12 Expert Strategies for Conquering Travel in 2024

I adjust my headphones a little louder as I stride into any airport, train station or ferry port. I have even created a Spotify list for my train journeys and flying! I walk compassionately past the crying couples, smile at the cheeky kids with their harried parents and feel a deep pang of sympathy for the stressed, angry or fighting travellers. I have loved travel for at least five decades (I have to take a breath as I type that)!! In that time, I have flown over 1500 times, travelled to 87 countries (of which I have lived in five) and spent time in 200 large cities and hiked on every continent but the travel norms have changed. To me, contemporary travel feels more hurried, more stressful, and sadly a ruder experience.

a group of people on stairs with a building in the background

It is certainly more crowded. There also seem to be way more people everywhere. According to the Transportation Security Administration, 2023 was also the busiest year for air travel ever in the USA and this reality is repeated across the globe. Simultaneously, it feels like there are fewer staff and those staff seem to be even more overworked, underpaid and dispirited than they were prior to 2020. The skies seem less friendly.

I am determined to maintain my love of travel and to do all I can to reduce stress. Hence, my aforementioned playlist! Here are 12 tips for navigating the evolving landscape of modern travel:

1. Proactively Plan

Once upon a time, travel seemed to be hopping on a train with a backpack and seeing which town you would end up in. This spontaneous world has become much more structured. Preparing beforehand is even more key than ever before. Preparation and awareness of possible obstacles allow me to lessen the blow of unforeseen setbacks. B

y taking the time to prepare ahead, we may have a greater say over their trips, from reserving flights and hotels to arranging for transport and activities. Plus, I usually save money, get the hotel I want, and avoid the stress of last-minute bookings.

In order to get the most out of your holiday or business travel and avoid any unnecessary hassle, it is crucial to plan it out in detail before you go.

2. Prioritise Reliability over Price

Monitoring sites, such as Flightaware.com show average cancellations per day. I take note of them. I avoid airlines that have become known for their delays: Air Canada, Jetstar in Australia, EasyJet in the UK, American, Spirit, and United in the USA. They are way too unreliable. Cancellations and delays appear to be higher. I also avoid London Heathrow, Sydney, Australia, and Berlin airport in Germany.

3. Travel ahead

The days of flying in the morning for an afternoon or evening event, wedding, or meeting are long gone. Delays and cancellations mean relying on same-day arrival are nixed. Nearly 22% of U.S. flights have been delayed in 2023

Opting for early morning flights is now an essential as it can significantly reduce travel stress, especially when departing from airports prone to flight delays or cancellations. Selecting early flights minimizes the risk of disruptions as delays tend to escalate later in the day. By prioritising early departures, I can mitigate the chances of a journey being interrupted.

4. Maximise Transfer Times

About a third of my flights were delayed and this was after choosing carefully. Tight transfers are not worth the risk. I now insist on a non-same airline transfer of 24 hours. I use the time to rest or explore a stopover/transit city, or work from a hotel room or cafe. This strategy reduces travel stress and provides opportunities to explore stopover cities while enhancing productivity during layovers.

5. Be Prepared

Keep essential documents readily accessible, such as passports and tickets, and always have digital copies stored securely for easy retrieval. There is nothing worse than scrambling for a document under stress.

a group of people walking down a narrow street

Being prepared ensures smooth transitions and quick access to information when needed, minimizing stress and enhancing the travel experience. I rely on a planning app called TripIt and use Kayak Trips as a backup to organise travel details efficiently. There is also TripCase. These apps compile all your travel information into a comprehensive itinerary, generated from confirmation emails I provide.

I encourage people to watch what is happening ahead if you’re at the airport or train station. If everyone in front of you is being asked for their ID, then chances are, you will be too. It drives me crazy when someone in front of me has to search for their documents. And watch for scammers, tricksters and fraudsters but be wary not continually suspicious. There are way more honest people in the world than charlatans!

6. Monitor flights and weather carefully

It amazes me that people have no clue that there may be a weather issue or a strike affecting their travel until they arrive at their departure point. I subscribe to every airline and flight monitoring site and app possible including the aforementioned Tripit and another app called Flightly, but I trust none of them! Sometimes they are incredibly fast at reporting an issue. Other times, they will be completely misinformed On two occasions last year, my airline informed me they had cancelled my flights. Both the airport and flight monitoring app assured me the plane was still flying – on time!

7. Check-In Early

I check in online as soon as I can. This reduces the chance I will be bumped. I don’t rush to the airport, however. I leave in good time, but minimise my time there. If I can get more sightseeing or rest time because a flight is late, I take it.”

7. Carry Less

You can ease the emotional and physical strain of travel by bringing only the essentials. Big, bulky luggage and heavy suitcases are so last century! Minimalist packing has allowed me to pare down their stuff to the essentials and simplify journeys. Not only does this make getting around airports and other transportation hubs easier, but it also puts less physical pressure on your body.

Follow the golden rule: “Less is more” while packing for your trip. It will improve your experience and save you worry. Take no valuables and remember most places have stores.

8. Be Rude to No One

Watching grown adults screaming at, belittling or berating airline or rail staff is not an impressive sight. It’s not the staff member’s fault you got stuck in traffic or got lost getting to your gate or platform or booked too tight a connection or packed valuable medicines in a bag that’s now lost.

10 Carry Supplies

I carry four protein bars with me at all times, along with medicine, spare face masks, band-aids, pens, a water bottle, a COVID test kit and a change of clothes. If I don’t have time for food in a connection, the airline runs out of food (yes, literally), or we are delayed on the ground for a while.

11. Be Flexible

a man smiling at camera

Flexibility is paramount in today’s world of travel, where disruptions can occur at a moment’s notice.

While planning your journey, consider prioritising flexibility in your arrangements.

Having backup plans and alternative options can provide peace of mind and minimize my stress if original plans are derailed. By embracing flexibility, I empower myself to navigate the challenges of modern air travel with ease and resilience.

Of course, carry adequate travel insurance.

12 Prioritise Self Care

a body of water with trees and a stone wall

It’s essential to prioritise self-care and well-being during journeys. Long hours spent in transit can take a toll on both physical and mental health, so I make it a priority to carve out moments of relaxation and rejuvenation amidst the hustle and bustle.

t sounds out there but practising deep breathing or tapping exercises helps. I seek to find ways to nurture myself throughout the journey. I now build in a complete day off every seven days with no travel, no agenda and a sleep-in. Walks during layovers are essential. By prioritising self-care, I believe I’m better equipped to handle any challenges that may arise and to arrive at my destination feeling refreshed and ready for adventure

a man taking a selfie in front of a building

As I adjust my headphone volume, I seek to adjust myself to the evolving landscape of travel and embrace each journey with a positive mindset and adaptability. While the bustling crowds and occasional disruptions may test my patience, I aim to remain as calm and flexible as possible. By approaching travel with a positive attitude and a willingness to adapt, we can enjoy the adventure while minimizing stress and frustration along the way.

Let’s do this together for the rest of 2024? Bon Voyage!


  1. I found myself saying “Yes!” to so many points you made as I practise many of them. Some are so ingrained I didn’t even realize they weren’t common practice.

    On a recent trip from Canada’s west coast to Chile & Argentina I picked a routing that kept me away from connecting through northeastern North America cities. When snowstorms blanketed the northeast on my flying day(s) I felt pleased with my planning of YVR to MIA to SCL.

    You created a very good list!

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