The holidays are a time to give thanks, spend time with loved ones and spread love, but it can also be a hectic time of year that includes deadlines for gifts and traffic wherever you go during this time of year. Whether you are jetting off to a remote tropical island, whisking away to the snow-filled mountains or are traveling home for the holidays a bag must be packed and plans must be made. I have had my fair share of bad luck, stuck in 5 hour traffic, forgotten Christmas presents and so on. As Thanksgiving nears here are a few of my last minute tips to help keep you sane during the holiday madness.
PREPARATION IS KEY
The correct preparation is always the key to calming down nerves and the prevention of forgetting something or rushing somewhere. So prepare you bag and gifts the night before. Buy your flight months ahead of schedule. Plan on leaving when it’s not rush hour. Bring snacks with you so you don’t get hangry in traffic and most of all MENTALLY prepare yourself for a hectic day. No matter where you are things will happen, but if you mentally and physically prepare for such a chaotic day it will seem less stressful to you. Do the work beforehand so your day of travel will go as possible. Remember what you have control over and focus on that.
KNOW HOW THE FLOW OF TRAFFIC WORKS
There are certain times of day where rush hour is worse, especially during the holidays, so think back to last year and try to remember how traffic was then. Look up traffic on Sig-Alert or Waze and decide to leave when there is less traffic if that option is viable to you. There’s a “Go Later” button on Waze, which will help you see traffic during different times of the day. I always use this if I have a big trip planned. If you do this, traffic will be less of a hassle for you and you can avoid stress.
I learned by my 4-hour drive to my parents house the day before Thanksgiving that the best time to leave is either late the night before or early Thanksgiving morning.
TSA, CARPOOL, FAST TRAK…..
Take advantage of options that will help the trip go more smoothly or get to your destination faster. If you can be TSA approved already when you get to the airport it can cut down the wait in line when going through security. If you can take someone with you so you can go on the carpool lane or take the Fast Trak lane then do so! This is the time to take advantage of all your resources.
ALWAYS BRING SNACKS AND H2O
A friend of mine always tells me we need to tend to our primary needs or everything else goes out the window. If we lack sleep we become irritable, if we did not eat we become irritable, if we get stuck on the freeway for an hour and need to go to the bathroom we definitely will become irritable. Here is what you can control: go to the bathroom before you enter a car or plane, sleep as much as you can the night before and bring snacks and water with you so you don’t become dehydrated or hangry! I never leave the house without snack and if you’re traveling at a hectic time like this you will most certainly need to bring something with you. This will help you keep sane and keep your sugar levels high so you can think straight. You never know what type of decisions you will need to make.
When feeling overwhelmed, stressed or faced with a tough decision while traveling take a few deep breathes. Do this before having to move on with a decision or before partaking in anything else. If you have the time breathe in for four seconds, hold your breath for four seconds and breathe out for four seconds. Do this 4 times and it will change your whole being tremendously.
Above all, remember what the holidays are about: being with the ones you love and showing them your love. So do not let traffic, crowded spaces or angry people get to you. Simply smile back at them and move on with your day. You’re headed to somewhere marvelous with people you care about. Focus on that and your trip will go as smoothly as possible.
Stay safe and have a happy holidays, everyone!