One of the things I love most in the world is travelling. Whether we’re going somewhere far far away or if it’s a trip to a nearby city or destination, I always get this feeling of excitement and it’s so fun not knowing what the trip will entail.
But in order to get to the destination, there’s a ton of planning and prep that goes into it and there’s one thing that often makes the whole process less than enjoyable - stress.
I used to think that stress was an inevitable part of travel, but now that I travel much more frequently I’ve realized that it usually comes from lack of organization more than anything else.
I’ve noticed that my last few trips have felt pretty much stress and hassle free, and I think that’s because I’ve managed to put a travel routine or system in place that I can follow before every trip. Now that I have that, the pre-trip phase is much more enjoyable and I can get excited about going away rather than stressing out about whether I’ve got everything I need or whether I’m prepared.
So, if you’re heading on a trip this summer and you’re wondering how to make travel less stressful, here are a few of my best tips and things I’ve learned in the last few years. Hopefully, this’ll make your trip hassle free & don't forget to leave me your tips at the bottom of the post too!
Write a list
I am such a list girl so I’ll always write a packing list before I travel to make sure I don’t forget anything. Tick off things as you pack them and don’t forget the “add on” items, such as laptop chargers, plug adaptors, spare SD cards and batteries, cotton pads, medicine (and things like your pill), toothbrush charger, contact lens solution, and other things that are very easy to forget.
When I have that last-minute panic of “Oh my goodness did I pack everything” having that list gives me peace of mind and assurance that I have everything I need.
Make sure everything has a “home”
There’s nothing more stressful than not being able to find something, especially when it’s your passport or your travel documents and you quickly need to grab it. That’s why it’s so important that everything has a “home” and to keep your handbag/carry-on organized so that you know where everything is at all times.
Keep your bank cards in one place, your passport in another section of your bag, your travel documents all together in a plastic wallet, and try to keep your bag as tidy as possible so you avoid any mad panics and excess stress.
Pack valuables and essentials in your carry-on
We’ve all been there – you arrive at your destination only to find that your suitcase has been left at home or has been sent to the wrong place. It’s an inevitable part of travel so it’s always wise to pack your valuables in your carry-on (camera, laptop, jewellery, nice handbags, etc) and pack a few essentials just in case it happens. When we travelled Asia I always carried a bikini in my carry-on, as well as things like my glasses, spare contact lenses and medication, so that if my bag got delayed (and it did happen) I wasn’t completely unprepared and I had a few essentials to keep me going until my bag arrived.
Keep your travel documents in one place
Going back to making sure everything has a “home”, you can make life much easier by keeping all your travel documents in one place. If you’re travelling with print outs, have a plastic wallet with all of your documents, in the order in which you’ll need them. If you’re doing everything electronically make sure you log all of your flights before-hand using the airline app, or create a folder in your email inbox for all of the emails associated with that trip so you’re not frantically trying to find reference numbers or information.
Bring a small bag with you
I tend to travel with my Mulberry Bayswater handbag as it’s really spacious and sturdy and can hold all of my essentials, but as soon as I get to my destination I’ll usually ditch it for something a little smaller and more portable. I like cross-body bags as you can fling it over your shoulder or across your body and you don’t really notice it’s there, plus they're often safer than rucksacks as your bag is always by your side. Remember that pickpockets and thieves are everywhere and it only takes a second for them to whip a bag off your shoulder or reach inside it, so opt for a bag with a good lock or zip and generally just be cautious when you’re travelling around.
Be on time
While in day-to-day life I do sometimes struggle with time-keeping and i'm often running 5-10 minutes late, i'll always make sure that I'm early whenever I travel as I know that being late is the thing that stresses me out the most. Always build in extra time especially when you're travelling to the airport as you never know what the traffic will be like, and if you're travelling via transit double check for any delays or incidents. If you're travelling from a big airport like Heathrow, the terminals are often far apart so make sure to allow extra time for walking to your gate.
Get your bearings beforehand
Whenever I travel to a destination I’ll always try to map where we’re going so I can get my bearings beforehand. If I’m going abroad and I know I won’t have data, I’ll use the Google Map “Offline areas” feature and download the map so that it’s ready to go as soon as I get there.
Prep your skin
I used to be one of those people who never had any skin issues, but over the last year either my skin or my hormones (or both!) have changed & I now need to take extra care to keep it healthy & pimple free. For me, stress and lack of sleep are what give me spots, which is why I try to avoid stress pre-travel so I don't end up breaking out while i'm away. I’ll usually travel make-up free especially if it's long haul, and carry the following beauty products with me to make sure my skin stays lovely and hydrated:
A good moisturiser – I love the Skinceuticals Triple Lipid Restore Face Cream
A nourishing lip salve – I love the Kiehl’s Lip Balm
A thick hand cream – I swear by the Kiehl’s Hand Salve
A face mask – If my face is really dry the Garnier Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask works a treat.
Don't leave things to the last minute
Along with being late, another thing that gets me in a huff is leaving things to the last minute. Get your washing done a few days before you leave, pre-charge everything, and if you can, don't leave packing until the morning of the trip! Try to get things like emails and work wrapped up the day before too so you're not frantically doing things before you leave. I'm not organized enough to pack a week in advance, but i'll always have a vague idea of what i'm going to take the week before and I'll properly pack 1 or 2 nights before I travel. If you have an early flight, get your travel clothes, cosmetics, and hand luggage all ready so you're not running around like a headless chicken and getting stressed out right before you leave.
I don’t know about you, but not knowing what to wear always stresses me out! When i'm packing i'll usually lay out my outfits on the bed for each day so I know what i'm going to need & I don’t end up taking unnecessary items. Realistically, you probably won’t need 12 outfits for a 5-day holiday, and remember that you'll likely end up wearing things more than once anyway.
Opt for staple items that you can mix and match, and try to wear your heavier items (such as chunky cardigans or coats) on the plane. If you’re travelling to a more conservative country or if it’s predominately Muslim, Buddhist or Hindu, a quick Google search will tell you what the dress code is and if you have to cover up a bit more. If you’re planning on visiting religious sites, it’s also good to have a loose shirt/scarf with you so you can cover your shoulder and head if needed.
Travel in comfort
The last thing you want when you’re travelling is to feel uncomfortable. I’ve travelled in heels and wedges before and whilst I felt oh so fabulous, it ended up being a nightmare when I had to run for my plane and I was tottering through the airport in my heels. Travel in whatever you feel comfortable in especially if it’s a long-haul flight. I’ll usually travel with a scarf as I always get cold, plenty of water, earphones, and wear either my comfy jeans or leggings. The more comfortable you are, the more chilled you'll feel and that's exactly what you want when you're travelling.
Just go with it!
My final tip to make travel less stressful is to just go with it. Sometimes unexpected delays and complications occur and there’s nothing you can do about it. Rather than letting it stress you out, take a deep breath, remember it’s not the end of the world, and try to find a solution as calmly as you can.
Whether it's that the weather's going to be rubbish, your flight's been delayed, there's been an issue with the hotel, or whatever else, remind yourself that it's nothing that you can handle. You can make plans until the cows come home but travel plans can change so quickly and sometimes things won't work out, so if that happens, try to find the positive in the situation and just go with it 🙂