On your next va­ca­tion, leave the stress at home

The Idaho Statesman (Sunday) - - OBITUARIES - BY GE­OF­FREY MOR­RI­SON New York Times

I travel a lot. I’ve fine­tuned my process so that I feel as com­fort­able on the road as I do at home.

But it wasn’t al­ways this way. Like most peo­ple, I used to take once-a-year va­ca­tions, with a mas­sive suit­case and a rigid itin­er­ary, hop­ping from ho­tel to ho­tel stressed about train con­nec­tions and tour reser­va­tions.

It was all un­nec­es­sary stress. So while work­ing as a dig­i­tal no­mad, I’ve fig­ured out a few ways to min­i­mize that stress.

Pack less: I’ve spent

41⁄2 months away from home with a back­pack barely larger than a car­ryon suit­case. I’ve met men and women who pack far less (most of my lug­gage bulk is work re­lated). If you’re gone for more than a week, bud­get a few hours to do laun­dry, or a few dol­lars to pay for a laun­dry ser­vice.

Plan less: This seems coun­ter­in­tu­itive, but if you plan less, you’ll be less stressed. Sure, hav­ing a per-sec­ond itin­er­ary may seem like a gift for your fu­ture va­ca­tion self, but you’re go­ing to feel rushed and anx­ious about mak­ing your next stop.

Sure, keep a list of things you want to do, but al­low for lots of flex­i­bil­ity. You’re not go­ing to see ev­ery­thing, so en­joy what you can and don’t rush. Less plan­ning al­lows you to stay longer in spots you like, and leave early from places you don’t.

Slow down: This is a hard one. But cram­ming 15 cities into 14 days is go­ing to make you mis­er­able. I try to spend at least three days in each place. That gives you enough time to get the feel and de­cide if you want to stay, or go some­where else. Ev­ery­one has their own best pace, but if you change ac­com­mo­da­tions ev­ery other day, you’re go­ing to be ex­hausted.

Keep your phone work­ing: Turn off your work email and no­ti­fi­ca­tions, but keep your in­ter­net ac­cess. Google Maps, Google Trans­late, travel book­ing sites, plus mes­sen­ger apps to keep in touch with peo­ple at home will be at your fin­ger­tips. If you have Sprint, T-mo­bile, or Google Fi, your phone will prob­a­bly work out­side the U.S. much as it does at home. AT&T and Ver­i­zon may not, and can be ex­pen­sive to use out­side the U.S. For tips to make the tran­si­tion seam­less, check out the guide to us­ing your phone over­seas at Wire­cut­ter.

In­stall the right apps: Google Maps and Trans­late are ob­vi­ous ones.

Both also largely work off­line, if you down­load cer­tain con­tent ahead of time. Book­ing apps like Book­ing, Or­b­itz, Hostel­world and so on are handy. One very use­ful ser­vice is Rome2rio, which can help you get vir­tu­ally any­where, by bus ferry, train or air­plane.

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