The holidays are a wonderful time to be with family and relax during a break from work, but they can also be the most stressful time of the year. Between shopping for gifts and traveling, many of us need a second holiday after the holidays just to get a break!
The good news is, there are easy ways to reduce your stress levels while traveling. The key is to plan well in advance and do some research ahead of time. Here are some of the best tips for traveling during the holidays.
Car trips with the family can be fun, but they can turn stressful at a moment’s notice. If possible, pack all the big bags and suitcases in the trunk and leave the seats and footwells nice and roomy for travelers. If there will be kids in the backseat, have them leave their coats and hats off before they get buckled in to avoid overheating and discomfort, and hang small bags over the backs of the front seats that contain coloring books and crayons, snacks, books, and electronic devices so they can entertain themselves. If you´ll be stopping to grab some food on the trip and will be eating in the car to save time, consider giving the kiddos small plastic baskets (these can be found at your local dollar store) that will hold their food and drink. This will prevent spills and hot laps during the ride.
Before you take off, have the car checked for fluids, the tires filled with air, and make sure you have everything necessary for changing a tire in the trunk (or invest in AAA, which can save you time, money, and a lot of hassle). Also place a bag with blankets, bottles of water, road flares, and anything else you might need in an emergency and make sure your cell phone is fully charged. You might consider bringing along a car charger, as well.
Crowded airports at the holidays can be overwhelming, especially if you're traveling with little ones. If you have a large family, dress all the kids in the same color so they will be easy to spot in a crowd. Go over the rules for traveling so everyone is on the same page and pick a meeting point in the airport if you get separated. Pack snacks and entertainment in a small bag for each person to carry on and, if possible, only pack what you can carry onto the plane. Checking bags
can be a hassle and will add onto your travel fees, and losing luggage can be a nightmare when you are in a different city. Pack up any holiday gifts and ship them to your destination a few days before you leave so you won't have to bring them along. Also, check for flights leaving the actual day of the holiday to avoid big crowds and delays. The day before Thanksgiving is one of the biggest traveling
days of the year, so consider leaving very early on Thanksgiving day if possible.
It might also be helpful to pack earplugs for everyone; this can help you drown out all the noise on crowded planes, which can add to the stress. Don’t forget to grab something to eat before you board the plane; hunger quickly leads to meltdowns and bad tempers, in both kids and adults.
Regardless of which mode of transportation you elect to use for your vacation, don’t forget to take precautions at home
. You’ve no doubt been out of town at some point in your life and wondered if you remembered to lock the door or close the garage door. Make sure to do a runthrough of your house before you leave so you can have peace of mind while you’re away. This can be a major reliever of stress in itself.