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How to Guarantee Stress-Free Travel

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Travel to far-flung shores can be a rewarding experience but it can also be stressful.

According to Dr David Lewis, who coined the term ‘fearcation’, worries about terrorism or political instability trouble around three-quarters of travellers.  Smaller concerns include worrying about accommodation not living up to expectations or contracting food poisoning.

Add the stress of airports and air travel into the mix and you are in danger of reaching your destination in a frazzle!

So, to help you out, here are my top tips for stress-free travel.

ow to guarantee stress free travel

 1.  Before You Book

I always like to do a bit of research and look at online reviews before I book.  It’s a good idea to look at a few different review sites to get as balanced a view as possible.  I admit some of the reviews do need to be taken with a pinch of salt!  I’m amazed at times what some people complain about, but overall I have found sites such as Tripadvisor to be a useful source of information.

Google street view is also a useful tool for checking exactly what the area surrounding your hotel or villa looks like.

Once you have done your research and booked, DO NOT, I repeat…DO NOT return to Tripadvisor at a later date!  I’ve been guilty of this in the past and then, having read one little bit of negative information, worried for days that I’ve booked the wrong place…

Another tip I used to good advantage recently is to not be afraid to email the hotel with questions or special requests.  I’d read on Tripadvisor that some travellers had requested a mattress topper and extra pillows in advance of arriving at the hotel we were heading to.  I did the same and voila, the comfiest bed I’ve ever slept in on holiday!

2.  Preparing To Go


Start early with packing and make a list.  Even better, make lists that you can re-use and keep them safe in a notebook or on your laptop.  I have go to lists which I keep for summer holidays, winter holidays and short breaks.  I can just dust them off and re-use and it ensures I never forget some vital item!

Get your suitcase out, put it in a spare room if possible and start adding items to the case and crossing off your list as you go.

If you will be flying then pack two separate tote bags to go into your hand luggage.  One should contain your pre-bagged 100ml liquids and any electronic devices (make sure they are fully charged).  The other should contain items you need for the flight, e.g. headphones, book, earplugs, paracetamol, lip salve, moisturiser, pen and notebook etc. Then simply whip out the liquid and electronics tote out at security and the other as you take your seat on the plane.


sunflower tote etsy

I absolutely love this beautiful sunflower tote 😍

Consider hand luggage with an easy access front zip pocket for passports and tickets.

3.  Be Airport Ready

On the day, wear layers and slip on shoes.

Don’t wear a belt and watch out for metal bits!  (I used to wear some slip on sandals and always managed to set the alarms off in security.  I finally realised there was a tiny logo on the sandals which was made out of metal).

Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to get to the airport,  get through security etc.  Even better, book a hotel near the airport.   I prefer to book one a couple of miles away to avoid plane noise and ensure a good night’s sleep.

If available at your airport, I would also recommend booking an airport lounge so you can relax once you get through security.

4.  At The Airport

I recently had the misfortune to travel through what felt like the airport from hell!  The airport, which will remain nameless, is a very small, ex-military airport which clearly isn’t designed to cope with the numbers of travellers the tour operators send through it.

As the airport couldn’t cope with the numbers, the first part of the check-in process involved standing outside the airport for an hour in the searing heat before we were let inside to check in.

Once through the check-in queue, unfortunately, the check-in desks did not have a luggage conveyor so there was another queue to stand in to drop the baggage off.  Then another huge queue for security…

The tour reps had warned us of the situation at the airport so I made a decision the day before to just go with the flow. To chat with fellow passengers in the same boat (and look to see if I could help anyone who was struggling with the situation) and to be polite and pleasant to all staff members I encountered.  I can imagine they get given a hard time!

In the event, it wasn’t the most pleasant experience I’ve ever had but connecting with others in the same boat and giving all the staff a cheery smile definitely kept my stress levels under control.

Hopefully, your airport experience will be much more pleasant than mine, but here are a couple more tips for keeping calm at the airport:

  • Put delays into context.  We have complex technology that our ancestors travelling for days on end over oceans could only have dreamed of!
  • Airports are a great place for people watching, or striking up a conversation to pass the time.

5. On The Flight

The flight is a great opportunity to start that book, project, Netflix box set that you have been meaning to start but have not yet got round to.

Away from email and Facebook, enjoy the time to become absorbed.

Make sure you keep the items you need for the flight to hand in a separate tote bag inside your hand luggage.  You can then grab this just before you board.

6.  Once You Are There

A good tip I read recently was to take a few minutes to sit down in the destination airport and gather your thoughts before dashing straight to your bus/taxi.

Once you reach your destination take two clear days to settle in.  Ask yourself do you really need to go on every excursion? Try to reach a balance of trying new things but taking time to relax.

Go with the flow, don’t let little niggles get to you.  Things don’t always go according to plan but this throws up other opportunities and you could surprise yourself.

I hope you find these tips useful.   Let me know if you have any other tips I’ve missed and I’d also love to hear about your holiday plans 🙂

If you want even more tips on stress-free travel, check out my friend Chloe’s post on the same subject.

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  1. Chloe Chats

    Fab post Alison! Thank you for linking to my post too <3 I always have to get to the airport early, I usually go for 2 hours before the flight because you never know how busy security is going to be and it just makes me feel more relaxed, even if it means being through security and sitting around in the waiting lounge for an hour waiting to board the plane!

    Chloe xx

    1. Alison

      Thanks Chloe, yes hubby and I are early airport arrivers too! I’d rather be there than stuck in a traffic jam panicking somewhere….

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