When you go away on vacation, one of your aims (we imagine) will be to unwind, relax, and de-stress yourself from those pressures that are weighing you down at home. With a cocktail in one hand and a good book in the other, you should be able to reach a zen-like state when you’re chilling out on your hols.
Well, that’s the theory anyway. But unfortunately, vacations can be stressful, which is why we sometimes look forward to coming home again.
But why do we get stressed on vacation?
Well, we have listed some of the reasons why below. Chances are, you may be able to relate to some of these.
#1: Problems with travel documents
Unfortunately, there is more to carry with you on vacation than your clothes luggage. You need a number of documents with you too, including your boarding pass, your visa, your passport, and in this current climate, proof that you have been vaccinated for COVID. If you forget these, you will encounter problems when trying to board the plane or when trying to leave the airport in your chosen country. You will also run into trouble if you bring the wrong document, such as the wrong type of visa for the country you are visiting. Needless to say, your stress levels will start to rise as you slowly see your vacation dreams drift away as you battle with airport or country officials.
To overcome this stress, the solution is obvious: Do your homework before you travel. Find out what you need to bring with you in advance. You can do this by checking with the airport and by researching online the types of documents you need for the country you are visiting. There is visa information at europe-visa.com, for example, should you be visiting a location in Europe.
You should also bring back up copies of your documents. So, as well as bringing the original copies of each, you should make photocopies too. You should also take photos of them on your phone and save such things as booking confirmations in an email folder. By taking these steps, you should be covered if you lose something vital when en route to your destination.
#2: Financial worries
Travelling can be expensive. Not only do you have your flight and accommodation to pay for but you have such things as car hire, activity expenses, and food bills to cover too. If you start to run out of money while away, it’s understandable that you will start to become stressed. You will have to leave out some of the things you want to do on your itinerary and you might even need to come home early.
There are a number of ways to overcome this stress. Firstly, you should make a concerted effort to save up for your trip. After budgeting for all of your expected expenses, put money away each week to cover everything you will possibly need. The earlier you start to do this the better as you will also have backup money for anything extra you decide to do or for any unexpected costs.
You should find ways to fund your travels too. You could take out a loan (provided you have the means to pay it back), take on extra shifts at work, or sell items that you no longer need. You should also find ways to reduce your expenses. You may be able to secure a cheaper flight and accommodation if you take a vacation outside of peak season, for example. You could also stay in a hostel or Airbnb as you would then avoid hotel prices and have the means to cook your own meals. This would save on eating out!
List all of your expenses before you go away. Do what you can to budget for them. And then research ways to save money on each expense that is on your list.
#3: A packed itinerary
Before your vacation, you will likely write down all of the things that you want to do while you’re away. Your travelling companions will have their own ideas too. Chances are, you will have quite the list when you have all finished deliberating, as there could be all kinds of locations and activities that are of interest. And this is fine but the problem begins when you try to do EVERYTHING that is on your list. You will be rushing to and fro to get to where you need to be in an effort to tick off everything on your itinerary. This will be both exhausting and frustrating, as time will never be on your side.
Our advice? Well, it’s obvious really. After making an itinerary, consider what is really important to you. Section the list into must-do and nice-to-do categories, and place the must-do items at the top of your itinerary. This way, you will be able to make time for what you really want to do. If you don’t get to do the other things on your list, then fine. Perhaps you could add those to your must-do list the next time you travel.
Having fewer items on your itinerary will also give you a reason to slow down. You will have the opportunity to relax properly, which is probably what you want from your vacation anyway. You will also have more time to get to know each of the places you are visiting and have more fun while taking part in your chosen activities. There will be no need to look at your watch with the worry that you have to move on soon, so you won’t have to fret while doing whatever it is you’re doing.
If you are travelling with others, remember too that you don’t always have to be together. If your friends have ideas for things they want to do, break up the group for a while as this will give you time to do your own thing. The same applies to your family. If you can take turns childminding, or if there is entertainment available for your kids, you will have the opportunity to get away on your own. By doing so, you will be able to tick off things on your itinerary without having to add in the things other people want to do.
#4: Navigating the unfamiliar
If you’re visiting a country you have never been to before, there will be much that will be unfamiliar to you. You will have to get to grips with different cultures, different languages, different foods, and different geographical layouts. Such differences could make you feel uneasy and add to your stress levels, especially if you’re unprepared for them.
To overcome this stress, remember that part of the fun of being away is dealing with things that are unfamiliar. It can be exciting to explore places you have never been to before and to see a way of life that is vastly different to your own. Eating new foods can also be a fun experience, despite the weird delicacies you might decide to try while away. Snake soup anyone? By changing your mental perspective, you should enjoy rather than get stressed out by things that are new, so open yourself up to new experiences.
Still, there are things you can do to help yourself before you travel. Read books and watch videos about the places you are visiting and learn more about them. Download a language app on your phone and learn the lingo of the country you are visiting. And if you’re worried about getting lost, buy the appropriate maps and guidebooks, and download a navigation app onto your phone. By taking these steps, you will reduce some of your stresses, so prepare yourself before you travel.
Have we related to your travel stresses? If so, we hope our solutions were useful. Commit to further research on these and anything else that stresses you as you will then have the means to fully relax if you can find ways to overcome them.