Plan Ahead to Lower Stress and Enjoy Your Getaway

by Daniel Sherwin

Photo Credit: Pixabay via Pexels

Photo Credit: Pixabay via Pexels

Travelling can sometimes be frenzied and stressful. But what if you want to take a relaxing, stress-free vacation to a new or favorite destination? Whether you’re visiting relatives, traveling solo, or planning a cross-country getaway with your partner, it is entirely in your power to actually enjoy traveling. The first step is to prepare for vacation time by completing all the necessary tasks at work, so you can leave office matters behind and be “in the moment” when you’ve reached your destination.

But that’s just the beginning. Today, Legends of America has a few more tips for safe, stress-free travel.

Take Steps to Stay Safe

— Being a victim of crime is a scary possibility and is a risk anytime you travel, but the increased crowds at tourist destinations can make theft a bigger worry. Be extra careful about protecting your personal property. Carry the bare minimum of cash and only a single credit card, and keep money and other valuables in a small bag or money belt that is close to you at all times.

— If your valuables are stolen, cancel your credit and debit cards. Contact the US Department of State if you need a new passport. If you need extra cash, family back home can use a money transfer service to quickly and securely send you funds.

— Secure and protect your home before you leave so you don’t spend your trip worrying about a break-in. Do a quick inspection of motion detectors and all locks and deadbolts on doors and windows to make sure they’re working properly. The National Association of Certified Home Inspectors recommends concealing valuables so your home isn’t an easy target and taking steps to make your home look lived-in while you’re away.

A Sick Chum, 1908

A Sick Chum, 1908.

Prevent Sickness and Stay Well

— Airports and train stations are breeding grounds for germs, colds, and the flu. The simplest way to stay well is to wash hands frequently and use disinfecting wipes on any surfaces you touch, like the tray table on an airplane. Wise Bread recommends bringing your own pillows and blankets, which not only prevents sickness but has the added benefit of giving you a sense of comfort from something familiar.

— It can be hard to eat right on the road, but try to keep to a healthy diet to feel your best. Bring your own snacks of dried or fresh fruit, whole grains, and protein. Avoid foods that are very salty because they lead to dehydration, and of course, drink plenty of water. Not only does dehydration make you feel bad physically and emotionally, but it also weakens your immune system.

— Find ways to get active to release endorphins for emotional balance and to feel better physically. Seek out ways to get a little movement in, like taking the stairs instead of an elevator. Fittest Travel suggests several travel exercises that keep your body from getting stiff and promote mental wellness at the same time.

— If you’re traveling out of the country, it’s a good idea to invest in travel insurance with medical expense coverage just in case you get sick or injured.

Mind Your Mind

— There are plenty of things you can do to lower stress at home – including freeing yourself of negative energies. It’s a bit more challenging when you’re traveling, though. The trick is to manage stress and practice self-care so you can handle those situations with ease. It may sound simplistic, but one of the best ways to handle stress is to breathe. Be mindful of when your stress level is rising and take a moment to focus on your breath.

Checker Players, North Carolina

Checker players at the Mast General Store, Valle Crucis, North Carolina, photo by Carol M. Highsmith, art by Kathy Alexander.

— Take comfort items with you as well as ways of keeping yourself distracted, like a good book, music, and crossword puzzles. You can also load up your phone with movies, music, and podcasts. Don’t forget to bring a good pair of headphones and a spare charger to ensure that your battery lets you finish your movie. When you get where you’re going, take some time for yourself and unwind with a relaxing bath, a walk, or some time at a spa.

— Minimize the stressful situations that can arise by planning ahead. The Urge to Discover recommends packing early and lightly to take away the anxiety of last-minute preparations and the worry about whether you can fit everything. If you’re flying, get to the airport early to avoid worrying about missing your flight. Some stressful situations may be inevitable when traveling, but many you can avoid by planning ahead.

— Really detach from work. We tend to carry our work stress with us and convince ourselves that we are invaluable in the office. So as you’re planning your trip, also prepare people at work for your departure. This may mean hiring a virtual assistant or training a few responsible people on your most essential job functions. Do whatever it takes so that you can log off and tap into the vacation vibes.

With a little preparation, traveling to your favorite haunts doesn’t have to be stressful. It can actually be relaxing and fun to travel as long as you go into it prepared and with an open heart. Most of all, focus on finding joy, whatever that may mean to you.

Red Brick Road near Auburn, Illinois

Red Brick Road near Auburn, Illinois

Planning a cross-country trip? Do more than take in the sights. Learn about America’s history as you travel. Start your American adventure on our Destinations Page.

© Daniel Sherwin –, for Legends Of America, submitted July 2022.

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