How to leave your vacation stress at home

From boarding your flight on time to keeping everyone happy, travelling can get tense. Here are our 8 tips for a fun and stress-free holiday.

A woman free from stress while on a vacation

A vacation doesn't have to be stressful. © gtall1

Category Tips & tricks

Date 8th June 2015

Taking time off to travel can (and should!) be a rewarding break from everyday life. It’s a chance to explore, to see and try new things, to breathe some fresh air into our habits and routines – to relax.

But for a lot of us, the mere thought of going on holiday can trigger just the opposite.

momondo asked thousands of travelers from 15 different countries* if and how they felt stressed in connection with their vacation, and found that as many as 30% percent of those surveyed feel anxious about different aspects of going on vacation.

To help do away with this unwanted tension, we’ve come up with some tips to avoid unnecessary stress – before, during and after your trip.

1. Do your homework

A traveller figurine placed on a map.
Mapping it out. © katerha

Not all of us are natural-born planners. But making key decisions beforehand can save you from wasting your precious vacation time – and money.

Many hotels dish out discount prices for advanced reservations and, with a little insider knowledge, you can book your flight at its cheapest.

Browsing through user reviews can prevent unpleasant surprises down the road and, for the commitment-phobic, keep an eye out for free cancellation policies.

2. Refine your packing system

Several backpacks outside a cafe.
All packed and ready to go. © Dave_B_

Yes, packing can feel like cruel and unusual punishment, but all you need is some know-how. To avoid the usual blunders, make a checklist – or use ours.

And here’s a little extra: If you live in fear of the ‘lost luggage’ scenario, take a picture of the contents of your suitcase so you have a record of what you’re taking.

While you’re at it, photograph your travel documents too – just in case.

3. Take your time

A woman walking across an airport.
Smooth travelling. © Nick Harris1


Spare yourself the headache and arrive early at the airport. You never know who might be in front of you at the security queue.

Avoiding rush hour and checking traffic conditions beforehand might not be a bad idea either.

Worried about exceeding the weight limit on your luggage? Double-check at home by getting on the scale with your suitcase and then subtracting your own weight.

4. Less is more

A girl reading on the beach.
Book break. © jgoge

You’ve arrived at your destination. Naturally, you want to make the most of it.

The golden rule for a stress-free vacation is managing expectations. Consider not only what is important to you but what is feasible.

It’s easy to get caught up in checking every sight, museum and restaurant off the to-do list, but absorbing new things can be exhausting. Be realistic about your energy levels, prioritize your activities and know when to say taxi.

Holidays are also an opportunity to catch up on things you don’t have time for at home. Read a book. Take a bath. Binge on bad T.V.

It’s okay to take some time off from your time off.

5. Unplug

Some books and a hammock.
Not a gadget in sight. © Porto Bay Trade

We all know it can be hard switch off work mode but your brain needs a break too… don’t bring the office with you.

Consider the timing when booking your plans, give your boss/colleagues a subtle countdown to your departure and finalize anything time-sensitive before you go.

If you must check-in, try scheduling a designated time to go online – and stick to it. Don’t give up too much information about your availability (a purposefully vague out-of-office email will keep the less tenacious at bay), and trust that everything probably won’t fall apart without you.

6. Agree to disagree

Two girls sit reading on a dock.
Quiet time. © pedrosimoes7

Kids getting cranky, a friend that takes forever to get ready, your partner dragging you along to something you don’t have the slightest interest in seeing… plain old discord might just be the leading cause of vacation stress.

And plain old compromise is the way to avoid it. Identify your differences and negotiate a peaceful resolution.

Oh and, traveling together doesn’t make you joined at the hip – why not take an afternoon to go your separate ways? You’ll have something to catch up on at the end of the day.

7. Ease back in

A man relaxes at home.
Home sweet home. © Pim Geerts

As tempting as it may be to book that last return flight on a Sunday evening and head straight into work the next day, rushing back into “real life” can quickly do away with all the positive, relaxing impact your vacation may have had on you.

Taking an extra day at home to readjust, giving you time to unpack, do laundry, restock the fridge – and the chance to reflect on the highlights of the trip – can prove more valuable in the long run.

8. Think ahead

Finally, a tried-and-tested recipe for warding off those post-holiday blues… start planning the next one!

* Data collected through an e-survey conducted in January 2015, covering the travel habits for 15 countries: Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Turkey, Russia, the United States and China. For every country, at least 1.000 respondents, aged between 18 and 65, and matching population in the respective country regarding age, sex and geography, participated in the survey.

Originally published

8th June 2015