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Holiday travel is just around the corner and one of the more frustrating parts of the season. Check out these Seven Sanity-Saving Holiday Travel Tips before the season arrives!
Holiday travel is not for the faint of heart. The holidays are stressful enough when you’re staying put but then you add traffic, crowds, luggage, and airport security to the mix. It’s not hard to imagine that any reasonably sane person can start to feel a little frayed.
The best way to keep your cool and survive all that stress is to have a game plan. Lucky for you I have Seven Sanity-Saving Holiday Travel Tips to help you prepare for your holiday travels.
Start out by making a checklist a few weeks before departure on everything you need. You’ll be more clear-minded starting early and you’ll have plenty of time to add items to the list as you remember them.
Make sure you include items like travel documents, reservation confirmations, important phone numbers, chargers, and prescriptions in their original bottles.
I also like to keep an envelope or folder that I take with me on my trip. I add all my important travel paperwork and documents to it to keep them together. Yes, you can store that info on your phone but I like to have hard copies just in case I lose my phone, it dies, or some sort of
Speaking of phones, go ahead and figure out which apps you may need for your trip. Download them ahead of time so they’re available when you need them.
Make Pet Sitter Arrangements Way Ahead of Time
If you haven’t done this already then do it now. This is a busy time of year for pet sitters. You want to make sure to reserve one as soon as your travel arrangements are finalized. It can be quite stressful trying to find someone to watch your fur babies at the last minute.
Reduce Airport Stress
Flying can be stressful any time of year and the holidays just increase those chances. If it’s in your budget and you’re a frequent flyer, consider TSA Pre-Check or Global Entry. It will help you get through airport security much faster.
Reserve onsite or offsite airport parking ahead of time. Avoid peak travel times. Arrive early for your flights. Check-in for your flights online and print your boarding pass at home. Check your bags curbside. These are all ways to lessen your air travel stress.
Minimize Stress on the Road
Several years ago Derek and I chose to drive home from South Florida back to North Carolina on New Year’s Day. Let me just say that it was so bad that I swore if I couldn’t afford to fly during the holidays I wouldn’t be traveling at all. Yes, that’s right I will take airport stress over road trip stress any day,
Now if your destination is only a few hours away over our twelve, I totally get it. It’s much more economical plus you don’t have to deal with the travel restrictions of what you can and can’t bring with you. There are a few things you can do to make your road trip a little less stressful.
Consider traveling overnight. If the goal of your trip is to get from Point A to Point B, leave in the middle of the night and bypass the crazy holiday traffic. At the very least get up extra early, you’ll be grateful for any extra time on the road that doesn’t involve traffic.
Pack food and drinks to reduce your stops. You can also lessen stops by incorporating your gas fill-ups, bathroom breaks, and meal breaks into one
Know your route ahead of time and any alternate routes in case you get stuck in traffic. Make sure to get your car checked out and have roadside assistance in your phone contacts.
Get on the road faster by filling up the night before you leave. If you have a garage, go ahead and load the car up the night before too. We have done this before and it saves so much time! No garage? Make sure all your luggage is ready at the front door before you go to bed. This way the loading process will go quicker.
Ship Gifts to Your Destination
Figuring out gifts and how to get them to where they’re supposed to be is a big part of holiday stress especially when you’re traveling. Whatever you do, don’t try to bring them on the airplane. You can’t wrap them ahead of time and they’re added luggage.
You can ship them with standard carriers. Order the gifts online and have them sent to your destination (big money saver if you qualify for free shipping!). Better yet, just do gift cards or gift a trip or experience! That is way less stress!
If you’re concerned about bringing gifts home, look into the cost of an extra checked bag. Something else to consider!
Know Which Food Items Get Past Airport Security
Is your famous pumpkin pie on the holiday menu? Good news! Most food items do get past airport security. It’s the liquids that have to follow the 3.4 ounces restriction. You also need to know which food items are considered liquids. Creamy cheese, hummus, peanut butter, jams, and jellies all fall into that category.
Alcohol is allowed as long as it is not over 3.4 ounces and no more than 140 proof. The same goes for checked baggage, too.
If you have food items that need to be chilled, you can bring ice packs as long as they’re solid. If they turn to liquid then they will be confiscated. Make sure it’s the very last thing you pack before heading to the airport.
This is all for domestic travel. If you’re flying with food internationally, look into what is allowed and not allowed. Many items are not and will be confiscated on arrival.
Keep Your Cool
Know and accept the possibility of things going awry. It’s the holidays. Luggage will get lost, flights will get delayed, and traffic jams will happen. It’s all part of traveling and particularly this time of year.
Look into meditation apps and breathing techniques to help you keep calm. Bring earplugs to help you zone the crazy out. Keep some herbal tea bags on hand, watch your caffeine intake, and make sure you have snacks in case your blood sugar drops and you start to feel hangry.
Most of all, be kind to those around you and especially the people in customer service. They are stressed out too, probably more so. They deal with this every day which will make your few minutes or hours of inconvenience quite small. Your kindness during these situations will help them do their job a lot faster and make them more willing to provide you with a positive outcome.
It’s not always easy surviving holiday travel but with these Seven Sanity-Saving Holiday Travel Tips you will be way ahead of the game!
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