5 Causes of Travel Stress – And How to Combat It

September 9, 2021

Calm, happy travels, without the travel stress, can be yours with these suggested hacks.

Travel often causes stress. It takes up a lot of time, mind space, and can take a toll on mental and physical energy. Let’s look at the worst contributors to a rough journey and some simple ways to ease the stress of travel and make it more manageable.

1. Stress from lack of sleep

Lack of sleep can take a major toll and increase the feeling of being out of control. Irregular sleeping patterns, disruptive sleep on planes, traveling on several time zones and getting hit by jet lag can all contribute. Severe lack of sleep effects a happy travel experience, and can also leads to an inability to deal with planning, travel logistics and disruptions that occur.

Suggested travel hacks:

  • Relax on the flight and avoid trying to squeeze too much in – then if your body is tired you will have a better shot at just dozing off
  • Go for flights that are within normal hours of the day; whilst early ones may be cheaper, mostly it isn’t worth losing sleep over.
  • Plan your sleeping schedule in advance, and adjust to the coming time zone – read our tips on beating jet lag here.

2. Stress from poor eating options and routine

It is not a secret that people tend to eat more unhealthy food when traveling, and have more irregular eating patterns. Airplane or airport food is not famous for its fresh and healthy options. It can be extremely hard to stick to healthy habits when on the go. From hungry to hangry is a short journey. And hangry increases the stress of travel when slow people, constant background noise, queues, and delays inevitably come your way.

Suggested travel hacks:

  • Pack some healthy food to snack on when you’re hungry. But don’t pack celery please. Your co-passengers don’t need that.
  • Eat small snacks that don’t make you feel bloated or give you sugar overload, think seeds, nuts and fruits.
  • For longer stays, book accommodation that offers kitchenettes, rather than straight hotels. Giving you the option to cook your own food and make yourself more settled than in a stark hotel room.

3. Stress from physical imbalance like dehydration

It’s well known that long hauls are killers for your hydration level. It’s not always easy to drink your daily minimum water intake when traveling. Coffee is not recommended to stay hydrated. On top of that, you’ve probably all woken up with some kind of headache after an outing, with one, two, or…. three too many drinks. Not the best feeling next morning. Plus, too much alcohol can, of course affect sleep quality.

Suggested travel hacks:

  • Carry an empty water bottle to fill up when on the go. We’d recommend one such as S’well which keeps your cold drinks cold, as well as not leaking any harmful toxins like plastic bottles.
  • Limit your caffeine intake – we know this can be tough especially when your sleeping patterns can be all over the place, but plump for decaffeinated options to stay clear headed and ace your meetings!
  • Think about ordering mock-tails, tea, or at least matching alcohol with water 1-to-1 is a great way to stay alert, and decrease the likelihood of grogginess the next day.

4. Stress from lack of exercise and fresh air

With irregular schedules, less quality sleep, and lack of eating patterns it is extremely hard to incorporate physical activity during travels. So there is really not much time to get outside in the fresh air and do anything physical.

Suggested travel hacks:

  • Physical activity doesn’t need to be an hour in gym clothes. It can also be a leisurely walk through the park, climbing trees, and running after pigeons.
  • Take the stairs, and opt for walking instead of taking cabs if you have the time! Bonus points for helping parents with their buggies or old people tourists with their suitcases.
  • If broken down into 10min sessions of stretches, push-ups, light yoga, or whatever is your fav mode of using the body, its less daunting than a full on hr of work-out.

5. Feeling stressed about things going wrong

The irony that we travel to wind down, de-stress, or be productive somewhere else, only to end up stressing to, through, and from airports is not lost on us. Travel is one of the most unpredictable activities, and any number of things have the potential to go wrong. From forgetting important items, to a sudden airline strike, or cancelled transportation.

Suggested travel hacks:

  • Prepare for the unexpected and leave some slack in your timing and planning. If you’re the type that hates wasted time at the airport, use Audible or download a cool podcast and spend the extra slack walking around the airport and catching up on your reading.
  • Meditate, breath, and smile at screaming children. It helps you relax, and check in with yourself. Knowing whether you’re feeling stressed is halfway to doing something about it.

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