This year Eid falls on a Monday, and most people are ready to take advantage of the long weekend. A quick break from the hectic and demanding everyday life is exactly what people need to rejuvenate, and travel seems to be the preferred choice of a break. Tourism in India accounts for 7.5% of the GDP and is the third largest foreign exchange earner in India. People want a change of surroundings to refresh themselves. But have they decided where to go? Where they are going to stay there? What luggage they are going to carry? What they are going to do there? What is the best way to make their bookings? Probably not.
Most people prefer to be spontaneous about their holiday. It can be seen in a Morgan Stanley report 2014 that 52% of Millennials make impulse purchases simply to pamper themselves, and this spontaneity extends to their travel plans. You wake up on a Friday and want to take off somewhere; you aren’t quite sure where exactly it is that you want to go but are definitely sure that you want to travel. Also, there is something awfully exciting about being spontaneous.
Abhinav Sinha, Chief Operating Officer, OYO, says, “The growth and adoption of digital technology has resulted in Indian consumers embarking on impulse planning or unplanned spending — in a stark contrast from the previous generation. Millennials are the key players in propagating this trend and are known to indulge in planning a holiday whenever the urge strikes or a long weekend is near. So, tickets are booked last minute, data and roaming plans – if going for an international holiday – are activated last-minute, and even packing isn’t really over until one walks out of the door. Last year, more than half the hotel-bookings on OYO were made in the 24 hours prior to check-in. Little wonder then that there is an element of stress attached to travel planning. With new-age on-demand solutions, everything from a reliable cab service to a trusted hotel experience or a convenient flight ticket-booking is now available a tap away on the smart-phone!”
The growth and maturity of digital technology has propelled Indian consumers to act on impulse planning or unplanned spending — from relationships to shopping, instant gratification is the new norm. Indian Millennials are the key players in propagating this trend and are known to binge-buy and indulge in impulsive planning.
Vodafone has created a one click option to help reduce travel stress for the Velvet Rope Generation or Gen Z who live hyper-connected lives, yet look for customized experiences only. According to Vodafone, customers travel on an average for a period of 4 days to 3 weeks. Most of them activate the roaming for these mini-vacations last minute.
However, spontaneous planning brings with it a stress that vacationers who make advance bookings are alien to. 48% of travellers agree that having a ready-made itinerary would alleviate stress and sense of adventure meets its nemesis.
Contrary to popular belief, people are not stressed about what it is they want to take with them. They are usually pretty clear about that. The true reason for their stress is that there being a time constraint, they cannot decide what to put in their hand luggage and what to check-in. 65% of travellers say that not procrastinating on packing your bags would minimize stress on travel.
Dr. Jyoti Sangle, Psychiatrist at Dr. L H Hiranandani Hospital, says “Packing for a trip is just another way of reorganization of life for a brief period of time. Also, it is a movement away from the existing comfort zone. This change and the perception of possible negative impact of the change causes stress- something unsorted being left behind or readiness for untoward incident while on the move. It is the organized, perfectionist, planners who suffer the most and may suffer from sleep disturbances, anticipatory anxiety, palpitations, etc.”
As the time to take the flight draws close, the excitement turns into trepidation, and the daunting process of packing begins. A million thoughts run through your head. Should I take my perfume bottle in my hand-luggage so that it doesn’t spill over my clothes? Or will it exceed the hundred milliliters mandate of flight security? Should I pack my books into my check-in luggage, so I don’t have to carry the weight across the airport? Or will it exceed the limit on the baggage allowance? The weighing scale catching dust at home is put to its full use as you check and double check whether the luggage exceeded the baggage allowance. Just imagine, in a rush, if the most dangerous thing in the world, your water bottle, was left in your hand bag.
A spokesperson from Mumbai International Airport stated, “At Mumbai International Airport, paramount importance is given to enhance and redefine the passenger travel experience. Deploying state-of-the-art technology to offer best-in-class services plays a vital role in ensuring a hassle-free customer experience. Introducing self check-in, self-baggage drop, self-baggage tag facilities and doing away with stamping of hand luggage are suitable examples of the airport’s commitment towards the promise of unwaveringly delivering a seamless travel experience. These services not only reduce the wait time at the airport, considerably, but also improve our operational efficiency, strengthening our position of being a smart airport.”
This suggests that often people are unaware of what they can and cannot put into their hand luggage despite the fact that it is mentioned repeatedly for the entire process of online check-in. Their stress levels are at its peak during security check-in.
People challenge the packing stress by downloading packing apps, reading blogs about travel hacks, and doing extensive research over the Internet. One-half of Millennials say they are travel hackers, meaning they know all the best sites and methods to get the best travel deals. They want to combat the frenzy they find themselves in when surrounded by a plethora of things they want to take with them on their vacation but may or may not be able to because of a lack of space in their suitcase and hand luggage.
Brands now are beginning to understand the stress of a traveller and accommodate through their services accordingly. Amit Madhan, President & Group Head – Technology & Shared Services, Thomas Cook, states, “The first age of travelling was the journey, the second was the destination and the third age brings a definitive shift- where the focus of the vacation is the traveller and his experience! Today’s protagonist traveller may be stressed about what to carry in their luggage, but one travel essential appears to be a constant– their camera, ready to document the story of their life.”
Now, that the psychology of packing has been demystified, let’s look at an easy fix. One effective solution to eliminate this profound stress generating element is not to give up your spontaneous travel plan, but put aside one suitcase with a checklist for essentials. Modern technology has exposed us to a variety of travel blogs and websites to assist with last-minute packing that can save you a great deal of stress!