BY LAUREN SEPHTON
Don’t let traveling this holiday season overwhelm you – try testing out these survival tips to master the holiday madness on the road and in the air.
- Preparation is Key
The more you plan for the unexpected, the better you will be able to handle those little surprises thrown at you. Pack along some healthy snacks that are low-sodium and non-perishable. Great options include dried fruit, popcorn, granola bars, and nuts. The TSA does approve packing fresh fruit in carry-on bags when traveling in the continental USA. Packing snacks helps to prevent both kids and adults from being hangry and having emotional breakdowns from the stress of holiday travel.
When traveling long distances in the car, be sure to get your car inspected a few days prior to your expected departure. Check to see if your lights and windshield wipers are working properly, your car tire pressure is adequate, and ensure that you have plenty of bottled water. It is recommended that you pack along jumper cables, blankets, and a first-aid kit, as well.
Other preparations may include extra copies of travel documents, carrying prescriptions in their original bottle, mapping out routes, and packing backup chargers. It is never guaranteed that you will have access to an outlet, especially as the airports become packed with holiday travelers. On a similar note, when traveling in the car, be sure to bring a dual-port car charger to keep up your mobile devices’ batteries.
- Pack Gifts Wisely
It is always best to ship your gifts to your destination 4-5 days prior to your departure via UPS or FedEx Ground, when traveling domestically. When buying online, try shipping them directly to your destination. Not only will it lighten your load, but it may end up being cheaper than checking a bag solely for your gifts. But some of us just can’t help but find the perfect gift the night before departure. Keeping in mind that TSA has the right to unwrap and inspect your gifts, it is recommended that don’t wrap them until arrival at your destination. And if you do end up wrapping them, try to dedicate your carry-on luggage to holding them. This will prevent any presents from getting caught up in the lost luggage madness.
- Keep it Entertaining
When traveling long distances in the car, do a little research to map several fun pit-stops along the route. Whether museums or restaurants, a change of scenery and focus can help make the trip less grueling and more enjoyable. On another note, keep in mind the necessities. Mapping out a few gas stations that are known for their cheap rates and places that have clean restrooms will make for a smoother journey.
Along the same lines, prepare lightweight and accessible entertainment. Noise-canceling headphones can be magical when it comes to a crying baby on the plane or restless siblings in the car. Whether traveling by car or in the air, skip streaming and try downloading as much as possible. This is where those backup chargers will come in handy! Of course, it is always recommended to bring along a book, because that never runs out of power.
- Let’s Prevent Getting Sick
Being sick around the holiday season is never fun. Try preparing your body 48 hours prior to traveling by drinking plenty of water to stay hydrated and getting lots of sleep to help strengthen your body’s defense mechanisms. Never feel guilty about enjoying one too many sweets this holiday season, but do keep in mind that eating a well-balanced diet will help support a healthy digestive and immune system. The CDC also recommends that travelers who opt for the flu shot should try to get it two weeks prior to traveling, so that the vaccine immunity has time to kick in.
- Take a Deep Breath
You may not be able to control the things around you, but you can control how you react. When hit with a stressful moment, try closing your eyes while you take deep breaths as you inhale through your nose and exhale out your mouth. Try walking a few laps around the terminal as you wait to board your plane and bring the kids along with you to give off some of their cooped-up energy. And please keep in mind that getting snippety with the airline staff can only make matters worse. No one can help unexpected weather conditions, so instead, try giving them a compliment and watch the smile that you put on their face grow.
With these life-saving tips in mind, you will be an expert traveling this holiday season. Stay safe and happy holidays!