Traveling can be stressful; even more so if you’re subject to bouts of anxiety. One time when I was traveling by myself from my home in Orlando to Burlington, Vermont, as soon as I entered the security line, my heart started racing erratically, causing me to feel lightheaded. I had experienced these symptoms before, and I knew they were due to being nervous and stressed (I’m not a very good air traveler!), so I slowed my pace (luckily there weren’t very many in line that day), took deep, calming breaths, and didn’t panic. I needed strategies from others on staying calm when you travel.
I talked softly to the TSA agent, made sure I wasn’t feeling rushed, and made it to my gate without further incident. I prayed, I texted my husband to be praying, and I kept taking deep, calming breaths. I still had a layover at JFK to get through.
But God’s presence was obvious to me in that time. My heart settled down to normal rhythms and I was able to relax and keep calm. The rest of my trip went smoothly even through a flight delay and late arrival in Burlington.
Here are some tips I’ve learned over the years that I hope will help you stay calm when you travel.
Know Your Body
Knowing your body is crucial when it comes to staying calm when you travel. Listen to your body’s cues, such as headaches, muscle tension, or stomach discomfort, and take breaks when needed. Engage in activities like stretching, meditation, or deep breathing to help alleviate physical symptoms of stress.
Stay hydrated. When you can’t bring water through security and don’t want to deal with airplane bathrooms, it’s tempting to forgo drinking enough water. But that’s a mistake when you’re already feeling stressed. Make the effort to keep well hydrated. Eat something nutritious. There are healthy snacks you can bring with you so you don’t have to pay exorbitant airport prices. Make that a priority. Try to get good sleep the night before you travel. Pack well ahead of time so that you’re not staying up late to get things done.
Pack Light to Reduce Travel Stress
Packing light can be a game-changer when it comes to staying calm when you travel. By only packing what you need, you can avoid the hassle of lugging around heavy bags and reduce the worry of losing your luggage. Less worry helps you stay calm when you travel. Make a list of essential items you’ll need for your trip, and stick to it. Consider packing versatile clothing items that can be mixed and matched to create multiple outfits. Opt for lightweight, wrinkle-resistant fabrics to save space and minimize the need for ironing or steaming. Finally, invest in a quality, lightweight suitcase or backpack that’s easy to maneuver and won’t weigh you down.
Give Yourself Plenty of Time So You Can Stay Calm When You Travel
When traveling, just getting to your destination can be stressful, especially if you’re unfamiliar with the area. To avoid any potential stress, it’s important to plan ahead and research the best modes of transportation to get where you need to go—especially that first leg to the airport! Utilizing reliable transportation options, such as ride-sharing services or public transportation, can help you save time and avoid the headache of navigating an unfamiliar city. Leave plenty of time to reach your destination to account for any unexpected delays or traffic.
If you’re traveling to an event that has specific dates, like a wedding, funeral, reunion, or show, consider traveling a day early just in case there are flight delays. And don’t hesitate to ask locals or hotel staff for directions or recommendations. They can offer valuable insight into the best routes and local hotspots.
Listen to Your Travel Companions’ Opinions
Usually when you travel with family and friends, the goal is to have fun. But it’s no fun for the person whose opinion never gets heard. If you’re a control freak like me, you want everything to go the way you want it to go. To help alleviate stress when you’re traveling, let your agenda go. The Bible tells us that it is good and pleasant when people dwell together in unity. It also tells us to consider others as more important than ourselves.
A simple question like, “What would you like to see us accomplish today?” can go a long way toward making your travel companions feel seen. Remember, people are more important than places.
Set Aside Time for Meeting with God for Help Staying Calm as you Travel
If you’re constantly rushing around trying to corral everyone and get them on the same page, you’re going to experience a great deal of stress when you travel. Prioritize time in your schedule to read your Bible, meditate on the words, and pray before, during, and at the end of your day.
If plans seem to be going awry, gather everyone to pray, asking God to calm your hearts and show you what his plans are for your day. The key is to stay flexible and allow God to direct your steps. You can only do that if you’re talking to him regularly.
Downloading the Abide Christian meditation app can help aid your time with God. The audio guided meditations, daily devotions and sleep stories will help you to find peace even in the busiest of travel schedules. Download it now and receive 25% off with this link.
Listen to this 3-minute meditation from Abide on keeping calm in chaos based on Deuteronomy 31:6.
Each travel experience is different just as each traveler is different. Going by car where you can get out and walk around pretty much whenever you want to is way different than sitting in an airplane—or an airport—for hours (you might be able to tell which I prefer!). Staying calm when you travel, no matter the mode you use, will help you have a more pleasant experience. You might even consider traveling with your same companions again sometime!