If you’re taking a journey over the river and through the woods this holiday season, you’ll be facing some of the most crowded airports and roads ever. Unfortunately, the highways share little resemblance to the peaceful journey depicted in the classic holiday song, but there are some steps you can take to make your holiday travel experience as stress-free as possible.
Pad Your Time Estimates
You can bet that if a trip should take two hours, it’s likely to take you four during the busiest travel days of the season. If you’re traveling by air, make sure you have adequate time to get from arrival to departure gates for connecting flights. Check the weather before heading out by car – not just for your local area, but for the whole journey, so that you can plan appropriately if you’ll be encountering winter weather.
When you know that you have more than enough time including unexpected delays, you’ll be less likely to feel rushed and stressed out about potentially missing a flight or arriving late.
Keep Your Home Safe While You’re Away
If you’re traveling to visit family or friends for several days, your home will be left unattended. Make arrangements to have your mail held while you’re gone, and hire a pet sitter or house sitter to care for your pets, unless Fido will be joining you, of course. Set your holiday lights on a timer so that it’s not obvious to anyone not in the know that you’re out of town, and take care to properly lock up doors and windows, including your garage doors.
Unfortunately, robberies and theft don’t cease just because it’s the holiday season. In fact, some crimes are more likely to happen around the holidays, such as thefts of packages left by delivery drivers on porches and in mailboxes. Taking some extra steps to keep your home safe will be well worth the peace of mind.
Traveling during the holidays often means packing up not only your clothes and personal items, but also any gifts that you plan to give to the family and friends you’ll be visiting. It’s hard enough to fit everything that you need for a few days or a week into your luggage, let alone a variety of extra gifts.
There are some ways to avoid paying exorbitant charges for overweight luggage and extra bags. Consider mailing gifts to your destination in advance so that you don’t have to worry about dragging several large suitcases through the airport or risking lost luggage. Start packing early and strategically, packing light and avoiding the rush of stuffing last-minute items into your already over-packed bags.
Let Go of Unrealistic Expectations
Attachment to particular outcomes will only increase your stress and anxiety when things inevitably don’t go quite as planned. Think of holiday travel as part of the adventure and commit to rolling with the punches. Stuck in the airport due to a flight delay? Find something fun and exciting to do that evening. Go out and explore the town with your family.
Take things in stride and appreciate the joy that can be found in the unexpected. Unexpected delays can be blessings in disguise, giving you the opportunity to have an incredible experience with your family that you would otherwise have missed.
Holiday travel can be excruciating, or it can be a lot of fun. When you head into your next holiday travel adventure expecting the unexpected and looking forward to seeing what crazy things hinder your perfectly laid plans, you’ll be better able to laugh off the obstacles you face along the way.
Image via Pixabay by Holgi