Travel can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be: There are multiple steps that you can take to make your next flight easy and peaceful, from purchasing travel insurance to getting a skincare set. Here are 12 of our top tips for stress-free travel to make your next trip a breeze:
Try to fly at off-peak times.
Flying during a peak time or season basically guarantees a stressful trip. For a calmer airport experience, try to fly on off-peak days like Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Saturdays. If that’s not possible, then you can try either a very early or very late flight, since most people try to avoid flying at those times. And be sure to check what the busiest tourist seasons are for your destination; going during shoulder season or off peak times will mean fewer crowds and cheaper prices.
Consider joining a tour group.
If you get stressed out by planning an entire itinerary, consider joining a tour group. These groups plan out some or all of your vacation activities, taking the stress of planning off your shoulders. You’ll usually be responsible for your flights to and from the rendezvous point, but that’s it. Joining a tour group is also a great way to meet like-minded travelers who enjoy the same things that you do.
Get travel insurance.
If you’ve got an expensive trip coming up, travel insurance can give you peace of mind and protect your finances in case of emergency. Travel insurance comes in several different forms, including travel medical insurance, trip cancellation and trip interruption insurance, and “cancel for any reason” insurance, so choose the one that works best for your trip.
Bring document backups.
You should have both digital and physical copies of important travel documents such as your passport, visa, plane tickets, and hotel reservations. This means pictures on your phone and/or tablet as well as paper copies. Ideally, you should store these in two different places or pieces of luggage so that if one set goes missing or gets stolen, you still have the other one.
Only bring a carry-on when possible.
While skipping a checked bag isn’t always possible, we strongly suggest bringing only a carry-on whenever possible. This significantly reduces your odds of losing your luggage and also makes it much easier to move from one hotel to the next. Maximize your carry-on space by putting your skincare products in your shoes and rolling your clothes instead of folding them.
Use packing cubes.
If your carry-on or checked bag quickly descends into a chaotic mess of clothing, then packing cubes will be your new best friend. Packing cubes keep your clothes organized by type and keep clean and dirty items separate. Look for a set of packing cubes made for the dimensions of your carry-on for the perfect fit.
Exchange currency ahead of time.
Banks usually offer the best currency exchange rate, while airports tend to charge extremely high fees. Thus, we recommend exchanging your currency in advance so that you have enough cash on hand for at least a couple days. You should also notify your bank that you are traveling so that your cards don’t get frozen.
Download entertainment in advance.
Sure, in-flight TV sometimes has good options, but it’s still smart to come prepared with your own entertainment. Download TV shows, movies, and books to your tablet before you leave your house so you’re not trying to do it over spotty airport Wi-Fi while you’re in line to board the plane. Fully charge all your devices ahead of time and bring power banks and charging cables so you can juice them up during a long flight.
Take pictures of your house when you leave.
If you’re the type of person who stresses about whether or not you turned off the oven or locked the door when you leave the house, this little trick can give you peace of mind. Use your phone to take pictures of everything right before you leave so that you can look at your camera every time you get anxious about whether or not you turned down the thermostat.
Arrive at the airport early.
Running late to the airport is a surefire way to start your trip on the wrong note. Generally speaking, you should get to the airport at least two hours before a domestic airport and at least three hours before an international flight. This will give you plenty of time to check your bag, get through security, and find your gate, even if you have to switch terminals.
Skip the security line.
If you’re a frequent flier, then paying for TSA PreCheck or a similar program can help you get through the airport faster. Once you’re approved, the PreCheck program lets you get in a dedicated line. Not only that, but you don’t have to take off your shoes or belt or remove your laptop and travel size skin care kit from your bag when going through security.
Nap on the plane.
Being able to sleep on long flights is essential for arriving at your destination refreshed and ready to go instead of exhausted and stressed. To make sleeping on a plane easier, bring a travel pillow to support your neck and an eye mask to block out light. You should also bring either earplugs or noise-canceling headphones (or both) to deaden noise so that you can sleep.
While this may seem like a lot, we’ve only scratched the surface on stress-free travel hacks. Let us know your other favorite stress-free travel trips in the comments below!