Powering through the Pre-Vacation Jitters


Powering through the Pre-Vacation Jitters
by Bea Green

Pre-vacation jitters

Maybe it’s because I have an anxious personality but before every trip we go on, I get the pre-vacation jitters. Traveling is my thing. I day dream about the places I want to visit and the things I want to see. But no matter how much I enjoy the trip, I still get really anxious before traveling.

Beginning the week prior to embarking, I become a compartmentalizing, multitasking, freak-of-nature. I plan out all of the things I need to handle before we pull out of the drive-way. This includes birthdays or parties that will happen while we’re gone, making sure I pick up any last minute travel items, paying the bills that will be due while we’re traveling, the nightmare of packing, and making sure we have the minimum required groceries to get through the week of anxiety without wasting anything. There are lists on my phone, lists on paper, lists tattooed on the inside of my eyelids when I go to sleep at night.

Once the car is loaded and we’re pulling out of the driveway, I can let out my first sigh of relief. At that moment my blood pressure returns to normal and anything we forgot doesn’t matter. As long as we have each other, everything else is secondary.

So how should you deal with the pre-vacation jitters? Here are five tips to combat the anxiety of traveling.

  1. Lists: Your Temporary Best Friend

I know I just made fun of the fact that I use lists for everything but it really is helpful. Try and keep your lists in the same place though. I downloaded the ColorNote app on my phone a few years ago and it’s truly been a lifesaver. Users can color coordinate their lists and check off tasks as they’re completed. If you choose to use paper notes, try and keep them with you. Don’t be the person that thinks about adding something to the list but forgets what to add and then spends ten minutes wandering around the house aimlessly trying to remember what you wanted to put on the list (clearly I’m speaking from experience here). Also, cross off the tasks you have completed. It’s encouraging to see what you’ve accomplished. This can even help inspire you to finish more items on the list.


  1. Make Arrangements in Advance

This seems like a no-brainier but I have to admit I fall victim to the time crunch before every trip we take. It seems like the week before we leave is the craziest. You know what would fix that? Better planning. Start making your list of “must-do’s” after you book your trip. Other than packing, most of the pre-trip chores can be done weeks in advance. Meal plan for the week you’ll be in chaos. Write out the checks for bills that will be due while you’re gone in advance. You don’t need to mail the bills, just put them in envelopes in a place that you can slip them into a mail slot a day or two before leaving. Research the places you’ll be visiting and the recommended traveling essentials. If you’re going skiing in the Alps, you’ll want to order the perfect pair goggles well before the week of your trip.

  1. Delegate

I’m really bad at delegating. Often times I feel like I need to do things myself so that they’re done the right way. Traveling is supposed to be relaxing and there isn’t a ‘wrong way’ to prepare for leaving. If you have tweens, allow them to attempt to pack their own bags. You can always go through what they’ve packed and take out the non-essentials. Assign your teenagers or spouse to do the snack shopping. Chances are if you’re reading this, you’ve planned most of the vacation yourself. This is your opportunity to ask for help.


  1. Choose your Battles

Does it really matter that your daughter wants to bring her ungodly pink colored cowboy boots to the beach? The answer is no. Pack her flip-flops in your bag so you can avoid a tantrum when she realizes how hot her feet are. When it comes to pre-trip planning, the only things that really matter is that you pack the basics and pay the bills. Try not to micromanage the entire process and prioritize what’s worth getting upset about.


  1. Relax

Whatever you do on a normal basis to relax, continue to do during the pre-vacation process. If you go to the gym to cool down, continue to go. If you do deep breathing exercises, keep doing them. Don’t cut your self-therapy out of the timeline just because you have more stuff to accomplish. These things are important and cutting them out of your daily routine will only increase your anxiety. Take some extra time to get your nails done or your hair cut. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, include that on your list of must-do’s.


The traveling experience can be chaotic. Try and embrace the process by turning the pre-vacation jitters into pre-vacation excitement! Pretty soon you’re going to visit some fantastic destinations and make memories that will last a lifetime. Remember what truly matters and what’s just the crisis of the moment. Chances are five years from now when you’re reminiscing about your vacation, you won’t remember the silly little things that you’re wasting your time stressing about right now!

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