Leaving your home for extended periods of time can bring about waves of unwanted stress and anxiety. No one is immune to that feeling of being unprepared for a trip.
What time is my layover in Denver? Did I set my alarm? Is the bedroom window still open? Oh no… it may rain tomorrow. These thoughts can turn even the most serene vacations into a nightmare. Many people even suffer crippling travel anxiety due to these concerns.
Even the most experienced travelers with millions of airline points aren’t taking the necessary steps to achieve maximum peace and comfort. Have you given thought to how you will survive that 11-hour flight? How about which app you will use to secure transport from the airport? The good news is there are many ways to curb these nagging uncertainties.
Below you will find five tips to avoid sprouting a new grey hair every time you have to pack up and leave.
1. Pack Like a Pro
When it comes to packing, are you one of those people who grabs a pile of fresh laundry and just throws it haphazardly into your duffel bag? If so, you are doing it oh-so wrong. It can be easy to make mistakes when packing, but having your luggage organized and planned out can save quite a bit of panic. First off, what kind of suitcase should you be using?
The general rule of thumb is the lighter the suitcase, the better, especially for frequent travellers. Having a bulky suitcase just adds unnecessary strain and immediately limits you from being able to bring your bag on the plane. Also, a high-end luxury designer bag may not be the smartest choice. These are highly targeted by theft and could leave you stranded without your essentials.
A key tip to stand out is to spruce up the outside of your lightweight bag to make sure it is immediately identifiable to you. This will save you time at the baggage carousel and guarantee you won’t receive any evil stares from any duplicate bag owners.
Another big tip is reducing the amount of items you are throwing in your bag. Whether you are flying, driving or taking the train, having enough room is always a concern. An easy way to achieve more space and have perfect wrinkle-free clothing is to invest in a vacuum compressor. You simply roll up your clothes, seal them in the vacuum bag, and squeeze the air out. With added space comes easier organization for any electronics and gadgets that can get tangled.
2. Protect Your Property
It’s easy to overlook the status of your home when you’re heading out of town, but if you don’t take the proper steps before leaving it can be to the severe detriment of your property and valuables. Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to make sure your home is protected even when you aren’t there. Home automation technology enables you to actually watch your video surveillance footage, monitor door locks and even adjust your lighting — all from your smart phone or computer, which can bring much needed relief to anxious travellers. Investing in this type of service is a no-brainer.
Summertime happens to be when most burglaries occur and when most people are out of town (not a coincidence). In addition to your security system, it can be very helpful to have a neighbour look after your home. They can do everything from pick up your mail, leave a car parked in your garage and keep your lawn maintained; this will create the illusion that your property is still occupied. Plus, they can double as a pet sitter if you have some furry friends around.
3. Travel Nirvana
Okay, so you’ve learned how to pack properly and your home is armed to the teeth — now you have to survive the traveling itself. One mistake people often make on a flight or long car ride will be to stay up late the night before so they can sleep during travel. With so many variables attached to flying or driving, you simply can’t guarantee a comfortable sleeping environment. Come well rested and you will be better off in the long run.
Also, it can be tempting to bring along an array of distractions on a flight or in the car. Perhaps you think it’s necessary to bring a neck pillow, two iPads, blankets and large headphones. While this may sound like a smart idea, any product you aren’t using will be taking up space around you, and this can lead to a much bumpier ride.
4. Apps, Apps, Apps
If you’re a frequent traveller and your smart phone isn’t your best friend then you need to get very friendly with it ASAP. Travelling is easier than ever thanks to the abundance of apps you can download at your fingertips. Not a fan of that long line at the taxi stand? Download Uber and get picked up on your own time — and save a bit of money too!
There are also many important apps for business travellers. One noteworthy example is called Tripit. With this app you can have all of your flight details, hotel bookings, meeting information, etc. on hand. You can throw away that manila folder full of documents and breathe a sigh of relief that you’re on top of everything.
Lastly, what if you are travelling somewhere and you don’t speak the language? iTranslate has the solution for you. It packs a wallop with over 80 languages built into the app. You won’t have to stumble over your words during a business meeting or while trying to order the chicken special at a local café.
5. Plan for the Worst
You never want to think about catastrophe striking while you’re away, but it can and does happen. For example: what if your passport falls out of your carry-on bag? It is important to back up all of your important documents electronically. This means scanning PDF versions of your passport, credit cards, travel insurance, etc. You can save these documents to a flash drive or use a popular backup service like Dropbox.
It is also important to call your credit card company and bank to let them know of your plans. Many companies will immediately cancel your card if they see peculiar charges from locations you don’t usually frequent. If you let them know ahead of time that you’ll be out of town, you can avoid being stranded without any access to your money.
All of the above tips will help you to enjoy your time away from home and make sure the panic is kept to a bare minimum. At the least, they can help from you becoming just another statistic attached to the world’s worst travel stories.