We all know that vacations are meant to be relaxing, but what happens when you simply can’t unwind? Take a deep breath: Every traveler experiences some version of this anxiety, and there are plenty of ways to avoid the jitters before they even begin. Put down the work phone, stop reorganizing the itinerary, and let this guide show you how to make any getaway a chilled-out delight.

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Before You Go: Planning Is (Sometimes) a Traveler’s Best Friend

Let’s be honest: Planning is often stressful. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time tourist, the process of piecing together a vacation can seem like an uphill battle against the perils of cost, time and location.

The trick here is to utilize planning tools that calm your nerves rather than excite them. Instead of scouring the internet for every last deal, browse websites that do the work for you. Airfare Watchdog, Trip Advisor and Kayak, for instance, are fantastic one-stop options for tracking down deals and reviews. Similarly, sites like American Express can help you keep details such as travel insurance and hotel reservations in one place. That’s an especially good choice for busy tourists; you’ll only have to contend with one set of confirmations, so nothing threatens to get lost in the shuffle.

On the Way: It’s Time to Cut the Cord

Repeat this mantra: The journey is just as important as the destination. Though it’s tempting to use every available minute of travel time to catch up on emails or fine-tune a presentation, there’s nothing more damaging to the relaxation process than refusing to let go of at-home obligations. Post-planning stress is equally problematic; reviewing travel documents and tweaking itineraries more than once during the trip does little but induce unnecessary anxiety. Take care of the essential tasks before you head out, there are lots of travel apps to do that and then use the extra time to unwind on the plane or train. Trust us: The world won’t end if you lose yourself in a good magazine.

While You’re There: Frame of Mind Means Everything

Despite what most travel advertisements would have you believe, relaxation doesn’t automatically happen the minute you set foot on solid ground. Getaways are just as much about mindset as they are location, and keeping your head in the right space is the best way to make sure that you’re getting the most out of the trip.

The easiest way to do this is to learn the art of managing your expectations. If you go into a vacation anticipating nothing but a world of perfection, you’ll be sorely disappointed when a must-see attraction happens to be closed. Get excited for the possibilities, but don’t allow yourself to be crushed if the specifics don’t unfold as planned. Going with the flow is always the name of the game.

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