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Traveling should be a totally pleasurable experience. At the very least, you should not have your blood pressure shooting up every time you do it. Whether for business or for pleasure, traveling should be a relaxing enough time for you to either ease your mind or for you to be able to focus on the business tasks ahead. Here are some tips to ensure a stress-free and totally enjoyable travel:
1. Book your tickets and accommodations ahead of time.
If you have been clamoring for a great vacation, then you should not be spending half the time arguing with reservation clerks for flight seats or hotel rooms. Even if you are on a business trip, it pays to make sure that your work won’t be hampered by unnecessary blunders like not being able to fly on the desired day because of fully booked flights. Make and confirm your reservations. Find out if your flight is on time or has been delayed for whatever reason. Ensure that the hotel room you booked is still waiting for you. Doing all of these tasks on the Internet will prove to be great idea, saves you all the time and running around.
2. Label everything. Anything can happen on a trip. As much as you would love the idea of perfection, it just does not exist in this world. Even the best airline can misplace the bag that contains your whole summer wardrobe. You might lose your pocketbook that contains everything you hold dear from credit cards to your professional license. Worse, you could misplace the briefcase that contains papers so important they can either make or break your career. Labels might not guarantee the safe return of these items, but indicating your name and contact information on them may speed the process along.
3. Create an “evolving” packing list.
How many times have you smacked yourself in the head because you forgot to pack something totally essential? Well, creating a packing list from a successful trip will help prevent this mistake in future travels. Make a list of everything that you need, from the number of all clothing items, to medical supplies, to toiletries, to all electronic necessities. Encode the data in your computer where it can be edited and printed in a few minutes every time you have to go on an excursion. Before your next traveling opportunity, you can make a few adjustments to your wardrobe list depending on the season, the purpose of your trip (work or otherwise), and the special items you need for that exact trip such as work files. Print the list and start packing.
4. Secure duplicate copies of your documents.
Secure two copies of your critical documents such as driver’s license, passport, credit cards, airline tickets, traveler’s checks, and vaccination certificates. Pack one set of the copies away from the originals, and hand the other set to a friend back home with easy access to a fax machine. Your friend can fax them to you whichever pocket of the world you are in in a few minutes in case the original documents get lost or stolen. Showing copies of the original documents can dramatically reduce the time it takes to get them replaced.
5. Be prepared when traveling with kids.
Pack medications for common ailments, high-protein snacks, a set of clothes (in your carry on), wipes, and anything else you deem necessary. When traveling with kids, it is always a great idea to bring along things that will hold their attention and prevent them from crawling or running around. Aside from the popular iPads and electronics, you can also pack their backpacks with coloring books and crayons, small dolls, and other portable toys. Set their expectations before traveling, and extract realistic promises that may be rewarded once you arrive at the destination (Bribery! Gasp!). Kids do not need to ruin your travel experience. Just make the necessary preparations and handle them the right way.
6. Maintain a calm disposition.
Traveling does not have to be limited on long trips. You may be commuting or driving to work every day and the necessity of doing so has forever ragged on your nerves. A good rule of thumb to battle the stress of everyday travel is to maintain your calm. When another car cuts you off, count to ten, breathe deeply, and let it go. Or if the streets are jammed with traffic on an important day at work and you absolutely could not be late, listen to soothing music or use the time to review your business strategies. Do whatever it is that keeps you from honking that horn, shouting your lungs out in frustration, or going stark raving mad. Traveling does not have to add to your worries; your typical day is stressful enough as it is. Follow these tips, keep calm when a troubling situation arises, bring your sense of adventure, and do what you can to keep the journey as smooth as possible.
Sarah Miller is a travel expert for La Villas, a travel company specializing in St. Martin villa rentals. Sarah began by helping people plan vacations as a hobby – she visited St. Martin so frequently that her friends and coworkers would consult her when making their plans. Sarah discovered that helping people experience St. Martin was almost as fun as being there herself and decided to go into business full time assisting people dream up their perfect island getaway.