Stress Management: Travel Day Edition

“Excuse me.  Were you already in line?”

It seemed like a simple enough question, but the response was far from expected.  “It’s not that serious, Lady!  You’ll get on the bus!”

Thinking about it now, the exchange seems trivial, but at the time, I was bristling.  Maybe it wasn’t such a big deal, but I didnt’ want to accept her intrusion into the line.  This could have been due to the fact that:

1) We only had two hours until international check-in closed and we were still 30 minutes away from the airport or

2) The approaching bus looked full and I was afraid that we wouldn’t be able to board.

Even though my question seemed simple enough, I could have very well been projecting a panicked or stressful attitude.  And the other person reciprocated.

Maybe she was also running a little late for her flight.  Whatever the reason for our less than polite conversation, I’m sure that if I’d not been rushed, I wouldn’t have minded an entire family cutting the line.

Gate Closing - photo by Jeffery MH
Gate Closing – photo by Jeffery MH

Here are my lessons learned to make sure that your travel day is stress free:

Clear your Plate

I made the mistake of having quite a few work related projects that I needed to wrap up before taking time off.  With a few unforeseen interruptions, I ended up needed leaving for the airport later than expected.

You shouldn’t have tons of things on your to-do list for your day of travel.  Clear your plate, so that you can enjoy your dessert, I mean travel.

Update: Did you know you can purchase your foreign currency online and decrease wait time at the airport through a provider like Travelex?  You can also check the current currency rates on the Travelex website for all different types of foreign currencies.

Separate Travel Items

I use my fanny pack as a travel purse.  I wear it on the first day of travel and it stays with me for the entire trip.

Inside, I keep all the items and information that I will need including my passport, travel information, currency and directions.  It’s so small and has enough compartments that I’m not digging around and searching for these things when I need them.  It’s also a lot safer than carrying them in your hand or pocket.

Have Multiple Plans for Ground Transportation

To get a better deal, I flew out of an airport that I don’t usually use.

I had researched methods to get to the airport, but I didn’t have a plan B.  If I’d missed that bus, I would have probably missed the flight.  It’s so much easier to have multiple options of getting to your destination.  Having a Plan A and Plan B, maybe even Plan C will help you stay calm in the event that your initial plans fall through.

Give Yourself Too Much Time

I must admit that I gave myself just enough time.  ‘Just enough’ is never ideal for travel.  What it assumes is that everything will go right.  And we all know what Murphy says about assuming.

I hate waiting at airports, but I must admit that sitting in the airport is 100 times less stressful than sitting in traffic on the way to the airport.  Plus, the late-comers always get the worst seats!

Buy Travel Insurance

I’ve missed flights and I almost got left at a cruise port.  For those who are particularly suspect to such mishaps, travel insurance isn’t a bad idea.  Especially, if getting yourself out of a predicament would cause a financial burden.

That’s why I always check flights with Southwest when making travel plans – they make is so much easier to rebook your missed flight.  Oh, and they didn’t compensate me for saying that, although they should! 😉


I know that it’s much easier said than done.  But, your travel day should be full of excitement and anticipation.  It is technically the first day of your vacation and shouldn’t be full of stress!  Prepare for your trip in advance, take a few deep breaths and get ready to celebrate the wonders of our world.


Hey Travel Experts – anymore tips??  Share them below!

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  • Sadie Heldberg

    How many times have I heard that too many and I know exactly
    how you were feeling. Except that, I probably felt more like knocking her out
    of line for being rude. That was then and I have spent years since traveling
    stress free with several tips mentioned on your list and with distractions. I
    like to put on my noise eliminating headphones and dig into my research for my
    film blog. That is easy enough after a conversation I had with a colleague of
    mine who also works for Dish Network about the Blockbuster Movie Pass. I can live
    stream thousands of movies and TV shows to my laptop or schedule my DVR to
    record something I need for my research then live stream that program. It is
    the perfect distraction because it is a passion for me and it raises my endorphins.


    • Hey Sadie, I have to admit that my headphones are a life saver (and sanity saver) on many occasions. I’ll have to check out the Blockbuster Movie Pass. I’m a fan of classic movies. Thanks for the tip!