Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How To Eliminate the Stress of Traveling Alone

Today we hear from guest writer Julie Morris as she shares how

single parents can make the most of traveling alone....

Photo via Pixabay by JanBaby

Taking a trip without the kids can be a great way to relax and have fun, but it can also be a stressful undertaking, especially if you already suffer from anxiety. The process of packing and traveling isn’t easy, long hours in the car can take a toll on your mood, and the thought of leaving your kids for any period of time could leave you feeling a little wary. However, there are some simple ways to make your next solo trip a little more stress-free while keeping it memorable; here are some of the best.

Manage your expectations
Try not to put so much pressure on this vacation. As understandable as it is to want a perfect trip, keep in mind it’s nearly impossible to capture perfection, especially when you’re in a foreign environment with lots of factors that are out of your control. Try to relax and enjoy all the small moments that make a trip good, like being able to have a quiet meal, escape the noise with a good book, or hearing the waves crash on the beach.

Pack smart
Although the kids aren’t joining you on the trip this time, don’t use it as an excuse to overpack. Keep a checklist of everything you pack so you can ensure it makes it to your destination and comes back home with you too. Keep an essentials bag within reach with items such as cell phone, money, snacks, travel documents, and any necessary medication. Since you are traveling alone, bring something to help you stay awake on the trip, like coffee or your favorite playlist, and don’t forget a car charger. Designate someone back home to check in with as you progress on your trip. Ask them to call you if they haven’t heard from you within a certain period of time.

Be flexible
It’s important to plan a little, but not so much that you can't breathe. Things rarely go as planned, so having a flexible schedule is key. Rather than trying to do as much as possible each day, come up with a list of things you would like to do and prioritize them. If you remember the goal is to relax and have fun while the kids are safe at home, you will be much happier.

You're traveling by yourself so you can decide what you want to do and when to do it. You can change your plans. You might not have a plan at all and that’s perfectly okay. A flexible mindset is key to thoroughly enjoying your trip.

Do some research

Before your trip, do some research on where you’re planning to go, to make sure you won’t run into any surprises once you get there. For instance, some museums and other public areas are only open certain days of the week, while some offer discounts if you visit during a particular time of day. Knowing ahead of time what spots to avoid and when to plan a visit will help keep stress levels down so you can enjoy yourself and visit the locations on your must-see list.

While you are doing your research, write down the telephone number and address for the hotel or room where you can be reached in case of an emergency. Solo travel requires extra safety precautions, so make sure you stay connected with a trusted family member or friend and check in often. Speaking of telephones, while this is a kid-free trip, it’s likely that you’ll want to check in at least once. However, if you will be traveling internationally, you could wind up with a hefty cell phone bill if you aren’t careful. Have the person your child will be staying with sign up for a free Skype account and set a time each day to call in using your hotel room’s WiFi. If you’d prefer to use your phone, consider purchasing an international calling plan from your carrier.

Leave home worry-free

You can’t have fun if you’re worried about what you’re leaving behind, so plan for your home while you’re planning for the trip. If you don’t have a security system, let your neighbors know you’ll be going out of town so they can be on the lookout for anything suspicious. If you have a pet, you’ll want to make sure they’re well taken care of, so consider a pet sitter. This way, you’ll have peace of mind while you’re away.

Just remember, your trip is supposed to be enjoyable. Don’t let unneeded stress ruin it for you. Use this time away to rest and recharge so you can return home ready to conquer the world as a single parent once more.

Julie Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways.