Monday, April 7, 2014

Reduce Stress When Traveling

A while back I wrote some tips on preparing for motorcycle travel.  It’s always a good idea to be prepared as it reduces stress while on the road. Yet, despite your best efforts, things happen. With that in mind, I’m going to update the suggestions with kernels of wisdom I’ve accumulated along the way. Interested? Read on.

Are you planning to visit tourist attractions? Make sure to check their websites for updates. We once went out of our way to visit the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles, only to find the museum was closed that Mondays. There wasn’t much for us to see walking the grounds.  Another example would be last year’s government shutdown. If your vacation fell during this time and you had any national park on your list you were out of luck. A list of alternative touring destinations in the area could keep all those traveling with you from become overly disappointed.

While we’re speaking of destinations, do you use a GPS unit? Even if you don’t have a specific unit, and use a smart phone, double check the route options on the device or app. A few years ago, I spent months creating the ideal route to tour the lighthouses in Maine. All of the lighthouses on my route were destinations reachable by motorcycle or car. Yet, we found ourselves arriving at the ferry. I was not a happy camper, and my stress levels started to climb when my husband started pointing out that motorcycles didn’t have pontoons. When it happened a second time,  it was then I realized that I hadn’t check the option “avoid ferries”. 

We often travel with another couple. Once we arrive at a destination, depending on the venue, we sometimes like to split up. One example of this was last year’s visit to the largest Cabela’s in the country. With a store that big and so much to see, it’s understandable that we each wanted to explore. This is when handheld walkie-talkies come in handy. We’ve used them at national parks and at motorcycle events such as Sturgis where there are multitudes of people and losing sight of each other happens easily.

Do you have new riding gear? This might sound silly, but have you practiced putting it on? Last year while visiting Nova Scotia, the weather began to look a bit threatening. We stopped to put on our rain gear. I had mine on in a flash.  I was already back on the motorcycle when I found my husband struggling with the gift I had given him at Christmas. Check this video out to understand more fully. Please pardon my “French” and thank you honey for letting me post this. (Can you hear my stress?)

Do you need corrective lenses? I recently went from wearing contact lenses full time to wearing my glasses full time due to an eye issue. Here are some problems I’ve encountered with both. On one fall ride, despite sunglasses and a face shield, my left eye began to itch. I wanted to take out the lens, but I had no other solution by which to see where I was going. The next morning my eye was redder than an overripe tomato.  A scratched cornea was the result of leaving the lens in.  After the switch to full time eyeglasses, the first trip out, I spent hours in agony as the pressure of the helmet pushing on them caused pain behind the ears. It was then I remembered my spare glasses in the saddlebag which I had put there after the cornea episode. These are made of a softer plastic and give under the pressure of the helmet, easing the pain. Lesson; always travel with your spare eye glasses.

Last but not least, make sure your extended family knows you are leaving on a trip, and how they can reach you.  I have had at least three incidences that happened to family members while I was away. You should also know how to reach them too in case you are the one needing help. Leave instructions on what to do if you don’t return by the date you specify.

The reason we travel for leisure is to escape the stress of daily living. We don’t need adding to our stress on vacation. I’ve kept a checklist for myself that I use each time I travel. If you’d like a copy of this brochure, all you have to do is download here, and make your next trip a bit more relaxing. And if you'd also like to visit the lighthouses of Maine, download the GPS route here.


Trobairitz said...

All very good points.

I make sure to let my mom know whenever we are heading out of town and if I have pre-booked accommodations I give her names, addresses and phone numbers of hotels. So even if my cell isn't working she can call and leave a message if necessary. said...

Trobairitz, excellent suggestion!
Thanks for the contribution. said...

If any of you have ideas to reduce stress while traveling, check out this site.
During the month of April they will select some of the best tips and tweet them. Some of the tips could be yours!