How uptight a traveller are you?

We all like to think of ourselves as easy-going holidaymakers, but take our quiz to find out how uptight a traveller you really are.

We all like to think of ourselves as easy-going holidaymakers, but take our quiz to find out how uptight a traveller you really are. Play

Travelling is never easy – what with crowds, queues, delays and the inevitable family row before your plane even takes off. But there’s a lot you can do to make the whole process more bearable, whether you’re a seasoned cool customer or an uptight traveller. These tried-and-tested tips for a stress-free travelling experience should get you off to a good start. 

Perfect your packing

If you’re already feeling uptight by the time you dust off your suitcase and start packing, PackPoint might be of help. The app generates a bespoke packing list for your trip, based on ‘the length of travel, weather at your destination and any activities planned during your trip’. It takes the pressure off you remembering everything you (and your family!) need, and goes a long way in reducing those last-minute panics that you’ve forgotten something essential.

And you might want to think about cutting down on the amount of luggage you take. If you can pack everything into hand luggage, you’ll avoid the stressful uncertainty of whether your suitcase will appear on the baggage carousel at your destination airport! Take a look at our feature How to pack like a pro for expert advice on how to pack a week’s worth of luggage into a carry-on bag.

How to perfect your packing for holiday

Beat the traffic 

Whether you’re travelling to the airport, a port or train station, making sure you’re at the right place at the right time throughout your journey can be the most stressful part of travelling. But, according to professional driver Jackson Payne, Google-owned app Waze is a godsend. ‘Drivers love it because it’s one of the most reliable ways out there to avoid traffic jams,’ he says. ‘It’s a GPS navigation app that has an active community of drivers who create up-to-date road data, travel times and accident information in real-time. If you’re trying to get around an unfamiliar city or you’re in a rush to get anywhere, you can’t beat it.’

Streamline your planning for your holiday

Streamline your planning

One of the biggest causes of arguments while travelling is when two different planning styles combine. On the one hand, you have the ‘fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants traveller’ who barely plans a thing, while on the other you have someone who can’t get through the airport without checking their documents every 30 seconds. Google Trips is here to help. It’s like a physical travel folder but without the paper trail, gathering all your travel information from your Gmail and inbox, and organising it automatically. Genius. 

Get there early

Nicky Lidbetter, chief executive of Anxiety UK, says simply getting to the airport early can alleviate a lot of rows while you’re travelling. ‘It sounds obvious, but planning your journey and making sure you arrive at the airport with plenty of time to check-in is really valuable,’ she says. ‘This helps eliminate unnecessary stress and concerns of missing your flight, or encountering unexpected difficulties before boarding.’

Getting there early for your holiday
Practicing for your holiday

Practice makes perfect

Mike Ward, a psychotherapist from London Anxiety Clinic, says that having a positive mental rehearsal of your journey can go a long way to helping you cope with anxiety you might have around flying. ‘I instructed one client to imagine going on a flight without fear, but also with their favourite comedian on board,’ he says. ‘We mentally rehearsed this scenario in our sessions and the client mentally practised the scenario at home.’

‘My client called me after his holiday to say that, even though he expected to hide under his coat with anxiety the entire flight, all he could think about was the comedy sketch we’d talked about in our sessions. It totally changed the entire flight process for my client and, even though there was turbulence on the journey home, he wasn’t anxious at all. It’s an indication of how effective positive psychology and practising a scenario in your mind can be to help calm travel anxiety.’

Get appy with flight anxiety

Sky Guru is the brainchild of pilot and psychologist Alex Gervash, who is the director of Flying without Fear, a centre for studying and treating aerophobia. ‘Having more than eight years’ experience treating people for their fear of flying, I’ve recognized the value of real-time assistance,’ Gervash said. ‘People need support during turbulence or with understanding a strange sound while on a plane.’

All you have to do is enter your flight details into the Sky Guru app before you board the plane and it will give you details of your flight’s route, your arrival gate and the current weather conditions. Once on board, you’ll be instructed to lay your phone flat on a surface and turn on airplane mode. From there, the app will use your phone’s sensors, including the microphone and accelerometer, to explain all those small, potentially frightening sounds or sudden movements you might experience on board. It’s like having your own personal flying professional with you the entire journey.

Using handy apps to help on your holiday

Distraction is key 

Emily Kerr, a British Airways cabin crew member, strongly believes in the power of distraction for calming your nerves on board. ‘If you’re an uptight traveller, the best thing to do is to distract your mind and pretend you’re at home,’ she says. ‘Bring loads of snacks, magazines and other things to keep your mind occupied – I’ve seen people take their slippers on long-haul flights. And remember, you can always alert cabin crew for help if you need anything.’

Making sure you and your family are covered by suitable travel insurance can go a long way to setting your mind at rest. Check out some great deals here.

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