There’s no doubt about it – travel can be stressful, especially over the holidays. Even with the excitement and joy that accompanies seeing a new place or reuniting with a loved one, packing, planning arrangements, navigating directions, and dealing with frustrations like traffic are enough to cause anyone dread and anxiety.
During my college years, I have had the opportunity to partake in extensive globe-trotting, including semester-long studies in India and Germany, week trips throughout the Czech Republic and Scotland, and shorter excursions all across the United States and beyond. From these adventures, I have learned how to prepare beforehand, journey smoothly during, and settle in home after, but most helpfully, how to handle inconveniences and appreciate every step along the way. As the cliche says, after all, life is more about the journey than the destination.
Before you dig out your suitcase and start tossing in your entire wardrobe, check out these few tips to help you get the most out of your next trip – both the highs and the lows.
Make a Checklist
This may seem obvious, but having a tangible place to track your plans and progress goes a long way. For your schedule, list all necessary addresses, directions, and reservation numbers. For packing, write out everything you need, in categories – plane essentials, toiletries, day clothes, evening clothes, outwear, pajamas, documents, etc. – and keep a pencil handy for crossing them off. I note upon the list where I stash each item in my luggage, so I don’t end up digging through pockets in the airport and such.
Then, take a picture of these checklists with your phone, just in case you misplace them. (And while you’re at it, snap one of all your important documents, too!)
Keep a Journal and Collect Momentums
Maintaining mindfulness through the chaos key. Physical and geographical movement can speed up mental and emotional movement, so carry a journal with you (could be the same as your checklist notebook!) to jot down any free-flowing thoughts. Include whatever comes to mind during transit, and then try to recap the day’s activities at night right before bed so you can relive the experience for years to come. You can even ask friends, family, or – such a wonderful element of travel! – strangers you meet to write little messages on special pages.
Personal souvenirs don’t have to be expensive. I am a total hoarder when I travel; I snatch and save every pamphlet, ticket, postcard, brochure, even cool (clean) napkins, and tuck them in my notebook or another special place. Through regularly writing in my journal and collecting momentum items, I stay peaceful and excited.
Remember the Reason
The most important thing to recall when travel tensions rise is the reason why you left your house in the first place. Was it to challenge yourself? To grow and bond as a family or friend group? To ultimately find yourself back in a loved one’s arms or perhaps your cozy home? Framed within the right mental mindset, travel can almost always be tied to gratitude.
When a hurdle pops up, as it most likely will, remind yourself and your travel partners of this initial purpose, and acknowledge that the process involves overcoming said obstacles. Take a deep breath, because everything will work out. The destination makes it all worth it, but in the meantime, approach your journey one step at a time.
Where are you headed this holiday season? Let us know!
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