Since the pandemic started, travel has been a lot more stressful for many of us. Rather than having a relaxing time, everything suddenly feels like a chore which has taken away from the great experiences we used to enjoy. While we try to adjust to the new normal, not everything is as it once was, and going on flights has challenged us to make adaptations. But traveling doesn’t have to be difficult — here are great ways to travel for less stress and complications.
It’s essential to plan ahead and find a routine that will be comfortable. While it may seem like a quick fix, even the smallest things can help to clear anxiety. To do this, we make sure to prepare our itinerary, schedule our flights at a convenient time and date, and pack everything we need for the trip.
A great way to ensure that we have everything we need is through a checklist. Check out our expanded details below:
To help prepare for our trip, we always have a brainstorming session and come up with a pre-trip checklist that will help us remember to pack the most important things. This will assist in alleviating travel stress and guarantee fewer complications during our trip. Our checklist will always include essentials that may not be available to us once we arrive at our destination, such as:
- Important documents
- Prescribed medications
- Gadgets such as phones, tablets, and laptops
This expands on creating a checklist as described above and gets into what we actually need to have with us on the flight. Before boarding starts, we make sure to take some time placing everything we need into a small bag — this helps our flights become much more manageable and enjoyable. Our care package will always have everything we could possibly need for the next nine or however many hours at our fingertips, such as:
- Noise-canceling earphones/headphones/earbuds (in case of crying babies)
- Travel toothbrush and toothpaste
- A small-sized moisturizer
- Credit card (to purchase food)
- Face mask
- iPad (in case the plane’s entertainment system won’t work)
- Decongestant, antinauseant, or Tylenol (in case we don’t feel well in flight)
- Small handy wipes
- Small tissues
- Tiger balm (in case of unpleasant odors)
These days, traveling isn’t just about arriving early, but about traveling with extra time on our hands. Airports in the past few years have made it harder to make it through security and onto the planes. With the added steps in fighting the spread of COVID-19, it’s not enough to get to the airport just an hour before the flight.
We always make it a point to arrive two to three hours ahead of time to lower stress levels. While it might be tempting to get more sleep the night before our flight, we do our best to stick to this rule. Making extra time will allow us to make adjustments should something unexpected happen on the day of our flight.
When we don’t want to stress, we think happy thoughts — seriously. While we don’t plan on things going wrong, flight delays and long lines are an inevitable part of traveling. But we don’t get worked up because of the things that could go wrong. Instead, we will ask ourselves a few questions such as:
- What could go wrong?
- What could go right?
- What are the most likely things that can happen?
Once we’ve gone through these scenarios in our heads, we give ourselves more time to prepare for what could be during our trip. However, we take care not to overthink, as this can also lead to more stress, defeating the purpose of the exercise we just did. When done carefully, we won’t just be prepared for the worst possible outcomes, but we’ll also experience less stress during the trip.
When it comes to packing, less is more — while this is difficult for many people, it’s a vital step towards enjoying less stress and complications during short trips. Whenever possible, we strive to use a carry-on bag only, especially when we don’t plan to be away for very long. Since we don’t need to check in our bags, we can spend less time by the check-in counter.
All we have to do is go straight to the computer and check in — no need to spend precious minutes being held up at the luggage check or security line. Unfortunately, carrying a big and heavy luggage bag can add to our stress. If we were to go through all the stuff we brought with us, we’d see that half of those things aren’t even needed on the trip.
Once we get rid of these things, we can feel much calmer, knowing that we don’t have clutter hanging about with us on our vacation. When the time comes to board the plane, we aren’t one of those people who are trying to stuff their oversized bags into the luggage compartment. We’ll be relaxing on our chairs, getting started on a nice movie, or reading a great book.
We make sure to check in online 24 hours ahead of time to save ourselves from long lines and potentially wasting time that can be used for better things. Another good habit that we practice is saving our tickets on our smartphones or printing them out. In this way, there’s no need to go to the check-in counter once we arrive at the airport. This allows us to walk smoothly straight to security.
If by chance we aren’t able to print out our tickets or forgot our smartphones, we can still check-in online. Once we arrive at the airport, our next step is to go straight to a kiosk to print out our boarding passes. This is still a huge time-saver in our books and is a great way to skip long lines.
Waiting at the security line is arguably the most time-consuming part of anyone’s travels. While skipping the line isn’t as easy as the other suggestions on this list, it’s truly worth it. To give a quick breakdown of how this is achieved, we gathered enough frequent fliers points to get elite status for our preferred airline.
But once we had all we needed, we simply walked up to a packed security line and jumped right up front while other passengers stood by waiting. However, we found out that frequent flier points aren’t the only way to achieve this. The American Express Platinum Card also offers this great perk without needing all the points.
The feeling that we get from cutting the line clears our stresses away, and now that we know how great it is never to have to wait in line, there’s no going back. Even so, there are still a few things that we need to be prepared for, which are discussed below.
We always stay prepared ahead of the security measures. As such, we keep the items that will go onto the bin easily accessible. When we reach the conveyor belt, everything should be out in the blink of an eye and is organized accordingly. This means:
- Pockets should be empty
- Computers, tablets, phones should be out in front
- All liquids (less than 100ml) should be kept in a small plastic bag
- No belts or metal jewelry
- No spare change in pockets
- Wearing slip-on shoes
- No hats or jackets that can slow us down
By setting everything up ahead of time, we can be in and out of security in a flash.
Coming home can be both an emotional and tiring experience after a long trip, and for many, going back to work, school, and our old routine can be difficult. This feeling provides a stark contrast compared to the one we had before going on a trip. The harsh truth is that we are much happier when looking forward to our trip than when it’s time to go home. To relieve this stress, we find that it’s best to come home to something that we will enjoy. No matter what kind of form this takes — from a beautiful and clean apartment to planned activities in the near future — we ensure that it’s something that we will be happy to come home to.