Whether you spend your time stretched out on the beach or wandering through the cultural highlights of your destination country, holidays are supposed to be all about getting away from the stresses of everyday life. It’s a sad fact, however, that too many trips abroad are ruined by unnecessary worry stemming from insufficient planning.

Avoid holiday stress by getting organised for your trip well in advance – don’t feel that just because you’ve got your flights and accommodation booked that you’re all ready for your holiday. There are a number of steps you can take before you go away to reduce the risk of running into any stressful situations while you’re away.

Tips for a stress-free holiday

Check your travel insurance

First and foremost, you should take out a Travel Insurance policy that covers your needs completely to give you complete peace of mind while you’re away. Not all insurance policies are alike so don’t just assume the cheapest option is the one for you – read the small print and ensure that you understand what is covered and what isn’t. You’re much more likely to relax while you’re away if you know that you’ll be covered should you be unfortunate enough to lose your luggage, for example.

Vaccinations and medication

Check with your physician if vaccinations are required for your destination(s). Common vaccine-preventable travel diseases include yellow fever and Hepatitis A and B. In addition, check if the areas you’re travelling in are malaria-free (especially in parts of Africa and Asia) as you may need malaria medication. Ensure you also bring other medication which could come in handy in addition to any personal medication. Examples include medication to treat diarrhea, sea-sickness, headaches, etc..

Keep yourself protected

My thick winter jacket + 4 layers underneath kept me sufficiently warm in Lapland!

Whether you’re going on a beach or ski holiday, make sure you bring sunscreen with you (or purchase it at your destination). Pack clothing that’s appropriate for your planned activities – winter gear for ski holidays, walking/trekking shoes for hikes or long strolls, sunglasses and/or a hat, and an umbrella or raincoat. If you’re visiting a place with varying weather conditions and temperatures, bring a mix of thin and thicker layers. For instance, it can be very chilly on morning safaris in sub-Saharan Africa but it quickly warms up after sunrise. In such situations, it’s advisable to dress in layers; e.g. a jacket atop several thinner layers.

Pack in advance

Another way to enjoy a stress-free holiday is to make a list of things to bring and pack your suitcase well in advance of your trip. Rushing around throwing anything and everything into your bag at the last minute is hardly the laid back lead in that your holiday deserves – and you’re likely to end up taking far too many items with you, or even worse, leave something utterly essential behind. When you’re done with your packing, it’s worth popping your case onto the bathroom scales to check that you’re within your allowance as you’ll have to pay an extra charge at the airport if your bag is too heavy.

Check the validity of your passport

Make sure your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date.

Also make sure you locate your passport ahead of time. Check that it will be in date for the duration of your trip and keep it in a safe place until it’s time to set off. It’s always best to double check when your passport expires well in advance of your departure date as turnaround times on renewals can be incredibly lengthy – and while it’s possible to make an appointment to go in person to get an emergency passport renewal as a last resort, you’ll pay through the nose to do so.

Plan your budget

Sticking to your budget while you’re away is another important way to reduce the likelihood of holiday stress. It’s all very well getting off the plane and resolving to go out and enjoy yourself right from the off but if you end up overspending during the first half of your trip then you’ll end up having a miserable time of it counting your pennies during the latter half. One idea is to split your travel money into separate envelopes for each day of the holiday and only take one envelope with you per day – that way you won’t be tempted to dip into the extra cash too early on in your trip.

If you plan well then you’ll have done everything you can to have a stress-free holiday, leaving all that valuable time free to truly enjoy yourself. Don’t tempt fate by leaving things until the last minute – it’s just not worth the risk.

3 Responses

  • Haha, I know the feeling. Good luck with the budget-planning! 😉
    Thanks for your comment Joel!


  • Really great tips. I can really associate with the “Plan your budget tip”. I have been traveling for a month and I am well over my monthly budget. I did “plan” my budget for my trip – down to a daily spend amount, but I have failed horribly at sticking to it. The most important tip that you gave, which I intend to try today, is to keep the day’s money in a separate envelope. I tend to walk with a few days worth of cash and I end up dipping into it. Time to start walking with my day’s allotted cash and no more.

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