International travel provides an opportunity for unforgettable fun and excitement. A journey to an unfamiliar city or exotic landscape can generate beautiful memories that last a lifetime.
Unfortunately, long-distance travel also presents many opportunities for things to go wrong. Between airport security, airline cancellations, customs delays, jet lag, and lost luggage, travelers may find themselves stressed to the max before they even get to their destination.
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Combined with the awkward mixups that happen when navigating the language and etiquette of an unfamiliar place, it goes without saying that travel-related stress can be hard to avoid.
While the stress of travel can leave us feeling disoriented, distracted, and homesick, it’s imperative that you do our best to continue living in the moment. You didn’t travel thousands of miles to spend the entire trip sulking over spilled milk and looking forward to coming back home. It’s time to seize the day, no matter how bad things seem to get.
With this in mind, let’s take a look at 6 ways to keep living in the moment when travel gets stressful:
The best way to manage stress is to practice mindfulness. While it might sound vague, mindfulness boils down to one’s ability to recognize the triggers of stress, acknowledge their emotional response, and put it all into proper perspective.
For instance, common grounding techniques for anxiety include taking deep breaths, performing basic stretches, and practicing mindfulness exercises. By making a point to practice mindfulness techniques for stress and anxiety, you keep bad news and other unwelcome events from ruining your international travel experience.
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You haven’t slept in over 24 hours, you’ve spent half the day getting through customs and baggage claim, and all you want to do is take a shower. Unfortunately, the front desk informs you that your hotel room is not ready. You can collapse on the lobby sofa in frustration, or you can use it as an opportunity to go exploring.
What else are you going to do? Stepping out into the city – even if it’s only a quick walk around the block – will take your mind off stress and focus your attention on why you’re there in the first place: to soak in the sights and sounds of a foreign land.
Grab a Bite to Eat
Another great way to keep living in the moment when travel gets stressful is to grab a bite to eat. Do some research to find the nearest authentic restaurant with decent reviews and give the local cuisine a try. The aromas and flavors of the various foods you eat will prove to be some of the most vivid memories of your trip.
You might not like everything you try, but the adventure of the unknown is part of the fun! Besides, you never know; you might end up falling in love with a dish you’d otherwise have missed out on.
Take Photos+ Share
Another way to take your mind off travel-related stress and keep living in the moment is to take photos of all the interesting places you visit. If you have to kill some time, review your photos on your phone and send the best ones to friends and family back home.
Learn new words and phrases
Are you unfamiliar with the local language? If so, consider brushing up on common words and phrases as a way to alleviate stress. Doing so helps you feel more empowered as well as make it easier to understand the locals. If the stress of travel is rooted in a lack of socializing due to language barriers, taking time to learn the basics can go a long way in improving the outlook of your trip going forward.
You won’t become fluent overnight, but even a slight improvement is better than hoping you find someone who speaks your language.
Do some people-watching
Is the stress of travel getting you down? Do you have some time to kill? If so, consider finding a park bench somewhere and people-watching for an hour or so. While you want to avoid being a creep, simply sitting back and watching people walk by can prove to be an eye-opening experience regarding your understanding of local customs and culture.
It beats killing time cooped up in your hotel room!
International travel is guaranteed to be a trip you never forget. However, it’s also likely you’ll experience stress along the way. Rather than let it get in the way of having a good time, find ways to keep living in the moment.