I once read a study which showed that people enjoy planning their vacation and travels more than they do the actual traveling part.
Hmmm… That really sucks!
I love daydreaming and researching the destination, but it (almost) always surpasses my expectations because there is some unexpected unplanned adventure that avails itself… so long as you are willing to seize it…
But I get it.
Traveling can also be really tough and stressful at times.
- Like while hitchhiking on a deserted road with no cars coming through…
- And when the guesthouse you stay at is really nasty…
- Or it’s been raining for 3 days and your socks are all wet…
Everyone gets stressed out by different things during travel. Getting lost is a big travel fear. I don’t have that one — probably because I used to Orienteer and know how to read a map.
Here I’ve decided to share some of my biggest travel stressors and how I’ve dealt with them.
Stressor: So Much to Do When I Get Back
It takes some time to adjust to normal life after coming home from travels — especially if the journey was long. It really sucks when you’ve got a zillion things waiting for you to do.
And there is nothing to eat in the house.
And no hot water either because you save energy by turning the hot water heater off before leaving.
- I freeze some meals before leaving. When I get home, I can just defrost them and have a real meal ready to eat.
- I ask a friend to come over and turn the hot water heater on so I don’t have to wait 2 hours before showering.
- I give myself an extra day or two before I have to return to work. That way I don’t have to start replying to emails and working right away.
Stressor: Losing Stuff
From my experience: Stuff = Stress.
The more stuff you bring on your travels, the more stressed out you are going to be.
- You’ll have to keep track of where all your stuff is.
- Packing will be a pain in the @ss.
- Lugging around all that luggage is going to tire you out.
Keep it minimal. You don’t really need a hair dryer, 14 shampoos, 2 towels, 3 changes of shoes, and a mountain of toys for the kids. Anything that you are missing you can either learn to live without or have a fun experience trying to track it down in your travel destination.
Stressor: Trying to Plan Everything
Once I went to Paris with my mom. She literally planned when we’d have our bathroom breaks during the day (along with when and where we’d eat, what we’d see, etc.).
It only took 20 minutes before I was going crazy. We couldn’t stop and enjoy all of the cool unexpected sights, rest in a chic cafe, or deviate from the planned course.
The zenith was the third day when we were going to the Eiffel Tower by metro. We got on a fast train so it went past the stop we were supposed to get off at. She freaked out and started mapping a course back to the original station.
I wanted to go out and explore. Being hardheaded as I am, we got in an argument and I just walked out of the metro and left her with her friend.
When I surfaced from the “wrong” metro stop, I could see the top of the Eiffel Tower in the distance. Slowly I started making my way towards it. I wandered through a really cool neighborhood, picked up a baguette and cheese in a small market, and made my way to the Eiffel Tower for a picnic. It took my mom about the same amount of time to arrive – but she spent it stressed out in a dirty, dark metro.
The moral here? BE FLEXIBLE and you won’t get stressed out.
Stressor: Trying to Make Everyone in the Group Happy
I don’t care how much you love your travel partners. If you spend 100% of your travel time together, you are going to run into some conflicts of interest.
It is completely okay to split up sometimes and explore on your own. You get some “me” time, and you don’t have to rush around to see/do everything that every family members wants.
Stressor: Checking Your Phone
I probably don’t have to tell you that heavy smart phone use leads to stress, decreased sleep, anxiety and a whole bunch of stuff you don’t need in your life – nevertheless travels.
There is absolutely no reason you need to have your smart phone with you. People have been traveling since long before mobile phones!
How to find your way without Google maps?
Just ask locals for directions!
How to get a restaurant recommendations without Wifi?
Just ask the locals!
How do you taking a photo without your phone’s camera?
Just ENJOY THE VIEW instead of taking photos of it.
You share photos on Facebook while traveling?
You can actually enjoy your travels instead of checking how many likes the pics of it got.
Stressor: Crowds and High Prices
I never did get up in the Eiffel Tower because you had to make a reservation for the stairs or the elevator, and the wait was long. Not to mention €17,00 for a lift ticket to the top.
Frankly put, those crowds of photo-snapping tourists can be really annoying. And because the area is touristy, the cafes and stores adjust their prices accordingly.
Avoid the tourist traps and you’ll magically find your stress has melted away.
Now, there are some touristy places that are awesome and shouldn’t be missed. I loved the Louvre in Paris, the pyramids of Tikal in Guatemala, the Old City in Jerusalem, and so on (what’s your favorite tourist destination?).
The best way to avoid the tourists is to avoid the guidebooks. Ask the locals instead! You’ll not only get away from the stressful crowds, but get an actual feel for the vibe of the place.