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Thursday, November 11, 2010

How to Take the Stress Out of Holiday Travel

Let's face it, even while the Thanksgiving and December holiday season is the favorite time of year for many of us, traveling during this period can be more stressful than ever. There are a few steps you can take before and during your journey, however, that might reduce some anxiety and tension.

1. 1
Make any air travel and lodging arrangements as far in advance as possible. While this might seem like obvious advice, it's amazing how many people end up making last-second plans every year.
2. 2
Put together a checklist of anything that might need to be taken care of at your residency while you're gone and make sure everything is covered. Realizing your houseplants are going unwatered halfway through a 3-week trip is anything but calming.
3. 3
Realize that there are typically going to be some delays and bumps in the road on any journey and try to prepare yourself to roll with the punches. No point in getting stressed over minor things that are out of your hands, anyway, like someone running late to pick you up at the airport.
4. 4
Try to "wrap up" (no pun intended) your holiday shopping as early as you can. An already slightly stressful travel itinerary can become even more overwhelming if you're running around scrambling for Christmas gifts on December 24.
5. 5
Eat a good, healthy meal before a long journey, and make sure to avoid foods that might upset your stomach. Heartburn or an ailing stomach will only, of course, add to your travel stresses.
6. 6
Get to the airport a good 3 hours before your scheduled flight. Some of the worst holiday travel stress can come from waiting in the security line, not even knowing if you're going to catch your flight. Better to have to waste an hour at check-in awaiting boarding than undergo undue anxiety about boarding your plane before it takes off.
7. 7
Bring along a relaxing book to read and/or an iPod/MP3 player. Create a "soothing" playlist of songs to mellow out to while in transit; classic holiday tunes, Simon & Garfunkel hits and Jack Johnson songs are three good possibilities, but it all depends on your taste of course.

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