Travel is often linked to stress. Whether you are about to go on holiday for business or to visit family or friends, planning, packing, travelling to the airport, catching your plane and enjoying your flight can be tricky. However, stress levels can be managed and even erased completely if the right plans are laid in place.
Don't let the pressure get the best of you - here's a guide to planning and enjoying your trip away whilst keeping the tension at bay.
- Read reviews; spend time on review sites such as Trip Advisor as they will give you a more independent feel for the place than the hotel's website.
- Taking out holiday insurance will give you peace of mind and nowadays you can pick up annual cover for under £20 per person. The peace of mind knowing that valuables can be replaced will be worth the cost of the insurance. Also, make sure you book package holidays and flights through an ATOL bonded travel agency. If anything happens to the travel company while you are away, not only will you receive your money back but arrangements will be made to return you safely home.
- Do not ruin a holiday by spending the entire time worrying about your finances. Plan a holiday budget and stick to it at all times. After the flights and hotel, meals are likely to be your biggest expense. Again if you put the research in before hand, you will have a realistic idea of how much meals will cost so you can budget accordingly.
- Check that each member of the family has activities to do every day. Bring family-friendly games such as bat and ball for the beach and board games for the evening. If you are struggling with space, a small pack of cards can go a long way.
- With all the planning of the holiday, many people forget the start and the finish; the travel to and from the airport. Train travel can get expensive if there are lots of you travelling together. Driving to the airport may be a cheaper option, especially for a family or group and with your entire luggage in tow it is more manageable too. We can offer quotes for airport hotels, making those early starts a little less early!
The best laid plans
It's worth checking things early. The day before you travel you can log onto the airport or your airline's website to make sure there are no delays and that your flight is due to take off on time. By this point you should know how you're getting to the airport. If you are using public transport check the train or coach website or call. Booking parking with Purple Parking means we can inform you about your flight, relieve you of the stress of finding a car park and deliver you directly to your departure terminal. You can also book any taxis or transfers needed in advance, both at home and at your destination. You may not find a taxi in a strange country and when you are tired this will only add to your stress.
Planning and time keeping are both key to successful packing. Make a list of everything that you will need and make sure you can find everything early - passport, swimming goggles, sun tan lotion, paracetamol, toothbrush, spectacles, as well as an array of clothes to suit the destination. Pack early; leaving anything you need for the journey in your hand luggage, but remember recent security restrictions. Stow shoes in pairs in the corners of the case and at the bottom so they are less likely to move. Business suits, shirts and delicate clothing should be packed last to avoid creasing and laptops should be carried on as hand luggage.
Dress for comfort. Loose fitting clothes and comfortable shoes will ensure that you will remain happy for your entire journey. Wearing layers will cover any climate change when you arrive at your destination. For example, wearing a t-shirt, jumper and jacket means you can add or remove layers accordingly. Special socks are recommended for people more likely to contract deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Try to eat and sleep well the night before your trip. Take vitamins to make sure you're on top form and don't pick up a bug en-route. Try to eat or snack during your journey, and exercise on long flights by stretching arms and legs. Stretching your upper body and arms can be done from your seat whilst a quick walk to the loo (flight permitting) will stretch out your legs.
Plan to arrive early to the airport, allowing enough time for check in and security. Arriving to park the car, dash to check your bags and go through security can be the most stressful part. This will be greatly heightened if you are late. Many people arrive before the recommended time to enjoy a meal in the airport or to do some duty free shopping. If you do decide to shop remember to have your boarding pass on hand. It's not over yet. As soon as your gate is announced you should head there; it can often be quite a walk to reach it and you don't want to miss your flight.
If you don't have a stress-free time before you catch your plane, or if you are afraid of flying, there are a number of things you can do:
- Breathing exercises work well. Deep breathing and maintaining equal breathing will help. Breathe in through the nose, count to five in your head and exhale through your mouth. Repeat this technique until you feel calmer.
- Stretch - Stretching arms in the air above your head helps clear your oesophagus and promotes clear breathing.
- Take water on your flight. Sipping water or herbal tea can have a calming effect. Try not to drink alcohol; it's a depressant and could add to your stress.
- Bring a new book or magazine. It's an interesting way to distract from take off worries. Make sure children have a book or magazine or possibly a game to entertain them.
- Positive attitude. Achieve all of the above by starting with a positive attitude; make the journey an exciting and enjoyable part of your trip. Your holiday starts here!
Date published 01/12/2011
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