Going on a trip during the holiday season may be a good idea to get away from all the chaos that the occasion brings, but it can be just as stressful as staying at home and facing the full brunt of the holiday frenzy.
For one, literally millions of others are also taking a trip back to their respective parents’ house for some good old family reunion, to a friend’s to bond with the whole gang, or to a vacation spot somewhere warmer for a much-needed recharge. For another, it means a different set of concerns that must be overcome, including details on schedules and rides to arrange, not to mention the inevitable long lines, traffic jams, obnoxious co-passengers behind and in front of you, and even the well-being of your family.
Getting to your destination might seem like an epic undertaking, but if you can prepare for a lot of eventualities while on the road or up in the sky, you would have taken most of the stress out of your holiday trip. If you would be visiting another country, you will also need to keep in mind the different ways to make your travel safe. Here are a few other suggestions for a tension-free trip this holiday season.
Don’t Forget The Gifts
Whether you will be visiting relatives or friends, bringing gifts for them is always a welcome gesture that sets the mood for the entirety of your stay with them. So make sure you have packed their presence in your baggage.
The gifts need not be expensive, lavish, or worse, humongous – just something that they will truly appreciate. But what to give them? Men, in particular, have this love affair with smoke and grilling, so why not give your BBQ-loving friends useful gifts that will help them show their special skills? They’d surely be thankful they have invited you over for Christmas.
Do Your Research
Fortunately for most of us, everything seems to be accessible via the internet today, so it’s easier to put up an itinerary and even book flights on your most preferred dates. What’s better, there are a lot of online travel sites that offer information on the cheapest dates to travel by air.
Airlines now also have online check-ins that allow you to confirm your presence for a flight and select your preferred seats. Once you get to the airport, you only need to present your check-in boarding pass and valid travel documents.
There are plenty of tips you can follow to cut your total expense both during the planning and execution phase of your vacation (i.e., before you depart and after you’ve reached your destination).
Plan Your Course of Action
Every battle starts with a lot of planning and strategizing, and that goes true with going on a holiday trip as well. It doesn’t matter whether you’re flying or driving; you would need to think of everything that may become a necessity along the way.
Things to prepare for: boredom, hunger, thirst, minor health concerns such as a headache, nausea, colds, etc. Any of these issues can get magnified a thousandfold if you’re traveling with children. Unless you can stand a chorus of “Are we there yet?!” for the duration of your trip, you would do well to come prepared.
An important part of having a good plan before setting out is making sure all those essential items that you and the family may need during your trip are easily within reach. If you’re flying, make sure to pack them in an extra carry-on bag that you can stow under your seat instead of in the overhead bin. This way, the bag is immediately retrievable when the kids start asking for food between plane meals or if somebody needs to take their medicine. Same thing if you are driving. Things that may be needed at any moment’s notice should be kept in a bag with you and not in the car’s trunk.
Hit The Road Very Early Or Very Late
If you would be traveling by car, know that during the holiday season, 91 percent of all holiday travelers are doing the same thing, which means packed roads and bumper-to-bumper traffic. So how to avoid that mass of humanity on the road? Either set out very, very early or very, very late. It might mean a lot of grumbling from sleepyheads, but at least that won’t take long as the breezier trip is sure to lull them back to sleep.
Likewise, if you’re flying, better to be early at the airport by at least three hours to beat those mile-long security checks and to avoid recreating that infamous scene in Home Alone when Kevin’s family overslept on the day of their flight. You don’t want to be forgetting and leaving behind any one of the little ones, do you?
Without question, traveling during the holidays is an exciting experience for the whole family, especially if you can prevent or at least set to a minimum the myriad of hassles that can and will crop up. Again, you must only think of Kevin’s family to get that extra motivation to make sure that the stress is minimized.
Now, if you decide that a holiday travel this year is simply not feasible and is better put off for next year, remember that staying at home carries its own set of issues that can leave you feeling tired and grumpy. If this is the case, there are expert-endorsed ways to fight holiday stress like going on hikes or simply spending time outdoors to soak in sunlight to relieve you of the seasonal blues.
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