Whether you are going to see family, friends or enjoy a nice vacation over the holiday, if you will be traveling over winter break, you should expect larger crowds, possible delays and a little confusion. However, planning ahead and the willingness to go with the flow will make your time away much more pleasant.
Despite your mode of transportation; plane, train, automobile, a combination – or even cruise, you can apply these helpful tips to help get you to your destination and enjoy your time away.
Make a “get ready” plan and a schedule to keep yourself on track. It’s amazing how quickly the month before your trip will fly. One day you’ll think you have all the time in the world and the next you’re scurrying to do laundry, finish up and gather what you can remember the night before your trip. Keep your stress levels lower by sticking to a schedule that lets you get a little done each day. Start packing the things you know you’ll not need before you leave, such as confirmation paperwork, itinerary, passports, evening wear or swimwear. Most likely, you will be able to be 80-90% ready for your trip and it won’t take away from what you need day-to-day.
Pack for where you are going, not where you are. Packing all the comforts of home without packing everything in your home can be hard sometimes. Make sure you consider all the nuances of your destination and things you’ll be doing before you start to pack, because packing for camping and hiking is much different than preparing for a Caribbean cruise. And the amenities available when staying with of family and friends are usually more extensive than those available in hotels or cabins. Once you have a plan in mind, use the 7 Tips to Prepare Like a Pro for Your Next Trip to make your trip its best.
Give yourself lots of extra time when you’re on someone else’s schedule. If you are going by air, track or water, when you are on someone else’s schedule, make sure you give yourself a lot of extra time. During winter break, there are many more travelers, and some may be inexperienced. Therefore, everything will take longer than normal. Lines will be longer, unsure families will take more time, there may be confusion about where to go, etc. Providing yourself with extra time allows you to stay calm while others stress. With any leftover time, you can get something to eat, drink, window shop or get to know your fellow passengers.
Weather can change quickly. This is fairly self-explanatory, but you should be ready for weather delays, especially during winter travel. Despite the talent of meteorologists around the country, Mother Nature can have a mind of her own, and sometimes it includes a sense of humor that is not in your favor. And remember, just because it’s nice where you are, that doesn’t mean a storm somewhere else isn’t causing travel havoc. Consider travel insurance for trips, or if you have children, to help cover expenses if things suddenly change. Have contingency plans for weather issues, whether that is going later, alternative routes, camping in your living room or having a staycation. If you can’t get to your destination, find a way to still enjoy yourself even if Mother Nature comes with a vengeance.
Complete a pre- and post health regimen. One of the worst things that can happen when traveling is getting sick; however, it’s quite common. When you open yourself up to new people, foods, viruses, stresses from the pressure of travel and you’re not caring for yourself like you do on a daily basis, it can break down your immune system and make you more prone to the Traveler’s Flu. Make sure you take extra special care of yourself, inside and out, before and after your trip to help flush out any toxins and give your body a vitamin boost.
There is a high likelihood that something will go wrong. It may be big, or it may be small. But when you plan ahead, take the bumps in stride and have contingencies in place, it will lessen the impact and make it easier to laugh about it later.
Wishing you a safe and happy holiday season!