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5 strategies for surviving the stresses of travel

Gorgeous countryside wherever you look in NZ...

Having just returned from 10 days in New Zealand, I am still on the “travel high” – the high you get when your body still hasn’t adjusted itself back to regular time, when your travel clothes still haven’t been washed and you are busily downloading photos from your camera.

Unfortunately not everyone has such a great time when they travel; there are just so many little things that can go wrong that often do – if you let them!

A recent post by Zen Habits gave me some good insights into how to “go with the flow” and bounce back from any setback that is thrown your way:

From departure lounges all over the world to nice hotels on every continent, I see the same thing no matter where I go: some people are having the time of their lives, and others, well, would rather be at home.

There are probably several reasons for this phenomenon of unhappy tourists, but one of them is that  travel can be overly stressful and unnecessarily complicated. If travel becomes too complicated, you can end up defeating yourself before any external pressures even arrive.

To counter the stress, here are 5 “big-picture” strategies and 8 specific, practical tips you can use to simplify your next big trip. Some of them will help you save time and money – both worthy goals – but all will help you cut out some of the stress.

5 Big-Picture Strategies

Create Your Own Travel Philosophy – Prioritize what’s important to you, and plan your trip according to that. A lot of people have expectations or ideas about travel that they have received from others. I think it’s better to decide for yourself what you value about travel as well as how you like to travel.

As for me, I like to do it all. I go between nice hotels like the one I’m at in Egypt and $10 hostels… or even sleeping on the floor of airports from Dallas to Singapore. Yes, I know it’s crazy, but that’s the point – I travel on my own terms. Why not discover what you enjoy and do that?

Become comfortable with some amounts of stress – I don’t think it’s possible to travel completely stress-free; I’m more interested in finding a low-stress solution. You might be able to avoid any stress at all by escaping reality on a deserted island, but that kind of trip is rarely gratifying in the end. Focus instead on reducing stress by making simple choices.

Goal-Setting and Vacations – It sounds strange to some, but I suspect manyZen Habits readers will “get it” – I recommend setting a few personal goals for every trip, even a vacation. My goals may be as simple as running a few miles every day or writing two pages in my journal every morning, or they may be more detailed like completing a writing project I’ve been working on. If you have daily habits of productivity and goal-setting, you don’t need to completely set them aside just because you’re away from home.

Forgive yourself for mistakes – I’ve been to 94 countries so far in my quest tovisit every country in the world, and I’ve probably made every mistake you can think of. A couple of months ago in between visits to Iraq and Eastern Europe, I even double-booked myself on two completely non-refundable flights home to Seattle. Yes, I assure you – if a travel mistake is possible, I have most likely made it. Along the way, I’ve learned that whenever I do something stupid, I have to let it go at some point.

Travel Zen – Even if you didn’t make the mistake, lots of disruptions and challenges can easily set you back while you’re in a distant land. Here’s where I invoke the Travel Zen mantra: “Life is an adventure.” If I wanted routine, I could have stayed home.

To read more go here: http://zenhabits.net/13-ways-to-simplify-international-travel/




One thought on “5 strategies for surviving the stresses of travel

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