5 Ways to Lower Stress Before a Vacation

Let’s see a show of virtual hands: who usually heads into a trip feeling rushed and stressed? 🙋🏻 🙋🏻

I do, I do, I do!

And I’ve decided that needs to stop. I hate walking into an airport already stressed to the max, exhausted from lack of sleep, and wishing I had spent more time soaking up extra puppy cuddles since they’ll be lacking for however long I’ll be gone.

Reduce stress before a vacation by deciding what your priorities are and keeping them simple. Here are five of my priorities before a trip. // dreams-etc.com

I have a trip coming up and as it approaches I’ve thought about what I can do to lower my stress and leave feeling rested, calm and ready for vacation.

1 // Cross Non-Essentials Off the To-Do List.

I always have this idea that I’m going to accomplish a massive to-do list before I leave, but it’s not realistic. I made sure to leave off things I’d like to do and create a list of only things I need to do… things that have an actual impact on my trip or that will be due while I’m gone.

2 // Pack early.

Every time I plan a vacation I decide I’m going to pack early… and I never do. That usually leads to frantic packing the night before I leave. I’ve gotten better about it and no longer finish and slide into bed at 2am, but I hate leaving all my packing until the night before I leave. And with this vacation I can’t, because I planned a Bible study with a few friends that night. So, I already have a packing list and I pulled out my suitcases this weekend. I’m hoping that packing early will also prevent the usual “did-I-forget-something” panic that has me throwing extra items into my bag as I walk out the door.

[Tweet “Pack early to reduce stress when heading out of town. #travel #traveltips”]

3 // Yoga.

Workouts leading up to a vacation are usually pretty non-existent for me, but I always feel like I need them the most during that time. Working out makes me feel good and I love the idea of making sure that I do yoga regularly leading up to a trip so that I’m relaxed and have done plenty of stretching before sitting on airplanes and in airports for a day.

[Tweet “Workout and stretch before a vacation to limber up for the long airplane/car ride ahead! #travel #traveltips”]

4 // Get lots of puppy cuddles.

The worst thing about packing last minute, is having my sweet pup watch me while I do, wishing I could use that time to sit with her and spend some extra time getting in puppy cuddles before I leave. Spending extra time with Little One before we’re separated for a week will be so worth the lighter to-do list and packing early.

5 // Sleep!

Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and getting sick… two things that I don’t want to deal with while traveling. And it’s always the last of my priorities, which means I leave exhausted and cranky. Now, the crankiness doesn’t last through my trip, but it’s still not the attitude I want to go to the airport with. So, sleep. It’s gonna happen this time!

[Tweet “Lack of sleep can lead to irritability and getting sick… two things you don’t want while traveling! #travel #traveltips”]

What about you? What do you prioritize or what would you like to prioritize before you leave on a trip?

PS – This basically means if I’m MIA for a bit with my usual posts, it’s so that I can focus on my five priorities. I have some book reviews scheduled, but other than those I might be a little quiet.

PPS – If you’d like to see sneak peaks of the prep and see what I’m up to while on vacation, follow me on Snapchat (dreamsetcblog) and Instagram.

[Tweet “5 things to prioritize before a vacation to reduce stress. #travel #travelblogger”]

Reduce stress before a vacation by deciding what your priorities are and keeping them simple. Here are five of my priorities before a trip. // dreams-etc.com

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  • Reply
    Sarah Jean
    March 23, 2017 at 9:46 am

    I’m the worst at waiting to pack for the last minute. It would definitely relieve stress!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2017 at 10:08 am

    The list – the huge, long, never-ending To Do List! You’re right, it never gets done though I do tend to at least get to the things with top priority. My best tip? Work out a packing system that you use every time. This not only speeds things up in the packing department but cuts down on the worrying that I’ve forgotten something. Example: I always keep a small make-up bag packed with my essentials (I use it everyday too since I’m minimalist when it comes to make-up. May be harder for some people!), as well as keeping a few extras in there like a small selection of headache/allergy meds and a spare tampon. That way I can just grab it and go.

  • Reply
    Miranda @ My Restless Soul
    March 23, 2017 at 10:45 am

    This is great, because most of us spend so much time stressing during vacation prep that we don’t enjoy the actual vacation to its fullest extent. Love the tips…especially the puppy cuddles ones. I left my dog overnight for the first time a couple of weeks ago and had a good cry over it. We have a week long vacation coming up in May and I’m trying not to totally stress about leaving her!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2017 at 10:53 am


    I leave for a trip on Monday and the last few days are usually stressful. I always pack early but I really like to have my house SPOTLESS before I leave so that when I get home it’s more relaxing.. of course that doesn’t send me off in the best mood. I’m also not great with security lines and tend to be grumpy, which is not the attitude you need to have.

    Sleep. sleep is the most important thing.

    Laura @ http://www.cookwineandthinker.com

  • Reply
    Ashley Stephenson
    March 23, 2017 at 10:55 am

    Puppy cuddles are the best before a trip!! I always spoil my dog so much before I leave! And packing early is a must for me!

  • Reply
    Lauren McPherson
    March 23, 2017 at 11:00 am

    Love this! I’m going to Jamaica in May and I’m already stressed for the process of getting there via plane! I hate flying. I think that dressing comfortably and having a good book to read or movie to watch helps immensely!

  • Reply
    Beth Kondrick
    March 23, 2017 at 12:57 pm

    I am THE WORST at packing ahead of time. I am always throwing things into my bags the morning I take off somewhere! We’re going to Missouri in a few weeks and my goal is to really try to be organized ahead of time this time (especially because this is a trip for a family wedding and I think I’m already going to be stressed enough with that!)

  • Reply
    Holly Bunker
    March 23, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    Awesome post! It’s so hard to cross of the non essentials and get sleep but relaxing before makes the trip so much better! -www.hollybunker.com

  • Reply
    March 23, 2017 at 2:16 pm

    GREAT tips. I don’t travel much, but I really should work on packing ahead of time more often. My mom is going out of town this Saturday and we have plans Friday so she’s going to pack tonight – for the most part – so at least it’s slightly ahead of time, right? haha


    p.s. your last image has lower listed twice! Just wanted you to know, since i assume the image is for people to pin!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2017 at 5:29 pm

    UGH, could not relate more to this – especially the puppy cuddles!! My husband and I ALWAYS get into a fight in the hour before we go on vacation–I’ve come to expect it now, but I still haven’t been able to prevent it yet. Packing ahead of time (for BOTH of us), actually leaving enough time to get to the airport without rushing, and budgeting in time for puppy (and kitten) cuddles so I don’t leave feeling guilty and worried… that sounds nice. 🙂

  • Reply
    Rachel @ STCL
    March 23, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Sleep is something I need to work on getting more of before a trip! And packing early – the last minute scramble is no fun!

  • Reply
    March 23, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    My goodness – you have described me to a “t'”. I hate packing and put it off until the last minute. I never leave myself enough time, both prayer and exercise go out the window and I am massively stressed and barking at my husband as we head out. Excellent post! Pinning!

  • Reply
    Dara @ The Southern Thing
    March 24, 2017 at 9:40 am

    Great tips! Packing early definitely helps me reduce stress!

  • Reply
    Mimi HomewithMimi
    March 24, 2017 at 10:28 am

    Great tips! I have often headed into a much-anticipated trip when I was so exhausted from trying to “get everything done” that I was unable to really enjoy the trip. Thanks for sharing these tips.

  • Reply
    Joseph Hendrix
    March 24, 2017 at 10:47 am

    i like to make sure certain chores – like running the dishwasher or doing the laundry – are done before i go so i don’t have to stress about doing it when i get back

  • Reply
    Devon Bernthal
    March 24, 2017 at 11:44 am

    I love these tips! I’m getting ready to move across the country with my kids and hubby. These tips will be super helpful.

  • Reply
    Krysten @ Why Girls Are Weird
    March 24, 2017 at 3:00 pm

    I try to make a list a month ahead of time with weekly checklists. Although I leave for FL on the 19th and haven’t done that yet, so I’m already behind. Thanks for the reminder and happy weekend!

  • Reply
    Malissa @ QuotationRe:Marks
    March 24, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    I hate feeling rushed before a trip! but for some reason I always am. I definitely need to try some of these strategies out (especially the puppy snuggles!)

  • Reply
    Leah Hall
    March 24, 2017 at 7:44 pm

    These are all great ideas, and I definitely need to implement more of them. But I will say I am ALWAYS stressed before vacation, especially vacation involving my kiddos. I always say it’s not vacation for mom, it’s more work, haha! When it’s just my husband and I it isn’t as bad!

  • Reply
    Sheila Jo Spencer
    March 24, 2017 at 11:18 pm

    YES to this entire post (except replace puppies with cats)! I am terrible at packing for trips and never allow enough time to pack without being stressed about it. I, too, have dreams of checking every item off a massive to-do list before the trip. Never happens!

  • Reply
    Chelsea Jacobs
    March 25, 2017 at 7:39 am

    #1 is SO GENIUS.

  • Reply
    March 25, 2017 at 8:16 am

    I love this list, all of it is so true!! I definitely rely on a list, but not only a packing list but also a to-do list. That seems to help the week leading up to a big trip go smoothly.

  • Reply
    Audrey Louise
    March 26, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    Leaving our pups behind ALWAYS stresses me/us out. We try to get in as many cuddles as possible.
    We also tend to get NO sleep before a vacation. It works out well when we fly, but definitely not so great when we’re driving. Haha! Have a great trip!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    I am the WORST at packing early. I really need to work on that! Where are you headed next? 🙂

  • Reply
    March 28, 2017 at 9:48 am

    This post is so perfect for me! We go on our honeymoon in a little less than 4 weeks. I am bookmarking this post for our reference. Puppy cuddles are definitely high on my list. We went on vacation last year and left our oldest dog and it was so hard. I’ve never left our new puppy alone.

  • Reply
    Rachel G
    March 30, 2017 at 5:05 am

    Packing early can make a big difference! I know I can get too excited about a trip…which leads to not sleeping which can lead to a body that’s not so happy with me! Taking care of my health definitely becomes especially important before a major trip! I have a big trip in May and I definitely don’t want to allow myself to stress too much about it in April, so I’ve been planning the itinerary early, and I’m also hoping to maintain a regular workout routine and eat nutritious foods in April!

  • Reply
    Christina Kamp
    June 6, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Great tips. I think they are all super useful. I love making sure i get enough sleep before i go and packing early can really save you. Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    June 6, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Isn’t it crazy how going on vacation is supposed to be fun and relaxing, but then the time to get ready and adjust after you get back makes it more stressful? These are great tips and I’ll have to try them, especially sleeping part!

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