We've already proved to you that traveling is good for you, right? It can boost your mental health, it helps you stay healthy and let's you stay open-minded. You probably also know by now that traveling has the ability to trigger all 5 factors for happiness. Traveling is pure fun. But worrying about things that can or could happen when traveling, isn't. All those "what if's…" can turn your dream adventure into a nightmare…but only if you succumb to them. That is why it is important to detach stress and anxiety from traveling. The best way to release stress and anxiety from just about anything is to rationalise it. How come something that’s supposed to make you feel relaxed and happy can also make you so stressed? Because it leaves a lot of things uncertain and that causes stress to build up. I’ve dug up some of the travelers biggest causes of stress and ways to release it. Learn 10 good ways for releasing stress and anxiety before it spoils your dream.
1. What if my flight gets cancelled?
If a flight gets cancelled, you usually know it in advance, so that you have time to prepare. But that doesn’t work in emergency situations. Also, if your flight is severely delayed, you’re facing the same problem. Either way, you should do as much as possible to avoid it, starting with choosing a reliable airline. One with good reputation and high standards.This way if anything happens, you have a guarantee that the airline will assist you in the best way possible, and you don’t have to stress about that.
2. What if I forget something?
There is an easy solution to prevent you from forgetting anything. Make a list. Write down everything you should take with you in advance. Try to keep it always on you in case you remember something all of the sudden. You can also check one of TWP’s previous posts on packing. In addition, you can do what I always do when travelling – pack the list too. This way you won’t have to worry, that something you took with you, won’t return home.
3. What if my flight is oversold?
Overselling flights happens more and more often these days – airlines try to save money so they book more passengers than they can carry. And so far there is no law to prevent it! In the case of an oversold flight, airlines are searching for volunteers that are willing to give their seat up in exchange for a voucher for another flight and some compensation. If they can’t find enough volunteers, you might be denied boarding involuntarily. In that case, the airline must inform you of your rights in writing and, as a rule, offer you a really big compensation package. In any case, you should know your rights as a passenger. I’ve dug up you some information on EU laws and US regulations on the matter.
4. What if my luggage gets lost?
Having your luggage lost in some ways is similar to a cancelled flight. So if you don’t want to worry about that, use tip №1: choose a reliable airline. Also, you can pack some of the most important things (toothbrush, clean t-shirt etc) in your cabin luggage. And if you’re still worried, you can buy insurance that covers the financial loss in case your baggage winds up in Zealand instead of New Zealand (read more about that and other dreadful things that can happen while flying here).
5. What if I get lost?
In order not to stress about getting lost, you can actually do a couple of things. For one, you can buy a map and/or a guidebook. The 21st century also equipped us with some great tools. Download a map to your smartphone or get some useful apps (Peter’s reviewed one of them in one of TWP’s previous post). But maybe that’s still not enough to make you stop worrying. Find yourself a guide then! It’s not that hard, especially if you’re planning on exploring a big city. Websites like Couchsurfing.com are full of people willing to show you around. Great way of both discovering some unique sights and making new friends.
6. What if I run out of money?
If you’re afraid you won’t have enough money on your trip, try stashing some extra cash somewhere in your luggage (but not too much, so you'll have an extra worry on your mind - just enough to feel comfortable). A good idea is also to take a credit card or two with you. Make sure to choose different companies, in case one of them is not accepted in the country of your destination.
7. What if I am late?
You will probably be less stressed about being late, if you avoid planning tight schedules. Perhaps it’s better for you to spend a couple of hours at the airport than sprinting form terminal B to F because you only have 38 minutes between flights. Also, you can avoid booking early departures. As a rule, 5:20 AM flight is more difficult to wake up for, than 9:15 AM one.
8. What if I get sick?
To limit the possibility of getting sick, especially if you go to an exotic country, be sure to have your vaccinations in place. Before going, you should also buy travel insurance. This way you will be less stressed about costs of medical expenses, like specialists consults and medicine. Be sure to check the emergency number for the place you’re going to. 112 is valid in 80 countries all over the world including European Union, Australia and Russia; 911 is active in the US, Canada and Uruguay and some other places.
9. What if I have problems on the border?
Tests and exams are one of the most stressful situations you can experience. Being checked at the border control would also qualify. Make sure your passport is valid and intact – even the smallest tear can deprive you of possibility to enter the destination country. Before going, check the requirements for visa. If you have to obtain it in advance, you will have to contact the nearest consulate. If you can get your visa at the border, having some spare document photos might be a good idea: you’ll avoid overpaying for them at the border. They might also want to check your luggage. Remember not to transport anything that’s illegal, because you most probably will get in trouble.
10. What if I don’t like it?
Well… that’s a possibility. Noone can guarantee you that you will have a good time. I personally believe that the key lies in attitude. If you stay positive, you most probably will enjoy your stay. Just don’t oversell it to yourself, or you might end up disappointed.
There are probably more things that could increase your stress level during travel (like a terrible hotel). The important thing is to understand that not everything is in your power. You can only do so much. Some of those tips could be useful to release some stress and help you relax. So remember: Keep calm and don’t forget to share.travel!
Make sure to check out our presentation that sums up all the 10 tips and share it with others
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