December is one of the busiest travel months of the year. When you add the normal stresses of travel to the holiday rush, you can feel a lot more manic than merry.
If just thinking about holiday travel makes you tense, take heart. There are some things you can do to minimize the stress.
If you’re flying to your holiday destination:
Aim for the middle
Booking flights midweek — on Tuesdays, Wednesdays or Thursdays — can mean a better price. Traveling midweek means smaller crowds to deal with than on the Saturday or Sunday after the holiday. If you can, book the first flight out on the Monday morning after the holiday.
Be an early bird
Don’t take the last flight of the day. Flights scheduled earlier in the day tend to have better on-time performance. And if problems arise due to weather or other delays, an early flight gives you a better chance of booking another flight and still arriving at your destination the same day.
Play the waiting game
Arrive at the airport in plenty of time to get through all the security checks. And prepare for long waits with activities for the whole family.
Don’t get wrapped up
If you’re bringing gifts, leave them unwrapped — it will make going through security much easier. There will be plenty of time to wrap them once you get to your destination. Even better, shop online and ship the presents directly to your destination.
If you’re driving on your holiday trip:
Get in tune
Get a routine maintenance check for your car and top off all fluids, especially antifreeze and windshield washer fluid.
Pack a winter survival and emergency kit that has blankets, jumper cables, flashlights (with fresh batteries) and nonperishable food. Make sure your cell phone is fully charged and you have up-to-date maps.
Create a kid zone
Plan travel activities that will keep children entertained while on the road. Create an activity bag for each child that has new and familiar toys, audio books, as well as in-the-car group activities such as the I Spy game, treasure hunts or license plate games.
No matter how you travel, getting rest is key to having a good time. The less sleep you get, the more stressed you’ll be.
Holiday schedules can make it hard to get enough good sleep. But these tips can help you get more rest and make your holiday more relaxing:
• Avoid overloading your schedule. Not every minute has to be filled with busy activity. Down time for reading, resting or watching TV is good for everyone.
• Exercise is a good stress reliever. Working up a sweat can work off tension and help you sleep better.
• Choose a hotel for your stay that offers amenities such as online check-in, fitness centers and comfortable beds.
Don’t let traveling add stress to your holidays. Planning ahead can make your travel days a lot merrier than you think.
Courtesy of Family Features