The reason many people take vacations is to relax, recharge, and reconnect with the people that matter most in life: our family and friends. However, in our hectic world, travel can present multiple sources of stress. A little preparation, and some knowledge of basic stress-relieving techniques, can increase your sense of calm as you set off on your trip.
Whether you’re driving, taking the train, or flying to your destination, plan your route and itinerary in advance to minimize the likelihood of getting snarled in traffic or missing your departure time. Check weather and traffic reports to select the best time to be on the road.
If you’re traveling by air, pack your valuables, important documents, undeveloped film, and prescription medication in your carry-on luggage and keep a checklist of these items with you. Buy Transportation Security Administration-approved cases for your electronic devices, so that you will not need to remove them for the security scan. Dress yourself for a quick scan by not wearing jewelry, heavy footwear, and clothing with metal fastenings. If you know you’ll need to take your computer from its case or remove boots and outerwear, start doing this before you reach the X-ray conveyer belt.
Keep in mind that you can waste up to three days of your vacation getting your strength and energy back if you’ve been sleep-deprived. Plan to get proper rest in the days leading up to your trip. If you’re driving, naps along the way can be especially important. In addition, avoid jitteriness by limiting your intake of caffeine.
Set work boundaries for your vacation. Bring important projects to an adequate stopping point before you leave, so that you can turn off your email and cell phone during your time away.
Keep up your exercise regimen and your healthy eating habits before and during your vacation. Bring a book you’ve always wanted to read, or music that will relax you en route. Perhaps most importantly, stay open to the many possibilities for new adventures that will be yours each day you spend outside your usual routine.