Traveling is an exciting and enriching experience but can also be stressful and overwhelming. Many factors can contribute to a less-than-ideal vacation, from packing and planning to navigate unfamiliar destinations.
However, with the right strategies and travel tips, you can ensure that your next trip is smooth and enjoyable. This article will explore some of the best ways to minimize stress and maximize enjoyment so you can make the most of your time away.
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1. Prepare Your Home Before Going on Vacation
Preparing your home before an extended vacation or work trip is important for several reasons: it wards off burglars, prevents damage to your home, and saves money.
- Security: Turn on security cameras, set alarms, and put lights on timers
- Access: Put away your hidden spare key or give it to someone you trust
- Refrigerator: Leave it running, but clean it out
- Thermostat: 5 degrees higher in the summer and 5 degrees lower in the winter
- Appliances: Unplug all other appliances to save on your electric bill
- Valuables: Hide your valuables or lock them up in a safe
- Mail: Use the USPS Hold Mail service (up to 30 days)
Knowing that your home is safe and secure will give you peace of mind while you’re away.
2. Handling Credit Cards, Debit Cards, and Cash
No matter which form of payment you choose, always notify your bank and credit card companies of your travel plans so they can monitor your account for unusual activity and help prevent fraud. You’ll also what to inquire about foreign transaction fees if you travel abroad.
Using a credit card on vacation can have advantages over using a debit card. First, many credit cards offer rewards or cashback for purchases, which can help offset your vacation costs.
As well, credit cards offer more protection against fraud and unauthorized charges. If your credit card is lost or stolen, you can usually dispute the charges and not be held responsible. With a debit card, if someone gets hold of your card and PIN, they can empty your checking account.
How Much Cash Should You Travel With? The amount of cash you should bring on vacation depends on several factors, including your destination, trip length, budget, and personal preferences. A general rule of thumb is to get enough cash to cover your expenses for the first few days of your trip in case your credit cards are not accepted, or there’s a problem with your account.
Keeping Your Money Safe While Traveling. Keep cash, credit cards, and essential documents in a hidden pouch or money belt worn under your clothing to keep them safe from pickpockets. Also, be discreet when using cash or credit cards, and do not flash large amounts of cash publicly to avoid catching a thief’s eye.
3. Preparing and Using Your Mobile Device Abroad
Contact your mobile carrier to inquire about international roaming plans, data usage rates, and other related charges that may apply when using your device abroad. Here are a few tips for preparing and using your cellphone while abroad:
- Some mobile carriers offer international roaming plans that allow you to use your existing SIM card or an eSIM card while traveling abroad. These plans may include additional charges and limits on data usage.
- In some countries, purchasing a local SIM card may be more cost-effective. This can be a good option if you plan to use your phone frequently and want to avoid high international roaming charges.
- Download offline maps and translation apps before your trip so you don’t have to waste your data.
- Make sure you have a travel adapter compatible with the outlets in the country you’re visiting, so you can charge your device.
Generally, checking with your mobile carrier and researching your options before traveling is the best course of action.
4. Get Travel Insurance: It’s Worth The Peace of Mind
Travel insurance provides financial protection in the event of unexpected situations or emergencies while traveling.
- Trip Cancellation or Interruption: Travel insurance can cover costs incurred if you cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason, such as illness, severe weather, or a death in the family.
- Medical Emergencies: Travel insurance can cover medical expenses if you become ill or injured while traveling. This can include emergency medical treatment, evacuation, and repatriation.
- Lost or Stolen Luggage: Travel insurance can cover lost, stolen, or damaged luggage and personal items.
- Emergency Assistance: Travel insurance can provide access to emergency assistance services, such as help with finding a doctor, arranging transportation, and providing translation services.
Be sure to read the policy’s fine print to understand what is covered and what is excluded before purchasing a travel insurance policy.
5. Research the Destination: Safety, Culture, and Laws
Researching your destination before vacation can help you better prepare for your trip and get the most out of your experience. Here are a few travel tips to consider during your research:
- Safety: Researching a destination can help you understand the safety risks and precautions you should take while traveling. This can include information on crime rates, dangerous locations, natural hazards, and political instability. Check out the U.S. Travel Advisory website.
- Culture and Customs: Understanding the culture and customs of a destination can help you better appreciate the local way of life and avoid any unintentional cultural mistakes.
- Laws and Regulations: Researching the destination’s laws and regulations can help you understand any restrictions or requirements you need to be aware of while traveling, such as visa requirements or local laws.
6. Create a Loose Travel Itinerary
Creating a travel itinerary can help you make the most of your vacation time and ensure that you get all the important sights and activities. It can help you budget your time and money by allowing you to plan out your activities and expenses in advance. It can also help you avoid rushing from place to place or feeling overwhelmed by too many options.
7. Make Copies of Your Important Travel Documents
One of the most important travel tips is making copies of important travel documents, such as a passport, ID, and credit cards, before going on vacation. If the original documents are lost or stolen, having copies can help with replacement or verification processes. It’s also important to keep these copies in different places. Consider keeping a digital copy, a paper copy, and leaving a copy with a trusted friend or family member.
8. Stay Organized With A Travel Packing Checklist
A travel packing checklist is a great way to ensure you remember all necessary items before and after your vacation. It allows you to make a comprehensive list of everything you need to bring and to check off items as you pack them. This can save time and reduce stress by eliminating the need to constantly second-guess yourself about what you need to bring.
Additionally, a travel packing checklist can help you stay organized and ensure you have all the essentials, such as your passport, tickets, and medications, that you’ll need for your trip. Using a travel packing checklist can also help you avoid overpacking and reduce the chance of leaving something behind, saving you money and hassle in the long run.
9. Airport Travel Tips
Airports can be stressful, but there are steps you can take to make your experience as smooth as possible. By planning ahead, packing wisely, arriving early, staying organized, and being mindful, you can reduce stress and ensure a more pleasant airport experience. Additionally, staying calm and being patient can help keep things in perspective when unexpected issues arise.
Here are several airport travel tips you can use to travel a little easier:
- Arrive Early: Give yourself plenty of time to check in, clear security, and find your gate.
- Check In Online: Many airlines allow you to check in and print your boarding pass at home, saving you time at the airport.
- Pack Smart: Pack only what you need and be mindful of the size and weight of your luggage. Check with your airline for their carry-on and checked baggage allowances.
- Wear Comfortable Clothes: Dress comfortably for your flight and wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off for security.
- Knowing What You Can Bring: Be familiar with the TSA’s guidelines for carry-on and checked baggage and what items are prohibited.
- Stay Organized: Keep your travel documents, ID, and other important items easily accessible and organized.
- Stay Connected: Keep your phone and other devices charged, and consider a portable charger or battery pack.
- Be Patient: Air travel can be stressful, but try to stay patient and calm. Remember that things may not always go as planned, but you’ll get to your destination eventually.
- Research the Airport: Learn about the layout, amenities, lounges, and services available at your airport so you know where to go and what to expect.
10. Take A Guided Tour With A Local Expert
Going on a tour during your vacation can be a great way to experience a destination in a more authentic and meaningful way. A tour can provide a deeper understanding of a place’s history, culture, and customs and offer unique and off-the-beaten-path experiences that may be difficult to find on your own.
Tours are often led by local experts who can provide valuable insights and information about the places you visit. They can also introduce you to local people, customs, and traditions, giving you a more authentic and memorable travel experience.
Going on a tour can also save you time and hassle, as they often include transportation, guides, and admission fees, making your trip more efficient and hassle-free.
Additionally, tours can be a great way to meet other travelers and make new friends, especially if you’re traveling solo. They can also be a great way to discover new places and try new activities that you might not have considered.
It’s important to note that there are many types of tours, from big bus tours to small group and private tours, it’s worth researching and choosing the right tour that aligns with your travel style, interests and budget.
My go-to online tour booking platform is Viator.com. I’ve been on walking tours, mural tours, canal and river tours, and day trips booked through Viator and I’ve never had an issue within the US or abroad!
11. Use Public Transportation When Available
Using public transportation on vacation can be a great way to save money, avoid the stress of driving, and experience a destination like a local. Public transportation options, such as buses, subways, and trains, can be much cheaper than renting a car, taking taxis, or using a ride-share app. They can also provide a more immersive travel experience.
Additionally, many cities around the world have excellent public transportation systems that are reliable, efficient, and easy to navigate. They often offer a convenient way to get around and see the sights without needing a car, which can save you money on parking and gas.
Moreover, using public transportation can also be a more environmentally friendly option, reducing your carbon footprint, and supporting sustainable travel practices.
12. Relax and Practice Self-Care
Setting realistic expectations for your vacation and avoiding over-scheduling or feeling like you need to be doing something constantly. Self-care is crucial to maintaining overall well-being, and it is vital to include self-care activities during a vacation.
Self-Care Travel Tips Include:
- Packing snacks incase you have to miss a meal
- Always carry a water bottle to keep you hydrated
- Make sure that you are getting adequate sleep
- Stay active or schedule time to exersice
- Add a few healthy meals to your diet
Taking time to rest and rejuvenate can help you return to your daily life feeling refreshed and rejuvenated.
13. Learn How to Use Your Out-of-Office Reply
Yes, setting an out-of-office reply is one of the essential travel tips and will ensure you can fully disconnect and enjoy your vacation. This will let anyone who contacts you via email know that you are away and when they can expect a response from you. It also can avoid the unnecessary stress and pressure of checking and responding to emails while you are away. This will help you to truly relax and enjoy your vacation without worrying about work-related matters.
Use These Travel Tips For a Stress-Free Trip
With these travel tips, you can make your trip or vacation a hassle-free and enjoyable experience. From using a packing list and credit card rewards to using public transportation and going on a tour, these strategies can help you make the most of your time away. Remember to plan ahead, stay organized, and be open to new experiences, and you’ll be sure to have a memorable and stress-free vacation. Bon, voyage!
This article Travel Tips: 10 Strategies for a Stress-Free, Enjoyable Trip originally appeared on Wander With Alex. Featured Image Credit: [@hocus-focus/Canva]
Alexandrea Sumuel is a travel writer and the founder of Wander With Alex, where she provides vacationers and travel enthusiasts with trip ideas, travel guides, news, and itineraries. She travels to experience, eat, and explore-- and, on occasion, escape! Alex’s mission is to help people travel a little easier.