Every night I dream of eating gelato in front of the Roman Colosseum or hiking the trails in Banff National Park.
Unfortunately, something stands between my favorite destinations and I: getting there. If you enjoy adventure, but find the actual journey difficult, these tips will keep you calm as you travel to your destination.
Make a List
The thought of sitting down and making a list might seem annoying—it’s just another thing to do when you’re getting ready to leave town. Trust me though, making a list can be a huge game changer. Lists give you an outline and the peace of mind that you’re prepared. Even if you aren’t, it’s all written down, so it sure feels like it!
Lists keep the most disorganized people focused when travel day arrives, and save even the most organized people from forgetting essential items, like a wallet or carry-on bag.
Don’t Alter your Routine
On travel day, don’t change a thing. While this will probably require waking up a little earlier, keep your morning routine the same. You’re about to have a stressful day, so taking the time to have your morning coffee, go for a run, or walk your dog is time well spent. Routine is good, especially when you know it’s about to get all jumbled up due to your travel plans.
Know How You’re Getting to the Airport
Don’t wait to call a cab in the morning. Don’t wait to call Lyft. Don’t wait until five hours before you leave to ask a friend for a ride. When you’re traveling, getting to the airport is half of the journey, so treat it as such! Set up your ride at least 48 hours before you leave. This will keep you, and any travel companions you have, on the same page and confident on the first leg of the journey.
Put Essential Items in One Place
Wallet, phone, keys. You’re going to need them, so don’t pretend it’s not a big deal to have them ready to go prior to leaving the house. Put them all in one place, preferably by the door. I’ve made the mistake of ignoring this advice more than once, and ended up back in my apartment frantically looking for my wallet. Don’t be like me. Forgetting one of these essential items can derail your travel arrangements to the airport, and even delay you so much that you miss your flight!
As annoying as it can be knowing you could have slept for 35 more minutes, don’t make the mistake of thinking the universe is on your side when traveling. There are literally a million things that could go wrong. Forgetting essential items. Traffic. A car accident. An incident at the airport. Getting to the gate too late because you had to pee. Being kicked off a plane. Avoid all of these things, or at least mitigate their impact, by being early.
These days, you basically have to strip to get through airport security. Wear layers that you can take off easily. For example, wear a sweatshirt with a zipper instead of wearing a pull-over, and shoes you don’t have to tie. Have all jewelry, watches, or belts you plan to wear in your personal carry-on. Don’t wear them—you can put them on after your screening. All of these things will save you time, and will prevent you from being the person who takes forever to get through security.
Check Your Bag for Illegal Items
Are you outdoorsy? Or, do you like to craft so you take a giant pair of scissors with you everywhere? Don’t. Don’t be the girl who forgets to take a camping knife out of her bag (I literally did this today). We’re all good people, and sometimes we forget that just about anything can be a weapon, and that it will be taken from you. Better safe than sorry, right?
Confirm Your Gate
Ever get to the gate printed on your boarding pass and hear a new one announced over the loudspeaker? Don’t be the person who has to run to the new one last minute! Instead, check the departures board after getting through security. Airports do a great job of keeping these updated. Knowing exactly where your gate is will ease any last minute travel stress.
When you travel your body experiences stress. Even if you don’t feel it, your body will. Staying hydrated will help your body stay balanced. Additionally, once you’re in the air, your body is prone to dehydration. Drinking water beforehand and during your flight will keep you refreshed. It will also ensure that you’ll be ready for adventure upon reaching your destination.
Bring Your Comfort Item
By no means does this need to be a stuffed animal. If it is, you’re awesome!
If not, make sure you have your favorite music mix uploaded and downloaded onto your phone or computer. Bring your latest book club book. Keep your Fidget in your personal carry-on item. Whatever it is that helps you keep calm, have it handy. If you do happen to get worked up during your travels, these items can help you feel safe—don’t ever be ashamed to take them along.
If you follow any or all of these strategies, your travel experience is sure to be less stressful. Having been lucky enough to explore some of the greatest places on earth, I know how hard travel days can be. That being said, the journey is the hardest part.
Once you arrive at your destination every adventure and second of relaxation can be yours!
Author: R.R. Noall
Image: Francois Schnell/Flickr
Editor: Lieselle Davidson
Copy Editor: Sara Karpanen
Social Editor: Leah Sugerman