Whether you’re jet-setting off for a beach holiday in the Caribbean or taking a much-needed city break in Europe, there’s a lot to look forward to with any holiday.

But with all this excitement also comes a lot of unforeseen stress that can put a downer on the occasion.

To help maximise your chances of a stress-free holiday, the team at Reassured spoke with numerous Brits who’ve been on holiday over the last year to find out what their biggest holiday stressors were.

We then spoke with two travel experts to find out how you can put these worries to the back of your mind and focus on enjoying your vacation.

This is what our research discovered…

What do Brits worry about the most when they go on holiday?

When it comes to holiday stressors that affect Brits the most, those we spoke with highlighted six key factors that get them frazzled on vacation. These included:

  1. Getting sick on their holiday
  2. Potential flight cancellations or missing connecting flights
  3. Losing their belongings while away
  4. Packing everything they need
  5. General travelling to their destination nerves
  6. Getting lost on holiday

No doubt you can relate to being affected by some or all of these factors, but the good news is that there’s plenty you can do to negate their effects.

We spoke with travel experts Martin Jones, CEO of SkyParkSecure, and Graeme Tolchard, of Hays Travel, for their top tips on reducing holiday stress.

1. Getting sick on holiday

Perhaps the biggest concern for anyone going away, there are few things worse than getting ill while you’re on your holidays.

Thankfully, both Graeme and Martin point out several things you can do to reduce the odds of this happening.

Choose the right restaurants

Firstly, it’s sensible to find out where the locals tend to go for food and avoid any restaurants with a low star rating.

Martin points out that most of us are unlikely to ever go back to a restaurant or place that gave us stomach-ache, so, if you spot a café or food stand with huge queues outside, then it’s likely a good sign of food quality.

Alongside keeping an eye out for the best restaurants, our experts also suggest checking with your travel guide or hotel staff if the local water is safe to drink.

This is particularly important in countries lacking effective water filtration. So, if the freshwater isn’t safe, stick to bottled water instead.

Vaccines & medication

Finally, if you are going away to a country that’s home to potential tropical diseases, then speak to your GP before you leave about getting the appropriate vaccines and any over-the-counter medication that might help alleviate symptoms if you do contract any illnesses.

2. Missed or cancelled flights

When it comes to dealing with cancelled or missed flights, both of our experts agree that there is little you can do if the airline isn’t at fault or if you missed your flight due to delays caused by yourself.

However, you should always remember that, if your flight is cancelled, you’re entitled to compensation or a free rebooking to get you to your destination. So, be sure to check your passenger rights on what to do in this situation.

As for delayed flights, these too could certainly see you compensated for any delays and even placed in free accommodation if there are no other flights or travel options on that day that could help you finish your journey.

Check ahead for strikes

Finally, given the current strike climate, Martin suggests checking on the days leading up to your flight if there are any intended strikes taking place. If there are, you may be able to get your flight rebooked to a non-strike day or refunded entirely.

3. Lost belongings

Though while sometimes an unavoidable part of going on holiday, it’s never a fun experience if you lose your belongings when going away, especially if they contain important documents.

For this reason, Martin recommends keeping all of your important items in your carry-on bag when boarding the flight. That way, if your hold luggage is lost, you still have all your travel documents and money on your person.

Air tag your bag or use luggage tags

As for locating lost travel luggage, you can save time finding it by placing an air tag in your case. This will let you quickly track its location and inform airport staff about where in the airport it might be.

And if this is not possible, then leaving a note inside your case with your contact info will ensure the airport staff can get in touch with you when it is located.

But what about if you lose important documents, such as your passport?

Well, our experts suggest making a note of the nearest local embassy in your country of travel and their contact number, allowing you to contact them immediately if you need an emergency passport.

Keep your phone, money and passport in a secure pocket or wallet

Lastly, if you want to avoid losing your phone and money, it’s a good idea to keep these in an inside pocket where only you can access them.

On top of this, leaving spare money in your hotel room or dividing it between those you’re travelling with will ensure you still have some cash if you accidentally misplace your wallet.

4. Packing properly

Probably the second most important thing to do besides booking your flights and accommodation, for some of us, packing can be a real pain.

Not only do you need to stay within the luggage weight limit, but you need to be sure you have enough clothing and toiletries to last the entire trip.

Fortunately, there are ways around this. For example, both of our experts recommend creating a travel list of all the items you might need.

This lets you tick items off as you pack and lets you know what you need to buy before you leave.

Plan your outfits in advance

Martin also suggests making this list even more detailed by planning what clothes you’re taking by what outfits you’ll be wearing on a daily basis, stopping you from packing any more clothes than you need and ensuring you only bring one or two spare changes of clothes if you have the room.

Use packing cubes to save space

As for making packing easier, there’s nothing more helpful than making use of packing cubes. These divide your suitcase into different areas, letting you separate clothes, toiletries, and other belongings so you don’t need to dig around for them when unpacking.

And if you really want to save space, you can roll your clothes instead of folding them, which also has the added bonus of minimising their chance of being creased during travel.

Lastly, if you really want to save as much space as possible, our experts suggest wearing your heaviest clothes as you travel, even if you’re going to a hot destination - after all, you can always take them off once you’ve boarded the plane.

5. Travel nerves

Even though travelling to somewhere new or familiar should be an exciting time, it’s hard not to be at least a little bit nervous that something might go wrong.

But as Graeme and Martin point out, not only is this normal but there are also ways to overcome this sensation.

Use calming essential oils

One unique trick you can try is to make use of a diffuser with essential oils just before you leave, once you arrive, or even on the plane. Lavender and chamomile are particularly effective at helping to calm nerves as well as smelling delightful.

But besides diffusers, we’d also recommend spending your time before or between longer flights in a local flight lounge. While you do have to pay, these lounges are designed to help you relax, coming with free Wi-Fi, complimentary drinks, and sometimes even showers - and there’s nothing quite like having a shower to de-stress.

Save digital copies of important travel documents

However, if you’re more concerned that you might lose documentation, then our experts both suggest that you should back up everything digitally before you leave.

That way, if the worst should happen, you still have access to vital documentation via the cloud.

Take out travel insurance before going on holiday

And speaking of important documentation, both us and the experts we spoke with advise travellers to invest in travel insurance, no matter where they’re travelling.

Hardly costing anything but covering you for all the worst-case scenarios, travel insurance means you don’t have to worry about things going wrong and not being able to pay for it.

Finally, if you want to make your flight as stress-free and entertaining as possible, especially long ones, it’s always a good idea to download entertainment beforehand, as airport Wi-Fi is unreliable at best.

6. Getting lost while away

Last, but not least, what should you do if you’re worried about getting lost on holiday, particularly if you don’t speak the language?

Well, don’t worry, our experts have you covered there as well.

Download local maps onto your phone

First and foremost, Martin suggests downloading offline maps of your destination, allowing you to navigate the area if your Wi-Fi or data cuts out. He even suggests planning the routes of where you want to go in advance, including what public transport you might need to get, so you can head straight to each day's destination on time.

Learn the local language

On top of this, it’s always handy to learn a few of the local phrases, especially those that are direction-based, though we’d also suggest keeping hold of business cards and writing addresses down so that you can show them to a taxi driver if you can’t find your way back to a certain location.

Finally, we’d definitely recommend downloading any apps for local public transport. These will make getting around that much simpler.

You should now have plenty of tips and tricks to try the next time you’re going away, meaning you can relax and chill out on your holiday without a care in the world.

For further comfort, it might be worth speaking to the Reassured team about taking out life insurance which could provide additional protection whilst you and your family are away.

That way should the worst happen to you, your family will receive the financial support they need.


Reassured interviewed a small research group of 40 people on the most common stress factors they have experienced in the past 12 months while travelling.

Please note, the data displayed in this article is correct at the point of publication 11/07/23

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