50 Simple Tips for Stress-Free Travel

A few strategy shifts, a few mindset adjustments, and some practical reminders for making travel more enjoyable—before, during, and after a trip. 

1. Book far, far, far in advance

2. Don't go anywhere you'll only love if everything goes smoothly

3. Don't expect everything to go smoothly 

4. Get there early

5. Keep food on you at all times

6. Laugh at absurdity

7. Carry on (your bags, that is. Keeping calm is cool too.)

8. Warn people who'll miss you of your absence

9. Ask your neighbors to water your plants, etc.

10. Prepare for whatever emergencies you fear most, no matter how irrational or ridiculous

11. Pay more for an international data plan

12. If you have a boss, explain to him/her how your trip will rejuvenate you for optimal performance upon return. Mean it. 

13. Airport lounges are clutch. Get access.

14. Assume you'll be stuck in a middle seat between two smelly giants with a screaming, poopy baby in the seat behind you kicking your seat. 

15. Research until you could swear you've already been there. 

16. Learn the language, at least enough to make locals smile

17. Smile at everyone wearing a uniform.

18. Smile at everyone else

19. Factor disaster into the budget

20. Be realistic about funds/expenses before, during, and after the trip (delusions always come back to burn you)

21. Be so organized you could unpack blindfolded

22. Pack for situations, not for weather

23. Keep small bills on you

24. Keep big bills on you too, but maybe put them in your shoe

25. Choose your travel partners wisely

26. Create some goals for the trip. Write them down. Refer to them.

27. If your plan sucks, change it

28. If your surroundings suck, move

29. If you have kids, include them in the planning process

30. Be in communication--as a courtesy, not an obligation

31. Don't travel to fit an image or style. Do only what feels right for you.

32. Remember how lucky you are. 

33. Be patient for a change. 

34. Practice loving other people for a change

35. Practice not worrying so much all the time for a change

36. Stop pretending you have no prejudices and practice expunging them for a change

37. Don't be too abashed or too afraid to ask for help--ever.

38. When you do ask for help, ask for exactly what you want. Expect to get it. 

39. Hand sanitizer

40. Headphones

41. Clean underwear

42. Keep a list of everything that stresses you out or might (if keeping lists stresses you out; skip this step)

43. Check under the bed, under the seat, in the seat pocket, on the floor of the taxi, and anywhere you just were, as soon as you leave, every time. 

44. Are you even having fun? 

45. Are you even grateful to have the supreme privilege of going somewhere else?

46. When you get home, don't mope around and wallow and wish you were still in Aruba.

47. When you get home, dominate life so hard that nobody could possibly call the trip you just took a waste or a failure

48. Eliminate the word regret from your vocabulary

49. Don't tell people about how your trip changed you. Just be changed.

50. Start planning your next trip, because far, far, far in advance just started. 

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