Traveling for the Holidays

The holiday season can be stressful by itself but throw in travel and a new set of anxiety will surface.  You say why bother? The joy and memories of family during this time of year is worth the inconveniences; and if it includes children, the experience is triple the euphoria.  So here are some ways to reduce your travel stress during the holiday season.

  1. Book EARLY – now is the time to get your airline ticket if you haven’t already. Yes, the prices are increased but you can still get the 21 days in advance price.  Wait until next week and it will go up $50-100.
  2. Plan AHEAD – organize your daily schedule during your vacation. Plan activities for the days you are vacationing or with family but remember to stay flexible and don’t over plan the day; leave time to relax.
  3. Driving
    1. Have your automobile serviced and checked out before you get on the highway; oil change, wipers, lights, etc.
    2. Pack the emergency equipment in your car according to the climate: extra blankets, food, flashlight, water, multipurpose utility kit, etc.
    3. Know your destination route or an alternative route; GPS is your friend. It also will give nearby gas stations and food availability.
  4. Airline Travel
    1. Connecting flights – plan 1.5-2 hours between flights during this time for weather delays. And if you are traveling with children, handicap or disabled plan even more time between flights.
    2. Plan for parking at the airport – many of the overnight parking areas will be filled and you will need time to look for a park or choose an alternate location.
    3. Plan for long lines in security – frequent fliers this is the time to use your Precheck and priority status.  Many people traveling during the holiday season only fly once or twice a year and unfamiliar with security rules [changing weekly]. Be patience and courtesy.
    4. Check and re-check the schedule.
    5. Stay flexible for delays: weather, mechanical, crew working hours.
    6. Keep something to read or activity for yourself, children and family members handy.
    7. Avoid juggling multiple items in the airport; send a little extra and check your bag. Don’t wrap the presents because TSA will need to see them and unwrap your artistic work. Don’t put keys, medicines, lithium batteries, computers, tablets, or anything you can’t part with in your checked luggage.
  5. Packing – pack for the season and environment. Check the weather of your destination with  It will give days to monthly focus of the average temperatures. Don’t over pack; include clothing for the day and your events, and 1-2 extra outfits. Remember, you can wash your clothes, or have it laundered.
  6. Maintain healthy practices
    1. Stay hydrated – drink water. The compressed airplane and heated rooms will dry you out. Hydration will help prevent jet lag and blood clots.
    2. Boost your immune system by getting enough sleep [no, do not stay up the night before travel] at lease 7-8 hours per night, eat well, consider vitamins and zinc for viral exposure.
    3. Wash your hands frequently or use anti-bacterial hand sanitizer when touching public objects [door knobs, hand rails, remotes, etc.].
    4. Use anti-bacterial wipes for surfaces commonly touched: seat arms, tray table, hotel phone, TV remotes, rental cars, etc.
  7. Return home a day extra before you return to work or your normal daily routine for your body to rest.
  8. Take a deep BREATH, RELAX, and ENJOY