Plan before you go.

Holiday travel can be stressful, but there are a few tricks to help keep you (and your family) calm under pressure.

  • Don’t try to pack from memory. Make a list, or use one of the handy ones on the internet like this one.
  • Use Author Chris Guillebeau’s $10 rule. If a convenience fee costs less than $10, it’s probably worth the stress relief. You can adjust the amount to fit your budget (or to accommodate your entire family), but the premise remains the same.
  • Try to book travel that reduces the opportunity for delays or long layovers (e.g., direct flights, off-peak times/days). If you encounter a delay, contact the airline via as many channels as possible (e.g., in person, phone, social media).
  • Download whatever calming distractions you (or your family) might need (e.g., meditation apps, music, games, movies).
  • Make sure you fit in self-care before you leave. Go for a walk or jog. Build in some quiet time. And make sure that you pack your workout clothes so that you can keep up the good work on your holiday.
  • Leave WAY earlier than you need to. Sure, you may have some extra time in the airport or at your destination, but that’s what calming distractions are for.
  • Take care of your body. Eat well, hydrate, take your vitamins, and try to get some sleep before your trip.

Visualize your trip before you go.

Holiday travel has its challenges, but it may not be as bad as you think. The key is managing your expectations. Try to visualize your trip before you leave so that you can anticipate and make a plan for any obstacles you might encounter. Control what you can but also realize that surprises happen. Use this time to also envision how you will cope when things don’t go your way.

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Traveling with Kids

Making the journey with kids adds a few extra challenges, but the right planning can help. Using the above strategies, especially managing your expectations (You may have to let things go!), will definitely help in general. But check out these blogs for extra tips:

Finally, remember to book some downtime after you return from your trip so that you and your family can decompress before returning to the regular grind. It’s ok to keep your return date a secret for a bit, so that you won’t be inundated with demands. Your mental health is worth it. Safe travels, and happy holidays!

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