Travel is stress-free if you don't wait until lines get like this
Photo by CC user kalleboo on Flickr

Like travel, but not the stress that it brings on? There are ways to minimize the tensions of getting from point A to point B: embrace these principles, and soon, you will be among those that find travel is stress-free, rather than a source of it.

1) Contract the services of a travel agency

Since the emergence of online travel planning websites such as Expedia, many people have taken the reins of coordinating trips on their own. However, we think it’s safe to say that they didn’t anticipate all the stress that would come with it.

Since most lack the intimate knowledge that travel professionals spend years accruing, many folks have made mistakes plotting out their own holidays, leading to a less-than-ideal result.

In recent years, this has fueled the rise of the online travel agency, as there are plenty of busy people that are more than happy to offload the logistics of planning a trip to a trained professional.

There are plenty of stand-alone firms and freelance travel consultants available to help plan the trip of your dreams. If you are traveling for business, then firms like Reed and Mackay are best, as they are more attuned to the needs of executives.

2) Research visas, vaccinations, and other needs well in advance

While a travel agency can book your flights, hotels, and rental cars, there are still aspects of the process that are your responsibility.

Is your passport up-to-date? Does the country you are entering require a visa to be arranged beforehand, and if so, what are the conditions of said visa? Are you traveling to a region that requires certain vaccinations?

These queries should not wait until the final weeks to be answered. While you are still several months out, do in-depth research on your destination, and figure out exactly what you need to avoid being turned away at the airport.

3) Make multiple copies of your passport

No one likes to think about it, but the possibility that you might accidentally lose your passport or have it stolen exists on every trip.

In order to make the process of procuring a replacement easier, make several photocopies of your passport identification page and distribute it among your luggage.

Be sure to also have a copy on your person, as certain countries require you to carry your passport on you at all times. In this event, you will want to carry around your photocopy rather than your physical document to minimize the possibility of losing it due to theft.

4) Get to the airport three hours before your flight

We’re willing to bet that more than 90% of all stress triggered by airports is caused by waiting too long to get a taxi from home to arrivals.

Those that try to minimize the time they spend at the airport inevitably end up getting stressed out over long lines at the check-in counter, and through security.

Don’t even play this game: arrive three hours before your flight, beat the lines, and spend the rest of your time eating a leisurely breakfast, or surfing the internet at your gate while you wait for boarding call.