There are many benefits to traveling. Taking a vacation can help you de-stress, not think about work, and truly relax while you experience an all-new place or culture. Even traveling for school or work can be exciting, as you learn to navigate a new city, and can form long-lasting relationships with the people you meet.
Yet as important as travel is for your mind and spirit, there is no denying that planning for a trip can be a bit stressful. Whether you’re leaving the country for a month, traveling south for the winter, or just taking a quick weekend trip, there are so many little details to remember and bases to cover. Constructing a thorough pre-travel checklist can help you prepare for your trip, and below are some ways to help you stop stressing and start planning.
When it comes to making an itinerary for your trip, sometimes having minimal plans on how to spend your vacation time can be the most relaxing option. However, there are still some preparations you should make before you leave, such as figuring out how far away from the airport your hotel is, or how you’ll get around town once you arrive.
Creating an itemized itinerary on the day of your flight, train, or drive can help you prepare properly before you leave for your trip. For example, making notes on what time it’ll be locally when you arrive, what documents you might need to take with you (will a driver’s license work, or do you need a passport too?), the layout of the airport or train station and even some common phrases in the local language can all help take some of the stress out of traveling.
Here are some additional tips to keep in mind when planning your travel:
Before your trip, you should also make a packing list that includes all the essential items you will need while on your trip. Keep in mind, you should always check the expected weather at your destination so you can bring the appropriate clothes to keep you warm or cool. Additionally, always make sure to bring any medications with you — especially if you’re flying, make sure to bring these with you on your carry on, just in case your luggage gets lost or stolen.
Other items, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup, shampoo, phone chargers, and more will most likely be available for purchase in the area that you’re visiting. If you’re trying to save space, or you simply forget an item, you can most likely purchase items when you arrive. However, if you plan on packing them, be sure to keep liquids in a bag in case they leak (pressure changes while flying or driving through mountains can cause packages to burst), and follow all the applicable laws if you’re flying with liquids in your carry on.
When it comes to packing, keeping your luggage light can make traveling a lot easier. If you’re worried about space, try slimming down the clothes you bring or consider packing your luggage tightly to conserve space.
One popular packing method is the Konmari method, developed by author Marie Kondo. When it comes to packing your suitcase, following this organization style can help you save space and avoid overpacking:
Once all your items are packed and your itinerary is set, the only thing left to do before you leave your home for a trip is to ensure your home is neat and organized for when you get back.
This step is certainly optional, but preparing for a trip can provide you with the perfect opportunity to organize your home a little bit. Sometimes taking vacations can leave travelers a bit mentally exhausted, so organizing ahead of time can help ease the stress of returning to normal life. There’s nothing like coming back to a well organized, clean, and comfortable space, so utilize some spring cleaning tips to get your home in order.
If your trip is more long-term — such as leaving for a study-abroad program or an extended stay down south during the winter — then there may be some additional steps that you need to consider. This can include finding boarding for pets, a housesitter, a lawn or garden-care service, or storage for your car to ensure it doesn’t get stolen, broken into, or damaged. Additionally, if you decide to vacate your home or rent it out for a time to offset travel costs, you may need to store your furniture and other personal items in a storage facility. It’s important to research what options are in your area and entrust your items to a reliable storage company.
When you do come back home from your trip, you’ll be thankful that you had the forethought to organize your home before you left. Traveling is exciting, and seeing new places and meeting new people can be especially engaging for your mind, but it can get exhausting quickly, as well.
Wherever you end up going and however you get there, this list should help make your trip just a little less stressful. Happy travels!