers of clothing that you packed.


Airport Security

I don’t actually mind this step of the pre-boarding process. It is part of the fun for me when travelling – but I am probably one of the very few people that don’t get frustrated when it comes to Airport security. The trick here is to always have in mind that these are actual people. Doing their job. A crucial task that heavily concerns your safety and in-flight security.
Being prepared ahead of time will save you a lot of time and maybe frustration.

Overcoming stress factor:

Arrive early! I cannot stress this enough.

Doing so will allow for extra, stress-free time when you are stuck behind a long queue. Sometimes no matter how well prepared we are, we may find ourselves behind a person flying for the first time. Watching them emptying their pockets slowly free of change will only add to our stress and frustration if we are tight with time.

Have your paperwork ready for inspection. Don’t wait until the last second to fumble into your bags or jackets to find them.

Think about items or pieces of clothing you are wearing that could trigger alarms. Take off your belt ahead of time. The buckle will almost always trigger that dreaded beeping sound. Too much jewellery? Think ahead about this one. Do you need to wear it all during this process? Anything vaguely metallic – you guessed it! Will trigger off alarms and have you frisked in no time.

Wear slip-on shoes and socks if you can help it. In most airports, your shoes will need to come off. Having to deal with laces or complicated shoe/boot buckles will only delay you.

Cooperate: if you need to be searched just let the officers do their job. Don’t get frustrated and be a smart Aleck. They are doing their job, remember? Try and put yourself in their position for a few seconds.


Dealing with electronics

Most of us travel with at least one or many of the following: mobile phone/s, tablet, laptop, camera, camcorder. Add to all these items their chargers and cables as well, and you could well end up with filling up the entire space of your carry-on luggage.

Overcoming stress factor:

Only carry with you gadgets you will be using during your flight. Would you really want all of the chargers in your small bag? Try reducing them altogether by checking beforehand for universal chargers. Most mobile phones today use the same charging ports. The same goes for tablets as well. Their charger is the same with that of a mobile phone. Carry only one Universal adaptor. Most of them today are suitable for most countries.

Remember that the more electronics you are carrying, the longer it will take for Airport Security to go through and inspect. All of these items will need to go through the scanners. So be prepared to open their cases and place them in their own bin for the X-Ray machine.

If you are nervous about storing your expensive camcorder in your checked-in luggage, consider insuring them.

The list of Travel Stress Symptoms can indeed be endless. I do believe I have covered the most essential factors here to help your travelling adventure become less stressful.

I will also be touching upon other smaller tips for your Journeys in different posts.

What is the one factor that stresses you out and stops you from travelling? Please comment below!

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