A vacation, business or personal trip can cause a lot of stress on your body and your mind. Combine that stress with foreign places, close quarters with a lot of different people and germs, and you have perfect mix for catching the traveler’s flu.
Instead of giving into the chaos that can happen when you’re in the whirlwind of getting ready and getting out the door, take advantage of these tips to reduce that last-minute stress and help your future travels be more Zen.
Make a list of what you’ll need. If you’re only packing for yourself, the list can be fairly simple. However, if you’re going with an entire family and responsible for carrying items that everyone will need and use, it can become much more complicated. A list can save the day when many people depend on you. If you travel a lot, the same list can be used over and over with minor tweaks for the number of days, weather and custom wear.
If you’re old-school, write the list down and keep it in a notebook. Or you can create it on your computer, online or on your phone. There are many options – so use what you are comfortable with most. You can download apps that allow you to create and share lists with friends and family, or you can pick and choose from the ultimate travel packing checklist. No matter what your preference, having everything you will need on one list will help you remember those items that are important, like your passport or your phone charger, and make for a much more pleasant trip.
Pack ahead of time. Many people tend to pack right before they leave, the night before or that morning. That can be very stressful and leaves a lot of room for error. Try and have all the clothes and travel toiletries packed by the weekend before your trip. Add in items you won’t need to use before you leave, like a spare charger or extra contact lenses. You can always add items later or exchange things if you change you mind.
Create a budget and stay within it. Too many times the idea of vacation makes us think we can spend like crazy on frivolous items and worry about the consequences later. That is not fair to your future self. It also doesn’t help your current and future stress levels. Know what your budget is for the trip, what you can spend for different things and how you will pay for it all when you return. Be smart with your money and stick to the budget as best you can during the trip. Enjoy the experience but try not to spend every dollar you have.
Clean before you leave. Clean and organized areas help reduce anxiety and stress. The act of cleaning, like exercise, helps release endorphins that will make you feel better and is good for your physical and mental health. Not only will it be easier to find the items you need to pack when everything is clean and tidy, but it will alleviate any anxiety you may have of returning to a disaster.
If it’s in your budget, hire a cleaning crew to come in and do a deep clean before you go. The fresh scents can be invigorating, and the crisp new pallet can improve your focus and mental clarity.
Have a recoup plan for when you return. Needing a vacation after a vacation or extended travel is common. Traveling long distances, staying in strange beds, trying different foods, changing your sleeping schedule; all these things can take quite a toll on your physical and mental health. Make sure you plan some time for yourself when you return and give yourself some downtime to get back into the swing of things. Depending on where you go, how long you’re gone and how much time you have to take off from work may determine how much recoup time you can give yourself. Try for at least one day of rest before going back to the hustle and bustle of everyday life so your body can catch up.
Different stress, including travel stress, is still stress. It may not be the 9-5 type stress, but it can still take a toll on your heart and your mind. In fact, over 43 percent of all adults suffer adverse health effects from stress.
Make sure in addition to these tips, you continue to practice stress-relieving exercises like walking or yoga every day, before, during and after your trip. You may also require a nice cup of Valerian tea or to lay back in a lavender bath. No matter what works for you, take deep breaths when things get difficult and find your own enjoyable ways to relax.