We all know this time of year can bring about a sense of panic, especially when you’re travelling in a foreign country. From researching local customs to packing like a pro, here are seven ways to stay cool, calm and collected when travelling in the silly season.
1. Avoid peak travel times
By avoiding travel on popular dates like New Year’s Eve, you’ll not only skip the crowds but also the inflated flight prices. Be savvy with your travel dates and opt for an overseas adventure either side of the Christmas break.
2. Pack wisely
Save yourself the stress of lugging around a bulging suitcase and follow the simple mantra, ‘if you’re not sure you should bring it, don’t’. The lighter the bag, the better. Always. Think clothing essentials, pint-sized toiletries and packing cubes (a true life-saver!).
3. Plan routes to airports in advance
Before arriving at the airport, make sure you’ve researched public transport delays, weather conditions, or booked taxis and/or train tickets in advance. Don’t forget to pack the night before, too. You never know when that extra bit of time will come in handy.
4. Research your destination, including local customs
There’s a reason the phrase, ‘Know Before You Go’ exists. Researching your destination before you depart can save you a lot of hassle and frustration in the moment. Prior knowledge of the way things work – like train travel in India, for example – can save you time, effort and money. By understanding why people do the things they do, you’ll be able to appreciate a country’s customs, while opening your mind to new experiences and enriching your time there.
5. Give back to communities
Hot tip: Don’t fill your suitcase with souvenirs that won’t last the year! If gift-buying is necessary, opt for handmade foods and handicrafts to support local artisans and small businesses. When visiting Jordan, your visit to the Iraq Al Amir Women’s Co Operative will not only help the local women to gain financial independence, but it will give you the opportunity to purchase a memento that is culturally relevant to the region you’re visiting.
6. Take time to include rest days in your itinerary
When you only have a limited number of days in one place, it can be tempting to tick off all the sites in one hit. But, think again. Slow down the pace, revel in a spot of people-watching and wander the hidden streets like a true local. Often the best way to truly get to know a destination is by taking the time to simply observe.
7. Get back in touch with nature
With all the noise surrounding the festive season, take a moment to escape the chaos and get back in touch with nature. Inhale the fresh mountain air of some of the U.S.’s most beautiful national parks like Yosemite National Park and Sequoia National Park – or come face to face with exotic wildlife in the lush forests of Costa Rica.
We hope you all have a very relaxing break, wherever in the world you may be. How do you stay calm when travelling at busier times? Let us know your tips below.