Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Travel
The numbers don’t lie — it’s one of the busiest travel times of the year. In fact, more than 107 million people will be traveling by plane, train or automobile from December 23 through January 1. Although the holiday season is meant to be bright and cheery, it can be hard to keep your cool as you’re surrounded by grumpy children (and adults), waiting in long lines, dealing with traffic and flight delays – well, you get the picture.
Check out these simple, foolproof tips to make holiday travel a little less stressful.
Make a List, Check it Twice
Packing can be a daunting task. You don’t want to forget anything, but you also don’t want to over pack. Making a list will help you to pack just the essentials and will ensure that you don’t forget something important (chargers, back-up batteries for gadgets, medications, toiletries, underwear, travel documents and ID cards.)
Print Important Travel Details
A smart thing to do, especially if you’re traveling to an unfamiliar location or to a place with not-so-great Wi-Fi, is to print out all pertinent details for your trip. Important contact information, hotel confirmations, boarding passes and maps or directions to locations are all good to keep handy in case your phone dies or Wi-Fi is unavailable.
If you’re traveling by plane, remember to think about security screening while packing. It’s probably best to check your luggage if you’ve packed a lot of gifts in your suitcase. Remember, the maximum dimensions are 9 inches x 14 inches x 22 inches for domestic carry-on luggage, including handles and wheels. Keep in mind the rules for carrying on liquids — you might want to leave the snow globe behind.
Alert Your Bank
Avoid getting held up while trying to make a purchase or dealing with the potential embarrassment of not being able to pay for something. By letting your bank know where you’re traveling to and the dates of your trip, you can avoid unnecessary blocks or fraud alerts on your credit or debit card. A quick phone call before you leave will save you time later on!
While you should always plan to arrive to the airport about two hours before your flight departs, depending on the airport you’re traveling from, you may want to leave even earlier. The traffic getting to a large airport like LAX or JFK can be crazy during the busy holiday season. Give yourself ample time and you’ll feel less stressed.
If you’re driving to your destination, you can expect to see traffic increase in the late afternoons and early evening. If possible, avoid those times and try leaving early morning or right after the morning rush hour.
If you’re a frequent flyer, snagging a T.S.A. Pre-Check membership can save you lots of time. For $85, you can speed through security without removing your shoes, belt, jackets or laptop from your carry on.
It’s easy to be tempted to grab that glass of wine at the airport or have a cocktail during a long flight, but remember to drink enough water as well! High elevations, especially on long flights, can cause dehydration, consequently causing headaches, sleepiness or dizziness. Have a glass of water with each alcoholic drink, or skip the alcohol entirely. Pro tip – stay hydrated while boosting your immune system with Vitamin C supplements like Emergen-C!
Pack a Snack
This one is pretty self-explanatory. Avoid mediocre, overpriced airport food by packing some quick snacks like a Clif Bar or trail mix. Beverages and munchies are also great to have on a long car ride. You’ll save money and you won’t be hangry. It’s a win-win situation.
Road tripping to your destination? Make a great playlist that will keep you stress-free during the drive. Flying with a few noisy passengers? Don’t forget your earplugs or headphones to drown out any unwanted racket. Lastly, remember how great it will be once you’ve made it to where you’re going. A few deep breaths and happy thoughts go a long way.