More Than 90 Percent Of Americans Find Travel Stressful. Heres How To Make It Better.


More Than 90 Percent Of Americans Find Travel Stressful. Heres How To Make It Better.

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Traveler Shana Schiffer of Chicago reacts after receiving a missing Christmas bag from the Southwest Airlines baggage claim area at Salt Lake City International Airport, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Salt Lake City.
More Than 90 Percent Of Americans Find Travel Stressful. Heres How To Make It Better.

Traveler Shana Schiffer of Chicago reacts after receiving a missing Christmas bag from the Southwest Airlines baggage claim area at Salt Lake City International Airport, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Salt Lake City. © Rick Bowmer Chicago traveler Shana Schiffer reacts after receiving missing Christmas bags from her baggage from Southwest Airlines at Salt Lake City International Airport, Thursday, Dec. 29, 2022, in Salt Lake City.

Americans are under a lot of stress when it comes to relaxing.

While the word "vacation" may conjure up lounge chairs strewn with hibiscus flowers and coconut-scented sunscreen, the notion of traveling to achieve that beautiful end goal conjures up an entirely different feeling. In a new study, 92% of Americans say travel makes them nervous.

Considering the stress and anxiety most people feel about travel, it's a wonder they leave home. Respondents to a survey commissioned by Passport Photo Online said planning an itinerary is the most dreaded part of planning a trip. They also said getting on the plane was the most stressful part of the flight, while getting home with a mountain of work and a box of overflows was the most stressful part of the trip.

Even innocuous survey questions are enough to introduce you to blood pressure medication: "When are you most stressed while travelling?", "What are the biggest sources of stress for you when waiting in line at your destination ?" and "Which adds to your travel stress." at the highest level ?"

"It's safe to say that most of us will experience increased stress when we travel, but that's not always a bad thing," says health consultant Dr. Daryl Appleton. "Anything outside our comfort zone will cause stress."

Appleton said to travel with chaos, not to stay rigid and inflexible. Inevitably, flights are delayed or your hotel room won't be ready when you arrive. Set your expectations accordingly. Airline staffing problems persist. Bad weather can create a domino effect of flight cancellations. Airports and the TSA are also grappling with staffing issues. In short, keep your expectations low.

Even when thinking about your vacation, don't assume it will be the "trip of a lifetime," says author Dr. Catherine Laughlin.

"Language is powerful, so be careful how you frame the journey in your head," she said. "Because then you have to compare your unrealistic expectations with the reality, which is always stressful."

In case you were wondering, a study found that loved ones are the most stressful travel companions. Respondents also indicated that they find international travel more stressful than domestic travel.

But there are ways to de-stress and I just don't want to stop traveling with my loved ones. If you want to use this review as an excuse to never take your mother-in-law to the Caribbean again, feel free. There are many ways to prepare ahead of time to make your trip more comfortable. Being on the road almost as much as I am at home, I have a few thoughts on this. I also consulted travel experts to fill in the gaps.

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Avoid baggage and carry-on accidents.

Survey respondents said the most stressful part of air travel is getting on the plane. Dear passengers, this is hand luggage. I've seen people take up nearly an inch of luggage space. So I almost always count bags and use a backpack that fits under the front seat to carry the essentials. I even argued that airlines should make checked bags free and get rid of luggage bins. But since checked bags bring billions in extra revenue to airlines, my dreams of a free checked bag are about as real as Kim Cattrall's return to the Sex and the City franchise.

Aside from the price, many travelers don't want to check it for fear of losing their luggage. Now there are companies that will deliver your suitcases to your destination and home, so you don't have to bring your suitcase to the airport or wait on the conveyor belt. Boston-based Lugless is one of a growing number of companies that will transport your luggage to its destination and provide all the necessary tags for a hassle-free process. I rated a hypothetical trip from Boston to Los Angeles using Lugless. It would cost $92 to have my bag fixed (compared to the $60 I paid the airline), but I knew my clothes would be waiting for me at the hotel, which would save me time at the airport. airport.

For those hesitant to check a bag after seeing or experiencing Southwest Airlines vacation hell, you can join the ranks of travelers by using Apple AirTags to track the location of your luggage. About the size of a large coin, these devices can tell your phone where your suitcase (or whatever) is. If you don't have an iPhone, other companies make tracking mats that are compatible with most devices. Each of them will cost from 25 to 30 dollars.

I also recommend getting a luggage scale, which can easily be found for less than $15, to take the guesswork out of checking your bags. I've seen many airport floors look like goodwill donation centers as people move their luggage from suitcase to suitcase to meet weight requirements. No one wants their flowers accidentally scattered on the reception table.

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Stay positive.

Some airports and planes have more ports and charging points than passengers, which is nice to see. Unfortunately, I have never been to these places. So when my phone or laptop battery dies, I start shaking and stressing out. My to-do list the day before a trip is to charge up anything that uses electricity. I also recommend buying a portable charger or power bank. If I didn't have a portable charger to keep my phone clean, I'd be sure to walk around Lisbon without having access to Google Maps on my phone. Portable chargers cost between $20 and $30.

Speaking of tech: don't forget to pack all the charging cables you'll need to take the stress off the day of your hike. Keep them handy for check-in at the airport and on the plane, and pack another one in your carry-on. When you rent a car, make sure you have everything you need to keep your phone clean while enjoying the scenery. Do I need to remind you to check for international travel adapters when leaving the United States? Wait, I think I did.

The early bird flies.

I'm not a morning person and the idea of ​​getting up before 9 a.m. makes me nervous. However, on travel days, you must arrive at the airport earlier. Travel consultant Kathy Sudeikis, who is Ted Lasso's mother, said early morning flights are less likely to be cancelled. Since we both hate sunrises, Sudeikis added that booking a flight before noon is also acceptable. If you need to take a cruise or catch a connecting flight, consider booking at night or in the evening if you don't feel the heady joy of stress.

Talking about the early deadline, Sudeikis suggested being at the airport three hours before the flight to reduce the stress of the trip. Because I'm a risk taker, I'm usually at the airport two hours before my flight. Do I regularly break the rules and almost miss flights? Yes, but do as I write, not as I write.


Traveling is always a game of haste and waiting, especially on an airplane. This means that you, your rodents, your angry teenagers, your grumpy parents, your loving spouses and everyone you travel with will be bored after about five minutes spent on expensive Pringles cans and duty-free designer perfume bottles. . Expect hours of downtime at the airport and in the air.

If you want to watch entertainment during the flight, remember to turn off the headphones, preferably noise-canceling. Otherwise, you'll be paying for a really bad pair that you'll never use again.

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Travelers with young children should let their little ones know that if they want to watch something on a tablet or phone, they should do so with headphones. Find comfortable headphones for your type and test them out before your travel day. If they are not afraid of headphones, buy coloring pages. It's not fair to subject your comrades to Pep the Pig.

I always download books, movies, and TV shows to my phone and laptop before I travel. Budget airlines don't offer in-seat screens (or legroom) and in-flight entertainment systems sometimes don't work. Services like Netflix and Amazon Prime let you download movies and TV shows to your phone and iPad so you can watch them offline. Along with sunscreen and underwear, downloading an entertainment app should be on your list for long flights.

Let someone else plan it.

A Passport Photo Online survey found that the most stressful task for travelers is planning an itinerary before a trip. Surprisingly, there is an entire industry dedicated to creating itineraries for travelers. Weary vacationers, allow me to introduce you to Trip Advisor. Before people started planning their trips through the tubes known as the Internet, travel agencies did. Now they prefer to be called travel consultants, but their job remains the same. They are knowledgeable people who design itineraries to suit the interests of their clients and in almost all price ranges. It's not a paid recommendation, and I don't think I've ever used a travel advisor, but if the thought of planning a trip gives you heart palpitations, they've got you covered. If you are looking for an advisor, ask your family, friends or colleagues for advice before looking online.


If you're planning or dreaming about your next trip, let me give you some advice: stress is normal. Unpleasant things happen from time to time during the trip. The joy of travel is unpredictable. We travel the world looking for new experiences to escape the milk fried work day. The best adventures always have twists, they are fun and scary. Book tickets to your dream destination, create the perfect packing list and find smart travel companions. But remember things are going to go wrong and that's part of the experience. We do not grow without problems.

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