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How to Stress Less While You Travel

For most people, traveling is always synonymous with lots of stress. Whether you’re traveling for business, taking a vacation, or going to see your relatives and friends, there are simple steps you can take today to actually reduce the severity of your stress levels on your next trip. The following tips can help turn what would have been a stressful adventure to one that is looked forward to with anticipation and ease.

Before you leave to catch a bus, a scheduled train, or an airplane, be sure to curtail your stress by doing some planning ahead of time. It’s important to stay on top of any delays you will potentially encounter that can set your stress levels off kilter. The more prepared you are, the better off you will be, however long or short your trip is.

Since many individuals have a hard time packing, especially women, it is very important to pack wisely. Make a list of only the essential things you may need to bring with you, and nothing more, checking each one of them off as you pack them to better ensure that you don’t leave behind anything important. Keep a little notebook by your bed to remember to jot down things you might have forgotten, so you will remember in the morning. Pack the night before you leave, or earlier, to avoid the stress of being rushed and possibly nervous you’ve forgotten something. Keep things you may need while in transit in your carry-on bag, so you can access them with ease.

It is truly important to dress comfortably while you travel, especially when going to destinations many hours away. Be sure you wear comfortable shoes and slacks. Dressing in layers helps too, since climates can change in a flash from one region to another.

Just because you are traveling, you should still remember not to neglect what your body and mind need most. The importance of sticking to your normal routine is critical. That may mean to take your vitamins at your usual time, get the same quality of sleep that you more or less get back home, and have some stress relievers on hand to decrease your chances of getting sick from the stress of travel.

There are some additional important tips to remember as you are traveling. You have heard this countless of times before, but do your best to arrive early, before sprinting out the door late in a panic. Allowing yourself ample time will enable you to deal with any unexpected travel difficulties with ease. Worse comes to worse, if you end up being early, you can read a book, do some gentle stretches, charge your devices, or grab a cup of coffee.

Eating well beforehand (bonus points if it’s healthy) and during your trip, while staying amply hydrated, will go a long way to preserving and stabilizing your energy and blood sugar levels. Having these levels fluctuate or dip in any way can affect your mood dramatically. Think healthy snacks like healthy protein bars, popcorn, and a handful of nuts to keep satiety at bay, and make your wallet thicker.

If you feel that you are starting to get overwhelmed with travel-related stress, breathing exercises, and other quick stress relievers can help you feel calm more quickly. Find the ones that work for you. Having a few quick stress relievers on hand, whether it’s a deck of cards, a stress ball, a good book, inner reflection, or quiet meditations, will all go a long way towards preserving your sanity as you deal with the stress that often comes with traveling.

At the end of it all, there is nothing better than a good old fashioned cognitive reset. Rather than thinking of this as a stressful mess, think of it as an adventure, or a challenge that your brain needs to overcome. Viewing your experience in this light can make traveling much less stressful — and actually enjoyable. With this handy travel stress-less checklist by your side, you can feel not only more comfortable before, during, and after your trip, but actually look forward to reaching your destination, wherever that may be, in a more peaceful state of mind.

How to Stress Less While You Travel

Emily Waters

Emily Waters earned her Master's degree in industrial psychology with an emphasis in human relations. She possesses keen insight into the field of applied psychology, organizational development, motivation, and stress, the latter of which is ubiquitous in the workplace environment and in one’s personal life. One of her academic passions is the understanding of human nature and illness as it pertains to the mind and body. Prior to obtaining her degree, she worked in both the corporate and nonprofit sectors. Presently, she teaches a variety of psychology courses both in public and private universities.

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APA Reference
Waters, E. (2018). How to Stress Less While You Travel. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 25, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Jul 2018 (Originally: 29 Dec 2017)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Jul 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.