It’s not every day we get an opportunity to hit the pause button on our day-to-day life, head out into the world and explore.
Travel is fresh, new, exciting and often… stressful. Everything is different and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, incompetent and frustrated on a daily basis.
Here are 4 easy tips & tricks (based on my own travel trial and error) and some stories from a recent trip of my own.
1. Do What You ACTUALLY Want To Do.
Don’t fall victim to cramming too much into an itinerary, especially to see sights you feel obligated, instead of excited, to visit. There’s a clear distinction between ‘travel’ and ‘vacation’, but still, travel shouldn’t be one big chore.
Will you relish the memory racing around to see twelve old churches you won’t be able to name in a month? If you’d rather spend the afternoon sipping wine and watching the passersby – do it! Let yourself off the hook and enjoy your trip in your own way.
Travel story: When visiting Paris for the first time, I spent the afternoon lunching & shopping with a French friend (ahem, trying on clothes from her very cool, local Parisian brand) instead of going to the Louvre. And I’m so glad I did.
2. Take Advantage of Technology – Sparingly.
Almost everyone travels with a smartphone these days, which gives us the option to enjoy wifi anywhere, anytime. If you can get by without constant wifi though, not getting social media pings and work emails will lower the stress of your trip.
If getting lost is a concern download an offline map app – an app that allows you to download a map of the city that you can later use offline (using the GPS in your phone). You don’t need to have Internet connectivity to use this app – unlike Google Maps.
Travel story: In Barcelona, I was wandering the winding, labyrinthine district of El Borne when I stopped at a little shop to buy a pair of Avarcas (cool local shoes). Once home I pulled out my new shoes only to find two left feet. Luckily, I had MAPS.ME or I would never have found my way back to sort it out!
3. Prepare For Going Tech-Free.
Ok, conflicting advice, I know. Internet connectivity has saved my skin on many-a-journey and it can make logistics a cinch. But, with our reliance on technology these days, we sometimes fail to have a backup plan when our devices fail on us.
Did you get an e-ticket for your flight? Is your B&B address saved in your inbox? Fine. Write it down or print it off anyway – you never know when the battery will die or the system crash.
Travel story: Arriving in Valencia, Spain, I took a cab from the train station straight to my B&B. I had the buzzer number to the suite saved on my phone. In the jostle of paying my taxi driver and getting out of the cab, I accidentally and unknowingly deleted the email containing the number. I needed wifi (which I couldn’t connect to) in order to retrieve the email out of the ‘trash’. Long story short: I couldn’t get ahold of my hosts and had to find another bed that night!
4. Leave Your Routine at Home.
We tujis quite enjoy our green smoothies, green juices and lots of healthy homemade recipes. When abroad, however, it might help your stress levels (and therefore general enjoyment of your trip) if you relinquish control of your carefully crafted daily routine.
Chances are you didn’t pack your blender, so just enjoy your petit dejeuner of croissants and cafe (or whatever the local fare). Get the fruit and veggies in when you can, but otherwise know that it’s only temporary and let go. You might also want to pack a probiotic to keep things moving – just in case.
A fifth and final (bonus) point for minimizing stress on your trip is just to ask for help. Plain and simple. Put a smile on your face and ask nicely. It could save you a lot of time and inconvenience.
Wishing you a bon voyage and happy trails for your trip!