Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Travelling can be a stressful experience at times, but it doesn’t have to be.
I know first-hand what it’s like to feel stressed around holidays. I used to get so worried about all the small stuff, like being late or forgetting something important. I always ended up being wound up by the time I got on the plane.
These days I live for that pre-travel feeling. I love strolling around the airport, soaking up the holiday buzz while I wait for a flight. I find it, dare I say, relaxing!
It’s been the simple things that have helped me to mellow out over the years and wanted to share some of them with you. Hope you enjoy.
Write a travel check list
While you will need to make slight adjustments to your travel bag depending on where in the world you are going, there are lots of items that will repeatedly make it into your suitcase or backpack. I have a master checklist on my phone and it means I don’t really have to think anymore when I’m packing. I stick to what’s on the list and then just adjust my outfits.
Packing Travel Trick: Have a summer and winter check list so you are prepared regardless of the season. Also, invest in packing cubes – they will make your packing life so much easier.
Don’t stress about checking in
This seems like such a basic thing to cover, but I know there are people out there who worry if they haven’t checked in online ahead of arriving to the airport. While it does help, there is no reason why you can’t check in the old-fashioned way when you get there, even if it’s just for a short flight. You won’t be charged for it and it also means if you want to chance asking for better seats, you can talk to an actual human about it.
Flight Travel Trick: If you don’t ask, you won’t get. Out of the ten flights we took around Asia last year, nine of them allowed us to move to better seats on the plane for free, just because I asked.
Have your liquids ready
Ah! This classic stress inducer. Ok, here’s the deal: you are only allowed one sandwich sized bag of liquids per person in your hand luggage. Bottles and containers must be 100ml or smaller and even if you have a larger bottle with a very tiny amount of liquid in it, you won’t be allowed to take it through. You can bring larger EMPTY water bottles though so it’s understandable that it can get confusing.
Aside from being eco-friendly, investing in a reusable airport approved clear zip bag is a must. I bought one in a pharmacy last year for €1 and I keep it in my backpack, fully stocked. That way, I don’t have to worry about forgetting something or being told I can’t take something through. I know the bag is the right size and I know everything is in it.
Beauty Travel Trick: I bought the best little travel accessory a few months ago in Boots. It’s called a Travel Perfume Pod and it allows you to take a little vile of your perfume travelling, meaning you can leave the big bottle at home. It has a spray top, is super easy to fill and only costs €9.99. Click HERE to see them.
Keep an eye on the screens
Friends of mine had a trip booked to Rome recently. They were in the airport on time, checked in and decided to have a drink to kill time (as many people do). They thought that when their flight was boarding, it would be announced over the main intercom, which isn’t always the case. Because they weren’t checking the reminders on the screens, they ended up missing their flight.
Something similar almost happened to me in New York a while ago. In JFK airport they have free iPads you can use while you wait. They have a little app on them where you put your flight number in and it will pop up on the screen when you need to go to the gate. The only problem is, it didn’t work! Only for I took my headphones off and heard them calling my name I would have missed my flight home. (I never ran as fast in my life!)
Moral of the story? Just don’t get too comfortable. Always check in on the main screens, that way you won’t end up doing any last-minute dashes or risk missing your flight.
Travel Trick: If you are unlucky enough to miss your flight, don’t panic. Go to the main desk of your airline immediately and tell them what happened. My friends were told afterwards that if they had done that they would have been put on the next available flight.
Prepare for limited internet
Despite the EU roaming allowance, sometimes you still have to deal with poor WIFI when you travel. Not only does it make it difficult to stay in touch with family, it also makes it harder to find your way around and don’t even talk to me about streaming music and movies! So annoying.
To avoid this, I always download my entertainment ahead of trips. That way, regardless of my internet connection I have lots of entertainment to choose from. Spotify, Netflix and Hayu all have offline modes, making it a dream to watch and listen on the go.
Travel Trick: Google maps also has an offline function. All you have to do is download the area you’re going to in advance and you can use it when you’re out and about.
Find places you’d like to eat in advance.
Picture the scene, you’ve been sightseeing all day and haven’t had a proper meal since breakfast. It’s starting to get dark, you’re tired and hanger is beginning to set in. The last thing you’ll want to do is try to find somewhere decent to eat, so you end up settling for the first place you find and it’s less than fantastic.
Having a list of places that you wouldn’t mind trying in the area you are visiting is a great way to avoid this scenario. You may find better places along the way, but at least you have some ideas on standby for those times when you just need to make an easy decision and not stress.
Travel Trick: Find great places to eat by checking out the Instagram foodie hashtag of the area, eg #romefoodie – you’ll find lots of places to add to your google maps.
Don’t let others impact your good vibes
This is probably the simplest way to stay chilled when you travel, yet it has taken me the longest to learn.
The airport is always full of anxious people, everyone is rushing and pushing their way to a good time. They’re nervous about security and flying, it’s understandable.
It used to really annoy me just being around people like that, they can be so rude, but these days I just try to let it go over my head. If someone if being pushy to get ahead in the que, I just let them. Realistically were going to get there at the same time anyway, so why would I take on their stress?
Travel Trick: Don’t be THAT person. Try not to take your anxiety out on fellow travellers. Take a breath and relax, you’ll get the eventually.
Take out travel insurance Whether you are nipping across the pond for a weekend in London or planning a six-month stint in South America, travel insurance is without a doubt the most important thing to invest in while you travel.
Years ago, I was in Gran Canaria and I had a virus of some sort. It affected all my joints and I could barely move after about two days with it. The doctors thought it was acute arthritis at first. I had no choice but to go to hospital over there. I was in for one night, before I checked myself out and arranged to fly home. The bill came to over €1000.
Thankfully I had travel insurance and I was covered. I’ve never left the country without it since and I tell anyone who will listen to take it out.
Travel Trick: As with any insurance, be sure to check your policy over and what it actually covers. It’s also worth knowing what the process is if you have to make a claim – IE do you contact the insurance company before going to hospital etc. There are lots of loopholes so just be carful you don’t get caught in one.
Choose good travel buddies Make sure you are travelling with people who are likeminded or at least understanding. The last thing you want is to book a trip away with friends, only to arrive and realise you all have different expectations. Talk about it before committing to anything. If you like to dance the night away but your bestie prefers to get up at 6am and do yoga on the side of a mountain, you might be in for a turbulent holiday.
Travel trip: Don’t wait for the perfect travel buddy. Go by yourself. That is my number one travel tip in life. Solo travel is such a beautiful adventure. If you’re interested in joining me and some other solo travellers for a trip to NYC next February, drop me a DM on Instagram for more info – @lovelytomeetme
So, there you have it, some of the things I do to make my travelling experiences a little more chilled. Feel free to reach out and let me know if you have any more suggestions of things you can do to stay relaxed, always looking for new ideas.
Ps. I’m a finalist in this years Beauty Blog Awards and would really appricate your vote. I’m up for best travel blogger. Simple click HERE and select Lovely To Meet Me.
Written with love, Rachael Victoria