What stresses people out the most while traveling

Hitting the road or taking off to another state or even country is fun, exhilarating… and a little stressful. Although we may not admit it, traveling isn’t always quite as perfect as our Instagram posts make it seem.

The Simplemost/Don’t Waste Your Money 2017 Travel Survey discovered just what irks you when you’re on the open road or stuck in the middle seat. The survey polled nearly 8,000 people in June and July 2017, via Simplemost and our sister site, Don’t Waste Your Money.

We asked survey respondents about what stresses them out the most while traveling. Here are the six most popular answers:

1. Costs/money

The top answer, the cost of travel, is stressful from the moment you decide you’d like take a trip until that final credit card statement comes in. More than half (52 percent) of respondents cited money as a travel stressor.

Respondents said some of the ways they try to save money while traveling include packing their own snacks, driving instead of flying and taking advantage of credit card, airline and hotel loyalty programs.

Of course, it’s also a great idea to be flexible when you are planning, so you can snag a great deal when it comes up. Cheap flight options disappear quickly!

wallet photo
Flickr | 401(K) 2013

2. Safety and security

Just over a quarter (26 percent) named safety and security as a travel stressor. It’s always important to research the place you’re thinking about visiting to ensure you’ll be in a safe area and to learn tips for staying secure in a particular place.

For an extra layer of security, register your international trip with the local U.S. Embassy or consulate by enrolling in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program before you leave.

3. The travel to and from the destination

We’ve all been there. The first day of vacation has finally arrived, but you still have to get to the airport, board the plane, fly (possibly with antsy or unruly children), collect your baggage, rent a car or figure out other ground transportation, get to your hotel, check in to your hotel, and only then does your vacation really begin!

Or, if you are traveling by car, getting the car packed can alone cause one’s cortisol to spike.

A quarter of respondents rated travel to and from the main destination as a big travel stressor, and we can see why. Luckily, there are a lot of travel tips out there to help you streamline your travel day and get to your destination ready for fun and relaxation.

suitcase photo
Getty Images | Dan Kitwood

4. Planning and preparation

Another big item that weighs on people: 22 percent of respondents said planning and preparation stress them out.

The best way to avoid this? Give yourself plenty of time for the planning portion of the trip, and you’ll not only be less stressed, but you’ll reap extra benefits.

It turns out anticipation of positive experiences (like a vacation) can add to your happiness, so turn that planning process into part of the fun!

5. Coordinating logistics while on a trip

Where will you eat lunch on Thursday, and will all members of the group like the menu? These kinds of nitty gritty logistics can be a nightmare, and 19 percent of respondents say they’re a major stressor.

There are two ways to tackle this one: Make sure you lay out these plans well ahead of time, so you don’t have to worry about making decisions on your trip; otherwise, commit to being flexible and don’t sweat it if you don’t find the perfect meal or activity every time. Sometimes those unexpected detours make for the best vacation memories.

6. My travel companions

That’s right, those Snapchat stories might not be telling the whole truth. Whether it’s down to a clash of personalities or simply a difference in travel styles, nearly 9 percent of respondents checked this box. Those who did may want to pick a new vacation buddy next time.

Chicago's O'Hare Airport Snarled In Ground Stops After Fire At FAA Building
Getty Images | Scott Olson

The Simplemost/Don’t Waste Your Money travel survey also determined people’s most and least favorite U.S. states for vacation. Learn more about those results, then book your trip to the top vote-getting state, Florida.