Confession: although I’ve been traveling for awhile I still get nervous and stressed out at times. No matter how many flights or trains I take, I still get butterflies before I head to the airport or the station. Making sure you have everything, aren’t going to get robbed, and knowing where you’re going can be stressful.
I‘ve been traveling around Belgium a lot recently and want to share some of the ways I keep calm when I’m in-transit. I’ll be flying to Barcelona this week, so this post is also a good reminder to myself.
I try to keep my stress levels low when I’m in transit by doing a few things. When I say “in transit” I mean coming and going from the airport, train station, etc with all your stuff. When I’m just walking around cities, it’s worth getting lost. I highly recommend it.
I just don’t recommend getting lost when you’re trying to catch a flight.
Read on to learn learn 7 ways to manage your stress so you can catch those flights and trains on time sans stress!
1. Keep Hard Copies and Digital Backups
I love my iPhone and iPad, but the truth is they can run out of batteries or fail for whatever reason. I keep my flight confirmation numbers, times, etc all written down or printed out. Call me an old lady, but I like hard copies. (And old ladies are pretty wonderful, by the way.) Having hard copies make me feel more secure. I don’t like the idea of totally relying on my phone or other device to give me all the information I need.
2. Wear a Money Belt
Nerd alert: Level 50. Despite feeling a little silly for wearing a money belt,
I’m here to make a case for the money belt.
You know why?
It helps keep me calm when I’m out with all of my stuff. Your backpack is not a good place for a passport. Your purse is a terrible place for your passport. And your pocket is a bad place too. I keep my backup debit card, backup credit card, and my passport in my money belt. I wear it when I’m in transit, so if things really go south I still have the essentials. Knowing that my passport and my backup cards are safe keep me calm.
Insider tip: I keep my passport in a ziplock bag to protect it from sweat and rain. I also wear my money belt over a tank top or other shirt to make it more comfortable on my skin. Then I just wear a loose shirt over my tank top so you can’t even see the money belt. No reason to feel or look like a nerd.
3. Blend in (or at least try)
This means keeping my “Oregon State University” sweatshirt at home, even though I’m proud to be from the Pacific Northwest. I try to wear clothes that help me blend in, so nothing super fancy, but also nothing that makes me look like a dirty traveler. Black and basic colors go a long way when you’re trying to pack light too.
Keep your “Go Merica” hat at home, folks.
4. Have the Right Attitude
It can be obvious that you’re a traveler when you have a huge backpack on your back, but you can still be savvy and blend in by having the right attitude. If I feel nervous I just straighten up my posture to get rid of those nerves. Being positive, even if you’re totally running late really helps. Which brings me to the next item.
5. Give Yourself Plenty of Time
No matter what I do, I find that walking to a train station or getting to the airport always takes longer than I expect. That’s why I highly recommend giving yourself more time than you probably need. This might be a bit much for some people, but it’s totally worth it for me. Then I can have a cup of tea before boarding my flight or just sit down and take a breath. That’s a huge help in keeping my stress levels low and my happy levels high.
6. Know Where You’re Going:
Another way I try to blend in? Staying (or appearing) to know where I’m going. One thing that keeps me calm is knowing that I have my ducks in a row which really is a nice way of saying:
“having my crap together.”
It’s also incredibly helpful to have a idea of the general area and direction you’re headed. When I get into a train station I always try and get a map. I also keep a compass on me so if I’m really thrown off I can find my way. Another tip: when you get to a train station make sure you know which exit you’re leaving from. Sometimes there is more than one main entrance.
7. Brush up on Language Basics:
When your own navigation skills aren’t so hot and you’re getting stressed, just ask. Being able to ask simple questions in the native language helps me keep my stress levels low. Write down some of those basic phrases if you need them too. Don’t worry about looking silly, that’s the best way to learn a language anyway!
I hope you have found my stress management tips for travel to be helpful when you’re coming and going on your travels. I plan on sharing my general wellness and stress management tips for when you’re traveling. The basic things I do each day and on a weekly basis to stay happy and healthy on the road, so stay tuned for that!
All the best and here’s to happy and stress free travels!