It’s common knowledge that the holidays are one of the most stressful times of the year to travel. Tens of thousands of people travel from city to city, whether through driving, public transportation, or flying. All this traffic causes delays and can lead to rushing from place to place to catch your flight or train or being stuck in traffic for hours. Your traveling gets even more complicated if you have young children or pets. For most Americans, traveling is the worst part of the holiday season. Sanity may be achievable, though it does require a bit of pre-work on your behalf.
Get the Right Apps
What good is your smart phone if you aren’t using it wisely? Today, the web is full of article roundup lists that highlight the best apps for your travel needs. For example, if you’re driving, check out GasBuddy or SitOrSquat to check gas prices and locate nearby rest stops. If you’re flying, you can download the airline’s mobile app which helps you easily access your boarding pass. As a savvy techxpert, you might find these tips trivial, but keep in mind that technology isn’t as easy to parse for those who were born before the internet’s birth. Share what you can with older travelers in your life. Especially those tips that can help keep communication lines open. We may not want to think about work during our vacation, but messaging and email apps make it easy to stay somewhat connected.
Proper organization can make or break your travel plans. Front load as much of the work that you can so that your travel experience can run smoothly. Simple things you can do? Check your routes and your itinerary so you’re exactly sure of where you’re headed and what time you are expected to arrive. Pack your luggage and carry-on with care. Keep your passport or important documents handy as you may need to show them throughout your travel day. This type of mindful packing saves you space, time, and stress.
Plan for Emergencies
While traveling, nearly any issue can arise. Plan for possible delays or bad traffic and look up alternate routes if necessary. If you’re traveling with young children, make sure they understand what’s expected of them and know to stay with you at all times. It’s been quite a while since my kids were children, but it’s traveling truly is a wildly different experience when you have kids in tow. Education is important, here. So is a relaxed mindset.
No matter how often or prepared you are to travel over the holidays, there will always be more traffic and travelers than you expect. If possible, remain calm and keep you cool. My favorite way to keep calm is to pack my favorite snacks, a good book, and of course ear phones. If you’re into Yoga or meditative practices, you rely on simple breathing exercises to bring you back into the moment.
Check Best Travel Times
This step happens way before you leave for your trip. But it’s worth noting that choosing the right times to travel can save you time and stress. As you plan your travels, do some research on when the best times are to fly or drive to your destination. If you leave early or late in the day, there’s usually significant less traffic. If you can travel a few days before the holidays, you’ll face minimal traffic. It also helps to travel overnight, because most people travel during the day.
Instead of worrying about packing all of your gifts for family and friends, ship these items to your final destination. If some of them arrive a little late, this is not the end of the world. Anyone who’s ever tried to travel with a shipment of gifts has probably never done it twice. Unless your driving with ample car space, shipping gifts makes your traveling easier and lighter and you’ll be less worried about items getting lost or damaged.
Judd Bagley is the Director of Communications at Overstock.com. When Judd’s not exploring the latest trends in the Bitcoin industry, you’ll probably find him traveling various parts of the United States and beyond.