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Taking the Humbug Out of Holiday Travel

Travel during the holidays can often turn even the jolliest soul into a Grinch. That’s because the tight schedules, the number of travelers and increased stress levels are an ingredients for a recipe that no one wants to unwrap. Fortunately, taking a few precautionary steps – on the presumption you’ve already booked your travel arrangements – can help keep things in a merry mood throughout your trip and into the new year.

  • Investigate alternative routes. If you’re driving to your holiday destination, you have the option of varying your route. Sure, the major roads might be the most direct way to get from point A to point B, but in the rush of seasonal traffic, will they be moving when you need them to be? Ask yourself this: Would you rather spend that extra two hours overheating your engine (and your temper) while stuck in gridlock, or enjoying a scenic byway you’ve not previously traversed? Put your car’s GPS (or an app on your phone) to use to redraw your directions, and find a more pleasant path.
  • Pack light. While this is an all-around useful suggestion, it bears out even more during the holiday crush. During the busiest times of year, airports are notorious for collecting chaos, confusion and short fuses. Anything you can do to streamline your experience and minimize your time therein, go for it. That means packing in carry-on bags so there’s nothing to check (and no baggage fees). In order to accomplish this:
    • Ship gifts ahead of time. You don’t know to be hauling presents around with you. If they’re wrapped, you’re likely going to need to unwrap them. And they take up precious storage space.
    • Give gift cards. Not only do gift cards give recipients the ability to buy what they really want, they’re extremely portable.
    • Don’t be afraid of laundry. It doesn’t matter whether you’re staying at a hotel, a resort or with relatives. A willingness to take an hour or two to throw a batch of clothes in the wash means you can cut down on the number of different outfits you need to bring.
  • Don’t let hunger get you riled up. When you’re traveling, fuel for your body is also fuel for your soul. Make sure you don’t shortchange yourself when it comes to packing snacks and drinks – something you’ll pay for later, financially, physically and psychically. Remember, they don’t call it being “hangry” for no reason.
  • Use your time wisely. Giving yourself some leeway means that there’s less pressure and less likelihood of your schedule getting thrown out of whack. Get an early start, get there and chillax. Isn’t that the point, rather than rumbling and grumbling your way through setbacks and delays?
  • Keep calm. What do you do to loosen up when you’re at home? Is there any reason you can’t do that when you’re away from home? Put on some relaxing music. Drink some herbal tea. If you’re not driving, you can even do yoga. Click here for seated positions that can help you de-stress during a road trip. If the noise level is too much for you, pop in a pair of earplugs.

There’s no question that the prospect of holiday travel is enough to make many a person say, “Bah, humbug.” But if you give yourself the gift of forethought, it can be a merry experience indeed.