The holidays are a time to enjoy being with family and friends, but travel stress can ruin the holiday cheer. Here are tips for reducing stress during holiday travel.
1. Make travel plans early. The holidays are the busiest time for traveling, so making plans early can alleviate the stress of trying to make last minute travel arrangements. If driving, plan to avoid the busiest traveling days, like Christmas Eve. Leaving a day or two early can help avoid the stress of being stuck in traffic. Keep car maintenance up to date and have roadside assistance in case of a breakdown. If flying, booking tickets in advance can yield lower prices and more flexibility in scheduling.
2. Purchase travel insurance. Nothing ruins holiday cheer like having an unexpected change in your travel plans and then being left with a big bill for the expenses. Travel insurance offers coverage for these unforeseen expenses for a plethora of covered events and reasons. If there are unexpected delays, trip delay and missed connection coverage can cover alternative transportation, accommodations and offer a fixed payout to help ease the burden of your travel woes. If there is a last minute cancellation, trip cancellation coverage can cover cancellation fees and lost deposits for covered reasons. Other benefits of travel insurance include coverage for loss of luggage and hospital fees in the case of an accident. For international travel, travel insurance can cover emergency medical costs and transportation home. Not all travel insurance policies offer the same coverage. Rather than rely on a travel agent or online booking service, compare policies to get the best coverage for your specific needs.
3. Bring entertainment. Holiday traveling usually includes long periods of waiting. Having a source of entertainment can help pass the time. Bring a book or an e-reader. Download movies or tv shows onto a tablet or laptop. Music, audiobooks, and podcasts can help tune out the travel noise. If traveling with kids, bringing child-friendly entertainment like games and movies can help keep your kids relaxed.
4. Keep calm. Long lines at the airport, travel delays, and unexpected traffic can all be sources of stress. Practicing relaxation techniques can bring stress levels down. Taking deep breaths or other relaxation techniques like meditation can lower stress levels and help you keep a positive attitude. Most people are feeling the same stress as you, so keeping a friendly attitude towards other travelers and travel employees can help reduce stress levels for you and the people around you.
5. Keep healthy. Being sick is a major contributor to holiday travel stress. Traveling often means being in small spaces with many other people and their germs. Minimize your chances of getting sick by washing your hands regularly and carrying a travel-sized container of hand sanitizer. Maintain a balanced diet by bringing healthy foods like dried or fresh fruit, baby carrots, nuts, and cheese from home instead of relying on convenience foods.
Following these simple tips can reduce your travel stress and ensure happy holidays for you and your loved ones.