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Why should you make your next travel count? Because too often we travel without experiencing what is most precious about it. Studies show that having a stressful trip is worse than not taking one at all. The question is – What are we doing wrong? The dream holidays become a nightmare and we return more stressed than we were. Or we plan everything to be perfect and come back frustrated angry and sometimes even conflicted with our partners and fellow travelers. I have already written on how to resolve conflicts on the road. Now I want to help you make your next travel count. 

How did we get to a point where vacation is so stressful, anyway? Well, the problem is our modern life is very much about always planning, always being successful and having high expectations not only of others but of ourselves, too. We plan everything, we expect how everything will go, we want to treat travel like it's a 'to do' list. And we lose what can be special – freedom, getting lost in time and space and gaining the right perspective. To make your next travel count, make sure to use those tips.

Make a flexible itinerary a priority

Don't stress yourself with the impossible to follow an itinerary. As scientists from Radboud University discovered in their recent study, effective vacations give you the choice and freedom to choose what you want to do. So if you want to enjoy them fully, you should try to avoid structuring your vacation around an unbreakable schedule. Moreover, you should plan on going to a destination that offers more than one option you can pick from, depending on circumstances and your mood. Always try to avoid structuring your vacation around an unbreakable schedule. Being open-minded and flexible is the key to enjoying your holiday. 

Allow yourself to get lost

We have advocated the idea of getting lost before. Make sure you leave space for experimenting with travel routes, do not panic if you fail to follow every tourist route out there. If you get lost in a city, enjoy it, make the most of it and take time to explore the beauty of the places off the beaten track. 

Never ignore the impact of jet lag

Wherever you choose to go, the journey to that chosen destination can sometimes add stress, too. Erasmus University in Rotterdam scientinsts found that long-haul air travel can cause major stress hikes, especially in the form of jet lag. It actually eats into your recovery time for up to three days once you’ve landed. Keep that in mind and make sure not to force yourself to do too much during those critical days. 

Leave your work behind

Travel boosts creativity. I have already discussed that in a post. Leaving your work behind allows you to get into a different perspective and mindset that may make way for new ideas.One useful idea is to make your “out of office” email reply say that you’re coming back one day later than you actually are. This way you gain one extra day to get back on the track and allow yourself a less stressful transition. 

Use travel time to break old habits

Vacations are a prime time to form new habits or break old ones. Actually forming new habits is the best way to break old ones by simply replacing ones with others.  A new environment means a clean slate of all the cues that trigger ingrained habits. All your old cues and all your old rewards aren’t there anymore. Take this chance to form a new pattern and replace the old one with it.

Make new friends

No matter if you travel solo or in a group travel time is great time to make new friends. People are one of the greatest treasures you can meet on the way. Do not waste this opportunity. 

Photo Credit: Martin Sojka .. www.VisualEscap.es via Compfight cc