Tasked by time constraints, moving with the lines, travel requirements and personal needs, whilst attempting to pull last-minute information together, there are always some who fail to prepare, although knowing that doing so will make things flow smoother. It is a time-consuming process to sift through information, pull out what’s essential, and organize it all; but it’s repeatedly done because that’s mostly what travelers know best. Yet there are many who know to anticipate what’s coming, because they know that when they’ve consolidated and prepared, they’re ahead of the game.
In 2012, authors John Crotts and Anita Zehrer published a book titled, ‘An Explanatory Study of Vacation Stress,’ identifying through analysis where in travel the greatest areas of stress originate. This publication quickly became furthered by independent travel bloggers and online influencers since. To echo an article published in 2016 by an independent online travel influencer, about those surveyed in the making of the book, “The participants reported that the most stressful part of their trip was actually the trip planning stage, followed by traveling to the destination, and finally the actual stay at the destination(s).” The author also writes, “The most stressful part, which many people may not anticipate, begins before they even leave their homes in the planning stage.” Makes sense…
Uninformed, ill-prepared, and behind schedule; there’s no need for it. While there are just some circumstances out of our control, most travel stress we bring on ourselves. I’ve been there. I’ve been the guy who digs through his email to find the e-boarding pass two minutes before boarding, who has his itinerary somewhere else, and who is attempting to book a rental car on his phone, while clinging to the last few minutes of free airport WiFi in a foreign country. I can confidently say, to start right reduces a significant amount of stress, anxiety, and confusion. However, I had to know what wrong looked and felt like before fully developing an appreciation for right.
“When one knows what to expect, they keep circumstances within, or close to within their control.”
Time management is usually within our control, and so is planning. The best that a traveler can do to eliminate the potential for stress is ensure that they’ve done the best that they can to prepare for the trip, as well as prepare for the unexpected. Let go of the winging it, even if you think ‘winging it’ will reduce the amount of stress. Some people think that planning leads to expectation (and it does) and when expectation fails, they are forced to deal with stress and adapt. But studies show that the more prepared a person is, the less they are likely to experience stress; that can be applied to almost anything.
Admittingly, there is some adventure in just going where the wind takes you, but that isn’t something that can easily be embraced by the many travelers working on a timeline, traveling for business, or going somewhere for a purpose. When one knows what to expect, they keep circumstances within, or close to within their control. When the choice to forego preparation is made, and impromptu decision-making valued, it should not be a surprise when frustration creeps in. Take the time the plan in advance, have your ducks in a row, consolidate your information, and know where things are.
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