Let’s be honest, travelling isn’t the most relaxing thing in the world.
I’m not talking about the experience of being in different cultures…lying on exotic beaches, browsing colourful markets, soaking up breathtaking views…I’m talking about the actual travelling part. The running for a train or losing your luggage after an 11 hour flight, or getting stared down by a security guard in a foreign airport. Those less enjoyable parts that book-end an otherwise relaxing holiday.
I’m writing this blog post midway through a very long journey from Hong Kong back to England for Christmas and it got me thinking about some of the things I’ve been trying to do to make the journey less stressful. So here are some ideas for making travelling more relaxing.
1) Get organised
Growing up with a dad who is even more organised than me (and I’m very organised so that’s saying something!) our journeys to places were always very laid back because he’d organised everything so well.
He’d have all our tickets and passports in one place and so he wouldn’t have to do the stressful thing of suddenly hunting through all the bags while getting more and more dishevelled trying to find a “lost” document. Much easier and more relaxing to keep everything organised and know that everything is under control.
2) Prepare for the worst, expect the best, take what comes
I remember my dad always using this mantra when we were travelling somewhere and what a brilliant concept it is! With travelling I think you have to try and cover as many bases as you can. You want to arrive places with time to spare (especially if your journey has multiple stages that are all reliant on set times), you want to make sure you have all the right documents and that you’ve packed everything you’ll need.
After preparing everything, however, you don’t want to then spend your entire journey expecting your plane to be delayed, your train to not turn up, your luggage to be lost, and your passport to get stolen. That will just make you crazy and your journey a triling ordeal! So you then have to think positively and take what comes.
During my recent journey from Hong Kong with my boyfriend, it would have been so easy to worry about all the things that could go wrong. We almost lost our luggage, we weren’t able to book seats for the 11 hour flight and so had to keep our fingers crossed that we’d be sat together (luckily we were) and knew that if we missed one of the flights we probably wouldn’t make it home in time for Christmas. But we decided that we’d take the journey one stage at a time, all the while knowing that we’d make the best of whatever happened and safe to say, we were a lot more laid back because of it!
3) What’s the worst that could happen?
So on our journey from Hong Kong, we very nearly lost our luggage. Long story short, we flew with two different airlines and were told by the first that our luggage would be sent directly to London, only to find out from the second (when we were checking-in with no bags) that we had to go back through customs to find them! Crazily we ran back to find an empty conveyor belt, an empty room and our two suitcases abandoned in the middle of it!! A very near miss!
Afterwards, we discussed how awful it would have been if we’d arrived into London and waited for our luggage only to find that it was lost somewhere in China! But then the more we thought about it, the more we realised that it wouldn’t have been the end of the world. Yes, it would have been annoying, but at the end of the day our suitcases were only full of “stuff”…inanimate things that could mostly be replaced.
Realising this helped make the rest of the journey more relaxing!
4) What does worrying achieve?
Another thing I try to remind myself if I’m feeling a bit stressed out on a long journey is that worrying about your journey will achieve nothing other than make it a whole lot less pleasant. Going back to the idea of preparing for the worst, expecting the best, and accepting what comes, your journey is likely to be a lot less mentally and emotionally draining if you try and limit your worries. Remind yourself that you’ll handle whatever happens. If you miss your train, lose your luggage, have a delayed flight…you’ll find a way to handle it! That’s what I try and tell myself anyway and it seems to help.
5) Leave enough time
One of my least favourite parts of travelling is feeling rushed. Those journeys where you’re relying on everything being on time are the worst. Like when you’ve got two flights to catch and you’re hoping that the first isn’t delayed so that you’re not in a situation where you miss the second.
The most you can do, I think, is to try and leave enough time for each part of your journey. Try and choose flights that have a comfortable waiting time in between, arrive ahead of time for your train so you’re not running to catch it, and if you’re driving, allow time for traffic…especially at Christmas!
6) Ask lots of questions
This journey has taught my boyfriend and I that when you’re travelling it’s best to ask lots of questions rather than assume things or be left in a state of helpless confusion.
We almost lost our luggage because we assumed that it had been transferred to the next flight and all the while it was sat abandoned in an empty terminal! If my boyfriend hadn’t thought to double check that it had been sorted we’d be two bags short right now. So ask lots of questions and you’ll feel a whole lot more relaxed knowing that everything is under control.
7) Wear a snuggly outfit
A nice easy way to make travelling more relaxing is to wear snuggly clothes, especially on a long journey. It always amazes me what clothes some people where when they’re travelling, especially on a long flight: tight jeans, a skimpy jumper, high heels (??). This isn’t the time to put fashion ahead of comfort, so whip out a pair of stretchy leggings, a comfy pair of trainers and a big cozy jumper and although you may not be the most fashionable person on your flight, you’ll most certainly be one of the most comfortable!
– Tiger Lily –