Long-distance travel is stressful any time of year. With more people traveling and holiday-related pressures on your mind, however, holiday season travel has the potential to be especially nerve-racking. To help you prepare for, mitigate, and manage the stress you experience when traveling to spend the holidays with family or friends, we’ve compiled some tips.
The holiday season is hectic, a time of year during which you can hardly be expected to keep track of everything you need to do without a planner or to-do list. Make a list of everything you need to buy or do before you leave to relieve yourself of the pressure of having to remember things on your own. The first time you find yourself thinking about something you need to bring with you on your holiday travels, start a packing list. Add to it as necessary, and use it when packing and getting things done.
Pack in advance
On the subject of packing, filling out and organizing that suitcase a day or two before you leave is key. Packing early ensures you won’t be scrambling at the last-minute to throw everything you want to bring on your holiday travel in your bag. It gives you time to remember items you forgot to pack before you’re on your way to the airport. It also enables you to use that last chunk of time at your apartment to eat a meal, tidy up, or do something else you might miss if you’re packing until it’s time to walk out the door.
Rest up before leaving
Arrange your schedule so you can get a full night’s rest the night before you travel. A well-rested body and clear head can go a long way toward averting holiday travel stress. Ideally, you’ll sleep well several nights in a row before leaving so you have energy to catch up with your loved ones during your time together.
Aim to arrive early
Don’t set yourself up for a nail-biting ride to the airport or a white-knuckle drive to a family members’ home. Even if you end up making a flight or catching a train you’re running late for, the stress you encounter running against the clock can stay with you for much of your travel day. Aim to arrive with ample time to check your bags and do anything else you need to do before traveling. Keep in mind that wait times for checking bags and passing through security can be especially long during the holiday travel season. Traffic may also be worse than usual.
Wear comfortable clothes and shoes
Worry less about how you look and more about how you feel when choosing clothes to travel in this holiday season. Comfortable pants and footwear won’t preclude you from experiencing stress, but they can make stressful situations more manageable.
Invest in travel insurance
Buy a travel insurance policy that covers trip cancellations, lost baggage, and medical emergencies. It will provide you peace of mind that can help allay stress during the holiday season.
Keep tabs on your head space
If you start to feel stress coming on, take a moment to recalibrate. Take long, deep breaths. Remind yourself that travel is temporary, and you’ll soon enough arrive at your destination. Meditate if you have a practice. There are apps, such as Headspace, that can guide you along.
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