Not many things are more stressful than travel. We’ve written about how to deal with stress before takeoff and how to deal with in-flight stress, and in our final installment we will cover dealing with stress once you reach your destination. One would think that once you get through all the chaos of prepping for a trip, getting through security, and making it through a flight stuffed with people that the stress would subside, but in reality it’s only the beginning. This is especially true if you are going somewhere you’ve never been before. Here are ways I deal with stress once I reach my destination.
Know where you need to be and have a plan on how to there. Have the addresses of your hotel and office easily accessible, and make sure you know ahead of time what means of transportation you are going to use to get there. Unless I’m in a place where taxis are reliable (such as New York City), I almost always rent a car even if it’s just an overnight trip. A rental car gives you the most freedom, plus the more I use rental cars the more I build up my status and points. If I’m going to a place where mass transit makes more sense I’ll map out my routes ahead of time so I don’t have to figure it out on the fly. It can be intimidating to understand the subway system at first so by having routes preplanned I eliminate a lot of that stress. There are plenty of apps that can help with mass transportation planning. I use Google Maps to help determining the subway, bus or train to take in New York City, and regional apps like the New Jersey Transit App for specific rail lines.
One final suggestion: be sure you have addresses written down somewhere. I once forgot to write down the address to my hotel (this was before I owned an iPhone) and spent thirty minutes at the airport trying to figuring out where my hotel was. Turns out it was literally right across the street from me. I’ve also been in a situation where I only wrote down the name of the hotel only to find out that there were three different hotels with that name which required me to call each one to find my reservation. Just the kind of stress I didn’t need after a day of traveling.
Have a GPS or specific directions. Be sure you have some sort of GPS if you are going to a new place. If your car isn’t equipped with GPS make sure your phone is charged so you can use the GPS on your phone (assuming you don’t have the archaic flip phone). If your phone isn’t charged it would be a good time to bust out the mobile phone charger I always talk about to save the day.
Sometimes GPS just doesn’t work out for whatever reason. Your phone with GPS might have died or can’t find a signal, or the directions may simply be wrong. Recently I was on a trip where my car didn’t have GPS, and my phone was giving me bad directions for whatever reason. Luckily I had the hotel phone number and was able to call them and get the directions I needed to arrive. Would have been a lot more stressful had I not had their number.
Bypass the rental car counter. I highly recommend you sign up for the ability to bypass the rental car counter with rental companies such as Hertz Gold Plus Rewards and National’s Emerald Club. After a long day of traveling being able to skip the paperwork and wait at the rental car counter is so nice. Plus you get to choose your car which could make the difference in you getting the perfect car for your trip. Also, be sure you have your registration information handy just in case. I don’t always need it but if something comes up you’ll want to be able to access that.
Prepare for weather. Make sure you are prepared for the weather at your destination. Check out the forecast to see if you need a coat, jacket, umbrella, rain boots, extra sweaters, and anything else you can think of to make you comfortable. Weather this time of year can be all over the place so being prepared will make your trip go so much more smoothly. If there’s heavy rain or snow in the forecast make sure to set expectations for the people you are meeting for business that your commute may take longer than normal. Finally, allow for extra time when driving back to the airport. Weather can cause unexpected traffic delays!
Build in a time cushion. It doesn’t always work out, but allowing for a little extra time can alleviate a lot of stress. This time of year especially the weather delays and hordes of infrequent travelers can slow things down. A little flex in your schedule can really cut down on the headaches!
Quick reminder, today is the last day to enter our contest and tell us what your favorite travel toiletry product is and why.
Readers, what are common stressors you find upon arrival? How do you deal with them?
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