July 18, 2024
Rome Colosseum / bwb-images


Travel can be an outstanding experience.  But at times it can also be stressful.  I’ve previously written about some techniques to manage travel stress ( related article ). Learning stress management skills can be very helpful.   A traveler that  learns to manage stress is more able relax and enjoy the pleasures of their travels.

Unfortunately, sometimes travelers conspire against themselves, making travel decisions that actually increase their travel stress.  One of the most common mistakes involves Pacing. Travelers frequently pace their travel inappropriately.  It’s understandable.  Most people have limited time available for travel – me included.  As a result it’s pretty natural to attempt to make the most of a journey.  It’s very tempting to try to squeeze as much as possible into a vacation trip or a personal journey.  We tend to set a travel plan or itinerary which has a very demanding pace.  There are many ways that poor pacing can create stress.  Here are some of the more common pacing errors – and ways to avoid or minimize their impact.

Procrastinating – Putting off planning your travels – then attempting to throw together a plan at the last-minute . This not only increases stress but can also increase the cost of your travels.   Avoid this stress by planning ahead.  Enjoy the planning process – it’s a fun part of the journey ( click here for a related article ).

Over – Working – Staying at work or the office up until the last-minute so that you miss as little work as possible – then trying to pack and get to the airport in a final rush – might sound like a good idea but it seldom is.  The same applies to your return home after your journey. These transitions can be complex with lots to do, and many adjustments to make. Give yourself a break.   Avoid this stress by giving yourself a bit of time to transition – both from work mode to travel mode and back again from travel mode to work. 

 “Tight Connections” – Scheduling tight airline connections to minimize “lost” time in airports waiting for your connecting flight.  Airplanes can be late, weather can be bad, security lines can be long, and connections can be missed.   Avoid this stress by remembering that “shit happens.”  Give yourself a realistic “cushion” of time between connecting flights.  If you don’t – well, you might manage to make a tight connection but your bags might not! (or vice versa!)

Over-Scheduling – Planning too many activities, events, things, stuff, etc for each day.    What seems like a very “do-able” schedule while you are planning it in the relaxed comfort of your livingroom may, quite possibly, become much more demanding and less “do-able” when you are hot, tired, hungry and lost on your trip.  Avoid the many stresses that come from “over-scheduling”. Take your planned schedule and cut each day by 25% to 30%.

Under-Researching – Failing to understand time requirements for an event, travel from point A to point B, etc.  It’s not fun to plan to visit a great museum in Athens only to arrive and discover it is closed on the day of your visit.  And if you think you can get from mid-town Paris to the airport in 45 minutes – well, you may be wrong.  Avoid, or at least minimize, unanticipated disappointments by doing your research in advance.  You will save yourself some time and worry, maybe some money, and quite possibly your vacation.

Forgetting To Relax – Trying to see and do everything possible will create a hectic and stressful travel experience.  You’ll arrive home exhausted and your trip will be a blur in your memory.  Wow – you may have to look at your travel photos just to remember where you’ve been! Forgetting to relax is perhaps the biggest potential stress creating error for  many travelers. 

Picnic Supplies / bwb-images

 We can all fall prey to these common travel mistakes.  I clearly recall spending several hectic days racing from one site to another, trying to visit and photograph every possible site in Rome.  Yet one of my most memorable days was when I decided to slow down, pace myself,  and do things a bit differently. 


Italian Snacks / bwb-images

I grabbed my camera gear and picked up some wine and goodies at a market, and headed to the Colosseum area in the early afternoon.  I found a great little park-like location  for late afternoon, evening and nighttime photos of the area and set up camp.  I photographed, picnicked, and chatted with fellow travelers as well as locals who happened by.  It was a great, relaxing afternoon and evening.  Great for photography, great for social interaction, and great for relaxing and taking in the wonderful City of Rome.

Colosseum At Night / bwb-images


How to manage travel stress?  Pace Yourself!  To fully enjoy the pleasures of travel it really helps to slow down and pace yourself.  Plan ahead. Know what your want to do, where it is, and how to do it.  Be realistic in what you can do and see.  As they say, sometimes less is more. 

Pace Yourself ………………. And Enjoy The Adventure!

Dr. B, The Photo Trekker