Five Tips for Travelers Who Hate Traveling


It's the traveling part of travel that makes it so miserable. If the future had made good on those time machines they promised us, we'd all be fine. Some people love airports or long car rides. I am not one of those people. So I've come up with five tips for people like me who hate traveling.

Make a Plan

This may seem like an obvious one, but it's important. Whether you're flying or driving, come up with a bunch of stuff to keep yourself occupied. You DO NOT want to allow your brain to think about how cold/hot/grumpy/mad/sad/scared/much your back hurts. If you're flying, buy some movies and bring a good book. The key is variety, so you can switch if your mind starts to wander. Or maybe you can get some work done. Flights give you the gift of time. Accept it with a smile.

On the road, get some books on tape, make a playlist, find a good trivia game or conversation starter cards, and definitely bring crosswords (those are great for the plane, too). A good tip if you have kids: musicals are great for the car. They offer two things kids love -- story and song -- and they usually last at least an hour.

Bring Snacks
couple on car road trip travel...shutterstock​

On the road, fill a cooler with anything you and your travel companions could want. And drinks, don't forget those. You can still get beef jerky at the gas station -- that's a rite of passage that I would never take away from you -- but you'll be happy to have the cooler option when your hunger/thirst doesn't jibe with the gas needs of the car.

For the airplane, bring a bottle of water in your backpack or purse (remember, you get two carry-ons). If you haven't noticed, airlines have gotten stingy with their snacks. If you don't like peanuts or pretzels, you're probably out of luck, so bring something to munch on. If you're flying during meal time, get a sandwich (there's usually a Quiznos or something in the airport if you want it hot). Salads are good, too, but make sure to consider both the mess and smell factor. You want to keep things neat and neutral, because -- as you know -- personal space does not exist in airplanes.

Give Yourself Time

I always give myself two hours before my flight takes off. This isn't because the TSA told me to, it's because travel is stressful (and hateful) enough without having to run through the airport with your carry-on luggage. After an incident in which I actually had to jump on the back of one of those golf carts to make it to my flight, I decided the two-hour rule was for me.

The same rule goes for road trips, with a spin. Road trips should be about taking time. There are people who need itineraries and times and schedules, but if you're on a road trip, it's best to be flexible. This kind of travel should be about discovery and opportunity. Don't be afraid to pull over to look at the beautiful waterfall, and don't get stressed if a herd of buffalo delays you. That's the kind of thing that can make the boring stretches more manageable.

Update Your Info

It will make travel even more hateful if your license is expired or you forget your passport. When planning your trip (hopefully well ahead of time), you want to double-check that everyone participating is good to go for identification.

Consider Your Bathroom Options At All Times
this sign is for men and women...shutterstock

This isn't just one for the kiddos. Remember that bottle of water and all those drinks in the cooler? Make sure to be mindful of when your next chance to use the bathroom will be. What goes in must go out. On road trips, we have a rule that if you have to go, we stop. I stand by that rule. But when you make a bathroom detour for a travel companion, consider whether you might be able to empty your own tank, as well. You really don't want to be the person who asks to stop ten minutes later. Really. Don't be that guy.

When I travel on a plane, I pretty much take every opportunity I can to see a man about a horse. Around ten minutes before boarding, after take-off, and just after they turn on the safety belt sign for landing (Yes, I'm a rebel). If it's a longer flight, obviously you should go when you need to throughout the cramped and mind-numbing process.

It's Not the Journey, It's the Destination

Sure, with some things, it's the journey that matters, but for those interminable flights or the long drive to Grandma's, just remember: it's the destination that matters. Hopefully, it's somewhere that can be your happy place as you go through the drudgery of getting there. When all else fails, consider the magic of soaring above clouds in a plane or moving faster than any human could in a car. The future did deliver on some of the stuff it promised. But seriously, don't forget the snacks.

Amanda Elend has lived in Nashville for four years. She is a contributor to Nashville Moms Blog and a freelance writer.

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