Often, when I talk to people about travel, the word ‘stress’ comes up. It turns out, people are looking for stress-free travel. And can you blame them?! I fly about 200,000 miles every year and – fortunately – most of it is relatively stress-free. How? Because of four practical ideas and (most importantly) a key mindset. So, here’s how to experience stress-free travel.

A stress free trip over the Caribbean Sea

Traveling should always be this stress-free!

1. Fly in the morning

Most flight delays occur later in the day and into the evening. For the most part, the first flights of the day go on time because the planes have arrived at their destinations. Now, there are certainly times when crews get in late the night before and, as a result, a departure time gets pushed back, but for the most part, delays are later in the day. What does that mean? If you’re a morning person, you’re rewarded with fewer delays

A set of Bose noise cancelling headphones help with stress free travel.

Noise-canceling headphones? They’re a definite “must-have” for stress-free travel!

2. Noise Canceling Headphones

Sure, they’re an investment. But they’re completely worth it. I really love my QuietComfort 20i’s from Bose. They’re not quite as good as the ones that go over your ears (QuietComfort 25’s), but they fold down to nothing, which means they take up almost no space in my carry-on bag.

3. Travel with Food

The food that’s available in airports and on airplanes is undoubtedly expensive. I always have some of my own snacks just in case. That said, thanks to the next tip, I can usually scrounge up some tasty free food when I’m traveling with Delta (my main airline of choice)

4. Stay loyal to one airline

This is a longer-term strategy, but nonetheless, it’s a solid one. By staying committed to one airline, you’re able to more quickly climb the loyalty ladder. This means you’ll earn status, which means you can gain access to lounges and possibly even upgrades. Why does that matter? First off, it’s access to better (and free) food. But there are other benefits, too. For example, dedicated phone lines when things go wrong and priority during periods of time the airlines call “Irregular Operations.”

Bonus…The ultimate insider secret for stress-free travel: Expect the unexpected

This is the key. I find that the number one reason I experience stress-free travel is that I have grown to expect the unexpected. For example, the other day, I was flying from Denver to the East Coast and I received a text message from Delta letting me know the flight would be delayed. No big deal, I reached out and they rebooked me. It meant I’d miss a meeting, but what could I do? Nothing! I wasn’t going to fly the plane myself. Once I was rebooked, I got in touch with the other people.

What Else?

What are your tips for traveling stress-free? Please leave your ideas in the comments!