One of the most stressful things you can do during this time of year is planning a vacation. Whether you’re taking a trip with friends to escape frigid temperatures, or to spend some quality time with family, you must plan for the trip appropriately.
Obviously, there’s much to consider when planning your trip and it can easily become overwhelming. The first step: KEEP CALM. Travel should be an enjoyable experience from start to finish! To help with your planning process, here are the best seven things to do when preparing for your next trip:
1. Create an itinerary
So you’ve picked your destination and have a rough outline of what you’ll be doing on your trip. You feel confident about your level of organization. Take another step further and solidify that plan with an itinerary. Having each step of the travel process laid out will be beneficial in a number of ways. If you’re traveling with a group of people, it will be an easy reference point to make sure everyone is on the same page. Some further advice when drafting your final itinerary, be sure to watch videos related to your destination as 62% of people traveling for pleasure found this beneficial when creating their draft.
2. Book accommodations in advance
This one seems obvious, but must be noted! With so many mobile applications that simplify the lodging process, it’s no wonder why travelers wait until the last minute to book their accommodations. This is an excellent strategy if there’s availability, but that’s dictated by a number of variables and often fluctuates based on the time of year. For example, just last year during the 2017 holiday season, it was estimated that 107.3 million Americans would journey 50 miles or more from home. Do yourself a favor and book in advance if you want the security of a roof over your head and a bed to sleep in!
3. Prepare for unexpected delays
Although this time of year brings scenic backdrops and winter wonderlands, it also brings unpredictable travel conditions. It could be poor weather that delays your flight, or even an issue with the volume of travelers that can disrupt your travel plans. Expect these delays and be sure to plan accordingly by factoring them into your itinerary. This will allow you to absorb the delay and stay on track to reach your final destination.
4. Pack as light as possible
There’s a number of reasons why it’s beneficial to pack light. You can place yourself in a number of nonideal travel scenarios that cause stress, such as airlines misplacing your luggage, or having to check an oversized bag in as opposed to just a carry-on. To avoid the stress altogether keep this one tip in mind: only pack the essentials. The difference between wanting to bring and needing to bring something on your trip significantly varies and must be put into account when packing. Another perk of packing light is the opportunity to carry on and not only save time but the additional funds towards baggage check as well.
5. Print out hard copies of travel information
“Wake up, it’s 2018! I don’t even own a printer!” — [insert millennial’s name here]. Understood. Although this is a traditional way to track your travel information, it’s important to have hard copies of all pertinent paperwork. Ask yourself, what if my cell phone loses battery life or it falls in the toilet and now deemed unusable or even worse, gets stolen? This could potentially delay your trip and add avoidable levels of stress. Absorb the ridicule of getting made fun of by all of your friends and just print the information!
6. Airline lounge access
Once you make it through security and locate your terminal, you’ll want to kick your feet up and relax before boarding your flight. It’s difficult to relax when you’re forced to deal with the hustle and bustle of a jam-packed airport. Luckily, airlines have the opportunity for flyers to take advantage of lounge access. The easiest way to do so is to consider getting a travel rewards credit card. Look into the option that fits best for you and avoid the headache of having to find a comfortable seat for you and your family while waiting to board your flight.
7. Deep Breathing
When you’re dealing with a stressful situation, your body feels the effects severely. You may not notice, but your judgement blurs, muscles tighten, jaw clenches, energy levels decrease and emotions run wild. The best way to combat this when traveling is to take the time to breathe. Deep breathing can immediately reduce stress levels and place you in a peaceful state of mind. The best part is that you don’t have to budget time during your travel for deep breathing. It can be done before you board or even once you’re seated.
At the end of the day, have the time of your life!
When all is said and done, enjoy your entire traveling experience! Traveling allows people to escape their day-to-day routines and appreciate time with friends and family. Don’t let the stresses of planning your trip override the happiness it brings.