As you’re planning your holiday travel, how about planning not to be stressed? The key to staying chill during this most-traveled season is a solid routine that starts a year in advance, according to stress-reduction expert Kimberly Palm, aka the Stress-Free Travel Diva.
So, during this year’s holiday gathering, start planning – and booking transportation and lodging – for next year. “Creating a travel routine really relieves a lot of stress because there’s no guessing involved,” Palm said. Put a specific set of steps together, then set calendar reminders to help you follow them. These might include checking your passport to make sure it’s current, checking the condition of your luggage, restocking travel toiletries and buying snacks for the plane or car.
One of your steps should be to check the weather forecasts for your destination during the days leading up to your trip, so you can pack the appropriate clothing. If you’re bringing gifts, Palm suggests shipping them ahead rather than putting them in your suitcase. That way, you can insure your packages and carry less luggage.
“If you’re packing gifts, you’re really creating a lot of trouble for yourself,” she said.
If you’ll be flying, cut down on your airport stress by loading your airline’s app onto your phone. The app will usually let you check in for your flight 24 hours beforehand – reducing your chances of being bumped if the flight is overbooked – and monitor for gate changes and flight delays. Loading your ticket onto your phone, or printing it out at home, also means one less airport line to stand in.
Want even less stress? Get to the airport early. That means more than three hours ahead of your scheduled international flight departure and at least two hours ahead of domestic flights. This gives you plenty of time to deal with checking luggage, airport security, terminal transfers, gate changes and anything else that comes your way.
“The worst-case scenario is you go early and get through it quick and then you have a bunch of time,” Palm said.
That’s much better than arriving late, rushing around stressed out and possibly missing your flight.
“It’s all about simplifying your life,” she says of a good travel routine. So, figure out your list of steps, start crossing them off, and have a happy holiday.
Do you have stress-free travel tips? Share in the comments!
Visit AAA.com/LiveWell for more articles on healthy travel.