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I love to travel. I talk about it often and I am lucky to be able to say that every few months I find myself on a flight to somewhere. I get a lot of people emailing me about this because many people wonder why I enjoy it (traveling) so much when it can be such a stressful thing. After all, it's not as simple as just getting on a flight and poof you're in a new place. Most times my flights involve layovers and multiple locations before I actually arrive at my final destination. This is because, in order to travel the way I do, I pick the least expensive flights possible and do whatever I can to make sure the flight itself costs as little as possible. This includes traveling only with a carry on bag so I don't have to pay for checked baggage. This, of course, can add to the stress of traveling. So I thought today I would let you all know about a few of the things you can do to make traveling a little less stressful and hopefully, a little more enjoyable.
My effort to reduce the stress of travel starts before I even pack for my upcoming trip. As often as I am able to, I will book myself into my final destination a day earlier than needed. So if I am traveling for a conference that runs over a weekend, I will check in on a Thursday afternoon at my hotel. This allows me to have a whole day before the event to relax, de-stress, sleep and do any self-care needed after a long day of traveling. If I'm traveling for a vacation where there is no schedule to adhere to, I will leave the first 24-36 hours of my 'vacation' open from any events or plans in order to have that much needed day of recovery after traveling. For some people this may not be needed, however, for me, this is the only way I can travel without feeling exhausted and drained the whole time I am away. I've learned over the years to allow for this time because there is nothing more frustrating (in my opinion) than coming home from a week of vacation more exhausted then you were before the vacation.
I also set aside a couple of days when I get back from my trip in the same way. I do this for a few reasons. On top of the reasons mentioned above, I also do this to allow myself time to be able to unpack and do laundry (which is one of the 'tasks' no one likes after coming home from traveling). This way of traveling also makes it easier to deal with flight delays or cancelations, which can be immensely stressful for some people traveling on such a tight timeframe that they can't afford any delays or weather-related issues that may occur.
Because I have been able to travel in a number of different ways, I have been able to experience what it is like to travel with luggage as well as a backpack around the country of my destination. This
I do not fold my clothing to put it into the packing cubes. This may sound silly to some of you but I found I could save some space if I rolled my clothing when I packed it. This actually allowed me to take more items while not needing to increase the amount of luggage I travel with. This, however, is a personal choice and I suggest you try a few different ways of packing yourself to find what works for you before settling on one specific way of packing.
The last tip I have for you is to take a book, a set of headphones and anything else you may need to keep you busy. This is because at some point you will find yourself in an airport waiting for hours because of delays (like last week when United Airlines systems crashed and they had to by hand, verify every person flying and their ID before they could give them boarding passes) or just because you're required to be so early for international flights. You will need something to keep you occupied so you don't watch the clock tick away. I always travel with a new book (even though sometimes I don't even read it while I am traveling) so that I have that as an option. I also fill my cell phone with music and podcasts that I can listen to while waiting at the airport or when on my flight(s).
These are some of the things that make it easier for me to travel without the worry, the stress and the frustration that seem to have become a 'normal' part of travel. Let's face it, there are so many things that we are not able to control when we travel. So being able to minimize the stress of it, even by a little, can help you make the experience more enjoyable overall.