Travel Tips: The 12 Initial Travel Stress Factors by A Canuck Gentleman

Dear Travel Diary,

Ladies, have you ever asked a man to share with you a travel experience? Recently after a seamless check-in Gordon said to me, "hun, your next blog post should be writing about the difference between travelling with and without stress. Because, what a difference it makes."

So, since he said that, I asked him to share his views, and so he did. The following are all his thoughts and things he does for the initial travelling. 

Travelling Stress Free makes a big difference in the entire travelling experience. Stress for me can appear during many aspects of a trip.  -- G.J."

Gordon's views

Gordon's views

1/ Packing:
I get stressed when I need to pack in advance of my trip.  I find it just as easy to pack my bags the morning of the trip.  However, I make sure that all of my laundry is folded and put away in my drawers and closets the night before.   The morning of I take a shower and lay out the clothes that I'm going to wear then I work from my feet to my head - shoes, socks, underwear, pants, shirts, jackets, sunglasses. 

2/ Booking Flight:
I don't check a bunch of websites looking for a deal.  I have setup an rewards account with two airlines that I always use.  For each of those airlines I make sure that I have a complete profile which includes all of my current contact information, my passport, my trusted traveler information and my payment card.  Only payment card.

Then I always use either the services of my lady, Janene of or the app for booking flights and this keeps my stress level low to non-existent.  No phone calls and no extensive research with a bunch of websites.  I just don't see the point in saving a few dollars on a flight and hassle to research then register then book with a 3rd party.  I don't have stress as I only have one throat to choke should there be a problem with my reservation.   I won't be told to go to that third party to change my reservation or inquire about a problem.

3/ Check-in and Seat Selection:
I always check-in for my flight 23.5 hours before my flight.  I always get the kind of seat I require. If it's a long flight - I choose an isle so that I can stand when I want or go to the bathroom when I want.

If it's a short flight - I select the window so I don't have to move for anyone, don't have to deal with people hitting my shoulders when they pass to use the bathroom.  I always do my best to empty my bladder prior to take off of a long flight.

4/ Transport to the Airport:
I eliminate stress by doing one or the other.  I park at the airport and walk into the terminal.  Taking shuttles adds stress. Or I have someone drop me of at the airport.

For domestic flights I arrive at security about 50 minutes before boarding.  International 1.5 hours prior to boarding.  This is mandatory.  Anything less than this and the stress will automatically go off the charts.  This one thing is the single most important keep it cool stress reducer, arrive on time, not too early, and not too late.  50 minutes and 90 minutes.

5/ Security:
I rehearse in my mind what I'll be doing when I go through security.  Taking laptop out of case, removing all metal objects and putting them in my coat pockets.  On fly day I may not put on a belt and may even keep my watch in my carry on.  While standing in line I take care of this as much as possible before getting to the screening.  I travel using a trusted traveller card, Nexus which helps me get through security much faster.  I even think about how many trays I'll be using when I get to the screening area - I need 4 trays usually so I grab four and set them up when I start loading my stuff on the belt.   If I'm randomly asked additional security questions - I'm as helpful to the agent as possible.  This always makes things easier and stress free.  After all, I have lots of time as I arrived 50 or 90 minutes prior to boarding.

6/ Boarding Pass:
I always use an electronic boarding pass on my phone.  I make sure that my phone is charged.  I also take a screen shot of my boarding pass so that I can pull it up without having to access an app or the internet.   Pictures can be pulled up on the phone quickly.  I also turn up the brightness on my phone so that the code can be scanned first time.

7/ Luggage:
I own a great set of travel luggage and I make mental notes of where I keep everything.  There is nothing in my travel bags that I need to get on the plane.  I store passports, id or boarding pass (phone) in my pockets not in my luggage.  Keep these accessible and on your person at all times.   I also hang my laptop bag from the handle of my rolling carry on.  This helps counter balance my luggage so that my rolling luggage is actually light in my hand as I'm pulling it.   I never check my bags and would only do so for a trip longer than 2 weeks. 

8/ Lounge Access:
I will often look for a Premium or Club lounge to wait for my flight.  These areas have food which is nice but the room is generally filled with other stress free travellers.  Here you can keep your zen and not have to witness the goings on of other stress travellers.  Stress of others can stress me also.  If you don't have access because of your loyalty status - you can often buy your way in for a nominal fee.  If you were going to spend 18 bucks for something to eat prior to your flight - you might as well spend a little more with the airline discount and get access to the premium lounge.  Worth every penny.

9/ Boarding:
Stay seated until your zone is called. 
Enough said about that.  Don't line up early, or hang about the side waiting for your zone to be called.

Have your ID and boarding pass ready prior to getting up to walk to the gate.   As you walk down the gang way put away your ID.  Before you get on the plane.

When you get on the plane - put your big carry on in the first overhead bin you see.  Regardless of where you are sitting.  You don't want to swim upstream to store your bag.  Close your eyes and meditate or think happy thoughts.  Don't watch people struggle with their bags or seating - it's time to depart in your mind to a happy place.  Watching other people hassle with the seating challenge adds stress.

10/ During the Flight:
I w
ear headphones - I listen to music that is cached on my phone and I read.  Reading is better than watching a movie as a book will not be interrupted with flight announcements.  Reward yourself with a treat during the flight.  I like the coffee and cookie on WestJet flights.

11/ Deplane:
Remain seated unless you are in an isle seat. 

12/ Car Rental:
Using your preferred status - get your car rental at the airport.  Offsite car rentals may be cheaper - but not without added stress.

What do you think of this list? 

Share your comments with us below and share this post, we'll be oh-so appreciative :).

Cheers & Happy Stress-Free Travels!

Stay tuned for part 2 as to why travelling without stress is best.