Sources like AAA & Airlines for America are reporting that holiday travel this year will surpass previous years with more 39 million hitting the road and more than 25 million flying. Those numbers alone prove to be stressful.
Planning and Preparing for travel is how you reduce stress.
If you’re hitting the road
- AAA is a good thing to have, they also have an app
- Do pre-trip maintenance on your car
- Have an emergency kit for the car and you
- Spare tire
- Tool kit
- First Air Kit
- Cell phone, charger and hands free earpiece
- gasbuddy.com is another app for the best prices in gas, however gas is at a low right now and should stay that if not get better for the holidays.
If you’re flying
- By now you probably have your tickets for Thanksgiving and maybe Christmas
- Know that it’s going to be busy with just about everybody, grandparents, children, entire families, etc.
- If you can, spend the extra money to get advance seat assignments
- 24 hours prior to departure check in online for your flight (recheck for seat assignments) and if necessary pay for checked bags (try not to check bags)
- If you carry on make sure you bring a smaller collapsible bag in case you are forced to check your carry on bag (expect the overhead bins to be full)
- If you have a connecting flight “DON’T CHECK A BAG” and give yourself plenty of time to connect. A tight connection could be a major problem if your first flight is delayed.
- Give yourself enough time and arrive at the airport 2 hour prior to your departure time to account for long check in lines and security lines.
- Dress light for the plane and TSA
- Remember the 311 rule for TSA you can go to TSA.gov
Check the weather ahead of time for all travel and start planning if there is inclement weather. If your driving leave earlier, if you’re flying check with the airlines for delays.
Traveling with Children
I don’t have children, but it’s always the ones, like me, without children who notice them the most. I have asked my siblings who have younger children how they handle travel.
- Involve them (prepare them for TSA)
- Go over how to behave in the airport and on the flight
- Bring entertainment
I have a nephew who has autism and ADD. He has changed me when it comes to encountering children in public. I used to judge and now I don’t make snap judgements on what may be perceived as bad behavior. Some children have ADD or autism and there’s a wide spectrum of the condition and behavior. Some are hyper, some of distant, some get agitated easily or are sensitive to noise or outside stimulations. As a parent my brother-in-law tells me that he keeps him engaged, knows his triggers and tries to avoid them. When necessary he is medicated. I have a friend who has an older child with autism and he described it to him like having 100 cable channels that are constantly changing so you can imagine how a busy airport can affect them. The advice I give is less for the parent and more for others to be patient and don’t rush to judgement. If it bothers you, remove yourself from the situation.
Being a good guest
- It starts with when you arrive. Ask in advance which airport is closer or more convenient
- Don’t arrive/depart during rush hour or at crazy hours, especially after a long night
- Travel light, don’t dome with everything from your closet
- Help out, but ask first because sometimes you can just be in the way
- Clean up after yourself
- Take them out for a meal or surprise them one morning by getting up early and getting some fruits and pastries
- And yes, Miss Manners says you should bring a gift.
Being a good host
- Make them feel welcomed by preparing for them in advance
- Have the room or area already designated and prepared, otherwise it may feel like they’re putting you out.
- Fix what I call a convenience basket filled with towels, bath products, toiletries, magazines and bottled water. They won’t have to ask if they leave something or stumble around in the middle of the night for water
- I travel a lot and take the slippers from the hotel. I save them for out of town guests
- I have a couple of robes that I keep for my guests
- I normally don’t use the first/business class toiletry bag from the airlines but I take them and keep them for out of town guests.
- Find out what they drink and have it for them.
When traveling recite Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the I can and the wisdom to know the difference.”
And when you need to complain remember the idiom: “You can catch more bees or flies with honey than with vinegar”