Whether you’re traveling near or far, by plane or car, when embarking on a trip we usually have hopes of getting to our travel destination on time and without any issues. However, the reality is usually very different. Traveling can be really stressful, which is why we’ve pulled together our go-to travel tips to help you handle whatever may come your way.
1. Before you check in for your flight, check in with yourself
One reason we can feel out-of-sorts while traveling is because we are quite literally out of our usual routines. If you’re used to your everyday routines (which a lot of us are!), the spontaneity and lack of structure of traveling can be hard to adjust to.
Take some time before you leave to check in on what it is you need to feel comfortable before taking off on your journey, and how you can bring some familiarity with you to your new setting. Do you need to have your coffee first thing when you wake up? Are you crabby with less than 8 hours of sleep?
Build time into your itinerary to meet those needs, and make time for them before your trip to help you feel grounded. If you go to the gym to relieve your stress, but you “should be” packing, give yourself permission to make room for both.
2. Pinpoint what is it is about travel that makes you stressed
Now that you’ve scheduled your self-care ahead of your travels, it’s helpful to find out what it is about travel that’s causing your anxiety. Take a piece of paper and jot down all your feelings and worries about your upcoming plans. Then, come up with a few solutions for each scenario.
For example, if you’re worried about missing your flight and having to run through the airport to make your gate – leave an extra hour of buffer time in between when you would normally get to the airport. Or plan to check first thing the morning of your flight to look online at security wait times, and look at the travel time.
Not only does putting it on paper help you agonize less, but by practicing problem solving you can feel more prepared for whatever comes your way.
3. Make a packing list and check it twice
No matter the length of the trip, knowing how much to pack, what outfits you’ll need, and making sure you remember everything is overwhelming.
SmarterTravel shares its ultimate packing list to help make sure no item is left behind. We recommend waiting to check items off the list until they’re safely tucked away in your bag. If there are last-minute items you need to pack at the last minute (toothbrush, makeup, etc.) – make a post-it note and stick it to your bathroom mirror or right by the doorway to your house.
With all of that being said, unless you’re traveling to the desert or a remote island off the coast of Italy, if you forget something, you’ll likely be able to find a quick replacement at the store
4. Download your games and books in advance
Whether it’s sitting at the airport, or driving in a car, if you’re wondering what you’ll do with your downtime, make it impossible to become bored with how many activities you’ve planned for yourself.
Download your apps, books, movies, tv shows, podcasts, and games before you leave the house. Download a meditation app (such as Calm or InsightTimer) to keep your headspace clear if it becomes cloudy.
Not interested in using your phone? Head to the library and take out a book you’ve been meaning to read or bring a sketchbook to doodle and write out your thoughts. Make the most of your travel time by doing things you enjoy (even if that means sleeping!)
5. Keep yourself sustained by prepping food
Sometimes, eating on-the-go is expensive, limited, and unfulfilling. By packing your own meals and snacks, you can save money and avoid having to decide where you’ll be finding your next meal, which can be stressful for a variety of reasons.
6. Print out important documents before you leave
Sure, we all have our boarding documents on our phones nowadays, but you never know when your phone could run out of juice. Having a paper copy on hand gives you a backup option for when your phone decides it wants to stop working, and can check one less worry off your list.
Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a newcomer on the road, traveling can bring up stressful thoughts and feelings. If you’re feeling anxious or overwhelmed as you travel, we are here 24/7 to support you. Call the Colorado Crisis Services line at 1-844-493-8255 or Text TALK to 38255 to speak with a trained crisis counselor.