Tips for Managing Travel Stress

Beaches. Mai Tais. The sweet outdoors!

Also— airports, finances, and crying babies galore…

While vacations are supposedly tailor-made for unwinding, the stress of traveling can undermine all that work you’ve put into…well, not doing work. 

Whether you’re headed to Okinawa or Oklahoma—here are some tips for managing the most common sources of travel stress:

1. Air Travel

The last time my flight was cancelled, I was far from home—I broke out in hives and cried in an airport bathroom stall. Needless to say, I understand the stresses of air travel (and also, what it feels like to be relentlessly itchy in an airport bathroom stall). 

From not enough legroom to long security lines, many air travel stressors can be mitigated by paying an extra fee. While this may not be an option for everyone—you may want to consider budgeting for your most stressful travel trigger.

Paying for extra legroom on a longer flight may cost around $50— the price of one mediocre dinner on the main tourist stretch. By eating in for a couple of meals, you could make up for the cost easily and start your trip off right. 

Airports and airplanes are also major hubs for germs. To prevent illness, make sure to wash your hands often and pack your immunity-boosting supplements in your carry-on. 

2. Unfamiliar Environments

There’s nothing like traveling abroad and not being able to leave the airport because you can’t find the exit. 

Prepare for the unknown by ensuring you’ll have access to the internet once you reach your destination. 

Having access to maps and translation tools will drastically improve your ability to manage unforeseen obstacles. If you know you’re going somewhere where internet is unavailable, download the map beforehand so it will be available offline. 

3. Travel Companions

If you’re traveling with companions, then chances are you’ll feel pressure to manage everyone’s needs and wants at some point during your vacation. 

To mitigate potential conflict, ask for input during the planning process and make sure to voice your own. When everyone feels like their needs have been considered, there is much less room for sulking. 

BONUS: Learn to unwind anywhere.

Regardless of the trigger, stress can ruin your day—or worse, your entire trip. Strategize for this by packing the necessary gear to unwind.

When I’m stressed, exercise is my go-to. I always pack my workout bundle (it takes up about as much room as a few pairs of socks) and Sweet Sweat travel packets to give me an extra boost, even when there’s no gym. 

Perhaps you meditate, or read a book, or unplug for an hour. Whatever it is, let that space become a haven during stressful times—no matter where you are in the world. 

 While the pandemic has certainly interfered with our ability to travel, if you’re lucky enough to vacation this holiday season— make sure to enjoy it, even when things don’t go as planned.  


This article was written by Melissa Pelowski. Interested in writing for us too? Email your pitch to for consideration.