Me and my family have had to travel quite a bit in the last few years, either for my work or our pleasure; one thing that is very apparent is that it is one of the most stressful times in our lives. We’ve often said that we wish someone would invent a transporter so we could just materialise from point A to point B without the need for planes, trains, or automobiles. Research is starting to show that travel stress actually starts well before you put that key into the ignition, and the bickering ruins the whole experience before you’ve even begun. The stresses are very different for the various parts of the journey:
- The Pre-Travel Panic. Have we packed everything? Have we forgotten anything? Are our passports in date? Where the hell are the passports? Have we planned enough for the kids to do? Have we planned enough for us to do?
- The Peri-Travel Stress. Are we there yet? I need a wee? I’ve wet myself? I’ve been sick? I’m hungry? I’m not hungry? Where are those passports? Negotiating airport security with 2 young children.
- The Post-Travel Arrival Stress. We booked 3 rooms not a bedsit! Damn we forgot X/Y/Z; we’ve left the boy at airport security by mistake, doh! Jet lag.
Here are my top 10 tips for stress free travel:
- Leave the kids at home.
- Leave your partner at home to look after the kids while you check yourself into a luxury spa.
- If you can’t do 1 or 2, stop to rethink.
- Plan. Prioritise a lot of your lead up time into planning and the travel should be made that much easier. This includes planning your destination. If you HAVE to go somewhere stressful it’s one thing, if you CHOOSE to go somewhere stressful just because it would be nice to see then you only have yourself to blame, unless you can plan the travel part appropriately.
- As boring as it seems, make a list. This will excite most women, but men may find it a little alien. Between the 2 of you, work out exactly what needs to be done before you go. Exactly what documents you need, what insurances, vaccinations, etc and then plan what you need to do to get them. Plan, plan, plan.
- On the journey itself you need to be flexible. Stuff will happen that you could not possibly have planned for, things that will be completely out of your control. If you try to control these things you will lose and you will be miserable, almost certainly taking out on the people around you. Shit happens, Taylor Swift it and shake it off.
- Never set an itinerary for the journey. If you HAVE to reach location X by time Y you will lose. You will be a slave to the clock and every incident that is out of your control will make your deadline that much tighter and more improbable to achieve. At best you should probably stick to just reaching location X by DAY Y.
- When you arrive do not automatically go into a regimented unpacking routine, everyone will either be tired or excited, go with it and be flexible.
- Remember, have fun with the whole thing. It may sound easy to say but stress is actually self inflicted the majority of the time. It can only bother us if we choose to let it bother us. Accept that things will go wrong, things will not go the way you want them to but the more you go with it the easier it will be to take.
- Ignore points 3 – 9 and desperately try to achieve points 1 and 2.
If you want some tips from actual experts, then visit Purple Parking’s travel information service where you may actually learn how to make travelling stress free.
Disclaimer: All comments are my own, but I have received compensation for linking to the Purple Parking travel information service.