Vacations, business travel, and studying abroad take travelers to every corner of the earth, but the experience of traveling far from home may feel stressful at times. Lost sleep, homesickness, and anxiety can disrupt what might otherwise be a pleasurable experience amongst a different culture. Consider the following simple tips to ensure your travel is stress-free and unforgettable.

1. Plan well and create a list

Traveling to an entirely different continent requires a little extra planning that's not usually necessary if you're just traveling a few hundred miles away to visit some friends. One study suggests a poorly planned vacation can reduce the mental and physical rejuvenation you receive from traveling.

In the weeks before departure, create a list of items you don't want to forget and essential preflight tasks like calling the pet sitter or getting your mail held at the post office. You'll relax easily on your flight with all those list items checked off and complete.

2. Rest before your departure

It might sound counterintuitive to try and rest before a vacation, but traveling great distances is hard on the mind and body. Starting a vacation when you're well-rested and calm will help you get through the many hours required to fly to the other side of the world.

Traveling to a destination like India might mean as many as 23 hours on a plane, plus a few hours spent waiting in the airport. You don't want to be tired and cranky before you even start your journey. Make an effort to get at least seven hours of sleep each night in the week before you leave.

3. Bring comfortable clothes

You may have plans to visit a trendy eatery or attend a tourist attraction that requires traditional clothing, but don't pack too many dressy outfits. You'll want to have comfortable shoes and soft cotton clothing for most travel experiences.

Shoes that pinch your feet and tight, hot clothing may make it difficult to appreciate a national treasure like the Taj Mahal or the Tomb of Mariam Zamani. Your travel plans might take you to Agra when the temperatures soar above 90 degrees Fahrenheit and light-colored, flowing clothing feels best in the heat.

4. Let things get a little out of control

A plan that includes accommodations, food, and a loose schedule of events is a great way to get the most out of any vacation. However, trying to control every tiny detail will only lead to unnecessary stress.

You might have your heart set upon attending the Ziro Festival of Music, but you can't panic if it rains and it takes a little extra time to get there. Expecting a few things to go a little haywire when you're traveling on the other side of the planet is the best way to take such delays in stride.

5. Expect the unexpected

The expectation of perfection on a vacation may cause stress when a delay or event happens, even if the issue is minor. Perhaps a venue that you wanted to visit is closed for repairs, and you have to substitute another activity for the afternoon. Maybe you want to try a particular dish at a local restaurant, and they're fresh out.

Rather than getting stressed and letting one incident spoil the entire day, try to be adventurous and try something new. You might be pleasantly surprised if you step outside your comfort zone.

Extra Tips for an Unforgettable Experience

Cutting down on the little hassles with some planning isn't too difficult as long as you know what not to do and what to avoid. Prepare for your vacation with these extra tips:

  • Choose an early flight to minimize the impact of delays
  • Protect yourself with vaccines if you've never traveled internationally
  • Don't forget to inquire about a visa; certain countries require more than a passport

Instead of stressing out over what could happen, try to accept that most vacations will have a few wobbles here and there. Travel is never perfect, but it can be an excellent experience if you're able to take the bumps as they come and know that something unpredictable might turn into something wonderful.