Travel can be stressful, or it can be very simple and enjoyable. I travel frequently for work and pleasure (usually both combined) and have learned that when I have less to worry about, I have a much better trip.
That includes less stuff in my suitcase and fewer items on my calendar.
This guide to simple travel will help you see the world with less stress, and more love.
Identify the stress.
Before you get caught up in worry or anxiety about traveling, clearly identify what’s stressing you out. If you are worried about oversleeping and missing your flight, or arriving to your destination without the right shoes, write it down. From serious to silly fears, seeing your stressors clearly listed on paper removes the drama and mystery. If you feel anxious before a trip, instead of thinking “travel makes me nervous or anxious,” you can see what’s really bothering you and address it.
Simplify your itinerary.
If you feel compelled to see and do everything when you travel, consider seeing and doing less. When your travel schedule is more hectic than your regular schedule, you don’t get a chance to really enjoy your destination.
Build in blocks of time to rest each day and choose activities that inspire and interest you over the things you think you should do.
Simplify your suitcase.
One time, I went to Mexico for a week and brought at least 5 pairs of shoes. I wore flip-flops every single day. If you tend to over pack, experiment and …
- only pack for 1/2 the trip: If you are traveling for a week, pack for 3 or 4 days. If you are concerned about having clean clothes, you can hand wash and dry items as you go, or find a local laundromat. No one will notice you are wearing the same things.
- create a travel capsule wardrobe: stick with similar colors, and instead of an aspirational wardrobe, pack clothes you will actually wear. I roll my clothes so they all fit nicely in a carry-on without getting too wrinkled.
- only bring what you can comfortably carry: save time, money, and mental energy by only bringing what you can carry. Don’t check bags, or fill every available space you have with stuff. Think about moving lightly through the world.
Unless you are traveling to a remote destination, if you really need something, you can probably buy or borrow it. You’ll likely discover you need much less than you think.
Live like a local.
Instead of a pricy hotel, find an apartment through Airbnb. I’ve stayed in Airbnb rentals in Paris, Sydney, Arezzo, Austin, and NYC. While I usually rent an entire home, I have done some house sharing too. I’ve always had a great experience and love having a kitchen and staying in a neighborhood I like. It feels more like a home away from home.
If you sign up for Airbnb using this link, or any of the ones above, we both earn credits towards a future stay. Airbnb offers a great selection of unique homes and lovely locations.
Extend your trip.
This might not always be possible, but if you can extend your trip for one day, do it. Don’t make plans on the extra day, but instead just see what happens. You’ll head home feeling more relaxed, and may be surprised by simply letting the day unfold.
Connect with a local.
Locals enjoy showing you what they love about their cities and they also appreciate a chance to see it through your eyes. If you don’t know someone, ask other locals you interact with what they love about where they live.
Capture your experience.
By the end of a trip, it can be hard to remember what you loved best. Keep a daily journal and jot down the places you visit, favorite new foods, and other things to remind you about what made you smile. Taking pictures will help too, but writing down stories about your adventures is a great way to reflect on the day and encourage even more adventure in your life.
Use public transportation.
If you visit a place with public transportation, give it a try. Skip a rental car, and walk, or take a bus or train.
Take care of yourself.
It’s easy to over-do it while traveling. Prioritize your health and well-being by getting plenty of rest. Carry water and snacks for exploring, and maintain some of your healthy habits, even if you don’t stick to a regular routine. Feeling good makes everything simpler.
With the Tiny Wardrobe Tour, and plans to travel with my family this year, I’ll be visiting somewhere new almost every month. The best way to ensure I don’t feel rundown or overwhelmed from traveling so much is to keep things really simple.
I’d rather enjoy a few memorable experiences than check off a list of things I am supposed to do or see when I travel. If that means no museums or extensive sightseeing in exchange for finding my wings or being surrounded by love, I’ll make that trade every time.