4 Reasons Your Holidays Are Actually Stressing You Out

What is travel to you?

A means of exploring the world and seeing the many miracles of both nature and architecture that different countries and civilisations have to offer? Is it all about traversing the cityscapes of far away countries and sampling their arts, cultures and cuisines? Is it about losing yourself in a place that’s so refreshingly different- imbibing new tastes, smells, sounds and sights with glee? Or is it simply about putting some distance between yourself and the pressures of work, home, friends and family? We all have a slightly different relationship with travel. And we all have subtly different expectations when it comes to our perfect getaways. Some yearn for adventure, excitement and the opportunity to explore. Others, on the other hand, require nothing more than a beach, a book and a glass of something bubbly for the perfect getaway. 

But whatever your idea of a dream holiday, it’s possible that you find your getaways are getting more and more stressful and exhausting. To the point where, upon returning home, you feel that you need another holiday just to recover from the last one. For those who love travel, there’s no feeling more deflating than returning home from a holiday feeling disappointed, and exhausted in all the wring ways. Here we’ll look at some of the reasons why your holidays may be stressing you out, and suggest ways in which you can make even busy city breaks less stressful and more enjoyable and edifying…

You’re under-prepared

Whether you plan on roaming the bustling streets of Barcelona or sunning yourself in the Canary Islands, planning and preparation can be the difference between a relaxing getaway and a two-week stress-fest! Not only does making sure you’re well prepared make for as less stressful holiday, it also allows you to enjoy the sense of build-up and anticipation for your break. 

Here are some ways in which you can ensure you’re completely prepared (some of which often get missed in the run up to departure) –

Try and learn at least a little of the language spoken in your destination. It can make little interactions much easier and help you to feel less stressed when you’re lost or looking for something. It also shows that you respect and value the people in your destination.

Get travel insurance. Yes, it can add one more cost to your getaway, but it’s barely a fraction of what you could expect to pay in medical bills should you fall ill abroad.

Pack plenty to keep the kids entertained and relaxed. Stressed, anxious and unhappy kids can severely exacerbate even slightly stressful situations. 

Make sure you have a definitive checklist of what to take with you. If you’re struggling, this one has every conceivable base covered.

You have no autonomy 

If you typically opt for package holidays, this may seem like you’re limiting your propensity for stress. But the reality is that package holidays can add to your stress in unexpected ways. Sure, it’s convenient to have every facet of your holiday organised in a single transaction. But doing so can sacrifice your autonomy and prove very limiting for your holiday. 

You have to adhere to the tour operator’s schedule, attend patronising meetings upon checking into your hotel, and if you want to go on a trip, you’re very much beholden to their schedules. Not to mention their pricing structures, which lack transparency and could contain hidden costs. 

Perhaps this is the reason why the purchase and rental of off road campers is so popular. They allow people true autonomy over their holiday experience, enabling them to stick to their own itinerary and go wherever they want at their own leisure. Guided tours can be fun and illuminating. But they can also be rushed and limiting in ways that add to your stress levels and detract from your enjoyment of your trip. 

Again, the better prepared you are, the better positioned you are to take control of your trip. You have time to compare tour operators, read reviews, and find out who offers the most value for money. Or, if you so choose, you can eschew them altogether and do everything your way. 

You’re putting too much pressure on yourself to see and do everything

As important as it is to be able to explore, linger, dine, drink, play and relax at your leisure, don’t mistake your autonomy for obligation. No matter where you’re travelling to, you need to resign yourself to the fact that you probably won’t be able to see and do everything that’s available to you in your destination. Nor should you. 

Travel should be about improving your mental health and wellbeing. But if you put too much pressure on yourself to exhaust every option available to you in your chosen destination (especially if its somewhere like New York or Paris), you’ll just find yourself stressed, exhausted and forever thinking about what you’ve missed. Not to mention terminally low on funds- we’ll get to that later. 

Focus on the experiences that will be the most meaningful to you and yours, and build your trip around them. If you truly fall in love with a destination, you can always revisit it. 

You’re over-spending

We can all become afflicted by FOMO while on holiday. FOMO (or Fear Of Missing Out) is very common when we’re travelling. Heck, it’s a big part of why we love to get away- just knowing that there’s such a big wide world out there and that we’ll never have the time to see and do it all. 

But while this feeling is understandable, it can also encourage you to spend a small fortune trying to ensure that every waking moment of your holiday is jam packed with sights and activities.

Not only can this be ruinous to your personal finances, it can make your holiday far more stressful than it needs to be. As a result, you may find that you come home exhausted with a financial hangover that takes years to shake off.

A little preparation, restraint and self-awareness can make your holiday as amazing and relaxing as it deserves to be!


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