Getting Through Holiday Travel
For most people, the nostalgia built around the family togetherness of the holiday season is enough to bring a smile to the face and a warm flush of joy to the heart; but the prospect of spending hours or even days trapped in a car with the entire family on a holiday road trip induces nothing short of panic. And when you really start to consider the high stresses brought on by being crammed into a car with the kids or a house with your in-laws, you might be starting to wish you’d booked a solo trip to Timbuktu. However, there are ways to get around the petty squabbles and ages-old grudges that seem to come up every year. Here are just a few tips to help you get through your holiday travels with less stress and more warm-and-fuzzies.
You can start by leaving anxiety at the door. If you go into any situation armed with dread, you’re really just creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. So rather than setting yourself up for failure, make a decision to adopt a pleasant and calm attitude from the get-go. You’ve probably heard of the power of positive thinking, and now is your chance to put it to the test. However, you’ll need to be fully invested in the process if you want any hope of making it work, so see if you can’t get behind your experiment 100%, and ask your family to do the same. A little consideration and kindness on everyone’s part will doubtless help the cause.
Your next directive is to plan ahead. One of the biggest stresses at this time of year is last-minute preparation. If you’re flying, ticket prices will increase almost exponentially leading up to the holidays, so book as early as possible! And if you’re driving, make a plan for getting the whole family packed and ready to go a few days in advance. This will ensure that prescriptions are filled, chargers for electronic devices aren’t left behind, and a favorite toy or sweater is right where it should be in the luggage. Make sure to bring plenty of entertainment (games, stories, etc.) for the kids, choose healthy snacks like fruit, cheese, and natural granola bars that won’t leave everyone bouncing off the walls (and opt for water instead of soda), and plan for frequent stops if you’re driving.
Finally, you want to make sure to double check everything before you leave the house. In fact, make yourself a checklist. Have a binder with all of the important documents you’ll need, including airline, train, or bus tickets, IDs, maps, important phone numbers, and traveler’s checks (for example). Check in online before you head to the airport to avoid waiting in at least one line, and to make sure that your flight (or other form of transportation) is on time. You should also have a current family photo handy just in case someone wanders off in the airport (hey, it happens, especially when parents are preoccupied with getting through security).
You may not have to drive all night and sleep in day cab trucks like OTR drivers do, or hop from time zone to time zone like an international pilot, but that doesn’t mean your holiday travel will be any easier. However, there are ways to ensure that you’re not driven to lunacy from spending hours trapped in a car with your family (or a house with your in-laws). So try to stay positive, plan ahead, and check and double check everything if you want to have a great holiday and truly enjoy the people you’re spending it with.