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Robyn Vinter is a journalist and blogger from Leeds, England. After writing articles for national and local newspapers and magazines, she now works for a travel price comparison site. A prolific guest blogger, she writes about what she knows - travel.

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The top 10 most stressful aspects of travelling and how best to deal with them

The top 10 most stressful aspects of travelling and how best to deal with them - feature photo

Whilst being immensely rewarding, travelling is also incredibly stressful. You can’t avoid all the stress, but learning to deal with it will get you half way there.

1. Saying goodbye to family and friends
It’s hard when you leave home, particularly if it’s the first time or if you know you won’t be back for a while. What you need to remember is that you will see them again, and next time you do, you’ll be regaling them with fascinating stories from your journey. Besides, once you get out there, you’ll be having so much fun you’ll forget all about them!

2. Dealing with delays
Delays are one of the worst things about travelling but sadly something you’ll just have to get used to. Whether it’s train, plane, boat or bus, it’s no fun sat around waiting. Get yourself a good book and make sure when you plan your itinerary, you leave room for possible delays. Being delayed can be a good time to update a travel journal too.

3. Terrible transport
Similarly, when you do finally make it on to the train, you might have to do a 4 hour journey sat on your backpack in the vestibule or standing under someone’s sweaty armpit in 100 degree heat. Unfortunately it’s just part of travelling – but it still sucks.

4. Losing things or having them stolen
It doesn’t have to be an inevitable part of travelling but it often is, no matter how careful you are. There are obvious solutions, like padlocking your backpack, not having anything valuable on display and researching the areas you are going to visit beforehand but the best piece of advice I ever heard was don’t take anything you’d be devastated to lose.

5. Getting sick
Everyone gets sick from time to time and with plane air conditioning and lack of sleep, it’s almost inevitable you’ll pick something up while you’re away. However, make sure you do what you can to take care of yourself, such as getting all the inoculations you need before you travel, not drinking the water, carrying a small supply of painkillers, anti-histamines and other medicines you might need. If you know you’re particularly susceptible to something then take preventative measures and have treatments on hand, for example an inhaler for asthma. And condoms – no-one wants gonorrhoea in the jungle.

6. Carrying your life around
It’s certainly something you’ll get used to as you go along but carrying all your possessions on your back like a snail can be frustrating. Most people who have come back from travelling somewhere will say they took too much, far too much in some cases. Believe it or not, for almost everywhere, you only need a 40L bag. Many people make the mistake of buying things like mosquito nets at home that can be so easily bought abroad. It’s often cheaper too. When you don’t need something anymore or you’re moving on, just sell it to a fellow traveller.

7. Sleeping in grotty places
If you’re a budget traveller, like most people, you’ll find this difficult to avoid. However, online hostel reviews are now getting popular and can be useful in the planning stages of travelling, but once you’re out there, the best thing to do is to ask other travellers. People are more than willing to offer their help and advice; after all, they’re in the same position as you.

8. Other travellers/falling out
For me this is the worst thing about travelling. The web is stuffed full of travel bloggers complaining about inconsiderate hostel-goers and screaming rows with companions. Just like there are self-centred people at home, you will find them travelling too. What you can do though, is make sure you travel with friends who want to do the same things as you and have the same lifestyle. For example, if you like to sleep in, early risers can drive you crazy and vice versa. The good news is that travelling often attracts the most open-minded and outgoing people and you’re likely to make some amazing friends.

9. Getting lost
While getting lost can be scary, it also presents an opportunity. As long as you’re not wandering around on your own after dark, it can be fun to explore the locality. Sometimes the best things are off the beaten track, and following guidebooks the whole time can give you a generic impersonalised experience. Getting lost can be the best thing to happen to you.

10. What to do with your car
Having to sort out your possessions at home is a complex part of travelling, particularly if you’re going to be away for a while. Cancelling your rental agreement and putting your stuff into storage can be a pain, and it’s difficult to know what to do with things like a car. For short journeys you can get some good deals on airport parking. Besides that, there’s cancelling you insurance (if you can). Unless you really don’t want to, selling your car could be a great solution as it’s out of your hair and you can use the extra cash made to fund your adventures.

There Are 4 Responses So Far. »

  1. The getting lost part is probably the best aspect of traveling, and more especially the backpack way of of traveling.

    That’s the best way to really discover what the city you are at is really about

  2. That’s so right Antoine. I got really lost in Venice as all the canals looked the same to me but had such a good time with my friends trying to find the way back to our hostel. Where have you been lost?

  3. It reminds me of the quote by Paul Theroux “Tourists don’t know where they’ve been, travelers don’t know where they’re going.”

  4. Haha definitely! I always thought that was such a great quote, encapsulating traveller mentality so well. Wherever you are in the world you’ll always find tourists and travellers and usually the difference is obvious.

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