I love travel but there have been times (although very rarely) when I’ve thought to myself, ‘this is really stressful, I’m not enjoying this at all’. You can’t plan for everything, however much I try, but with a little bit of forward planning you can cut out a whole bunch of unnecessary stress. So, here are some of my top tips, to help you keep those stress levels to a minimum. Because no one needs unnecessary stress when travelling eh, it’s meant to be enjoyable!
Don’t start off by getting stressed
You’ve got to be at the airport/ railway station/ port by whatever time. The easy bit, right? Wrong, this is the bit where you can really mess up before you’ve even started. It’s likely that this is an unfamiliar journey so don’t just google the travel time and leave it at that, check out possible delays and build in a delay margin. O.K. it means getting up a bit earlier, but it’ll be worth it. Take it from me, being stuck in traffic and watching the time tick away until your gate closes is no fun. If there’s parking involved, make sure you know where it is. And then there’s that shuttle bus which is late and you get off at the wrong terminal… Give yourself plenty of time and assume that everything will take longer than you thought. And if you do end up with loads of time to spare, treat yourself to a cheeky airport meal and a Wetherspoons prosecco and feel chill from the start.
Check your passport expiry date
Now this is one that i’ve seen happen to friends over and over. Some countries won’t let you in if your expiry date is less than three or even six months. And if you do need to renew it make sure you do it in plenty of time. If you’re going further afield, make sure you check other entry requirements, such as visas and vaccinations. You can check all the latest travel advice here.
Organise your money
It’s always sensible to travel with at least a small amount of the local currency, so be sure to shop around for the best exchange rates at least a week in advance. It’s also a good idea to take a credit card with you, as some companies (particularly car hire) need a credit card to confirm bookings. Be sure to choose one that doesn’t charge a lot of additional fees, you can easily compare which card is right for you here. And always hide a small amount of emergency cash somewhere else that isn’t directly on you. I learnt this the hard way when I was alone in San Francisco and I left my purse in a secret speakeasy bar. I didn’t have anything and it was a very stressful 24+hours that I wouldn’t like to repeat in a hurry.
Bring a charger adapter
Perhaps one day we’ll live in a world where all plugs are the same but at the moment we don’t, so avoid that doh moment and make sure that you’ve got a travel adaptor or two. If you count on buying one when you arrive, expect to pay a lot for it, you can easily buy these on Amazon for not much at all. And if you take a more than one you’ll probably make a buddy if you have a spare!
Don’t keep all your valuables in one place
This point follows on from the ‘stranded in San Fran without a dime’ story. But if you’ve ever had your bag get lost/stolen, along with ALL of your important stuff, you’ll feel the pain for this one. It’s bad if it happens at home but if it happens when you’re travelling it’s a major aggravation. And if you’re alone, it’s 10293848x worse. Don’t carry around all your money, cards, driving license etc. in your bag. Keep most of your valuables in a safe place and just carry what you’ll need for that day. That way if it goes missing it won’t ruin your travels. And if you DO lose your purse and you happen to be in a hostel buddy up with someone and paypal them some funds from your Paypal (as this is linked to your bank account NOT the card) and get them to withdraw it for you.
What are your top travel tips? Check out my guide for perfecting hand luggage too!