Over the river and through the woods, it’s off to Grandma’s or Uncle Elmer’s for the holidays! Seems like nearly everybody’s going somewhere, and for many of us, these visits will require traveling long distances. The holiday season is usually pretty busy, and holiday travel can be particularly stressful. We thought we’d put together a top five list of pre-travel reminders for you this week to help ease that stress a little.
Reminder #1: Double-check your reservations. There’s nothing worse than arriving at a hotel or rental car counter and having them say they have no record of your reservation. Have your confirmation numbers handy, preferably with the quoted rate. Flying? Make sure you have seat assignments. And if you have time, take a minute to check for a cheaper rental car rate. Unlike airfares, car rental rates are sometimes cheaper closer to your travel date rather than farther from it.
Reminder #2: Pack light. If, like us, your holiday travel takes you and your holiday gifts to a winter climate, packing light can be a challenge — but it’s worth it! Hauling heavy bags through crowded airports is no fun, and losing your luggage when you’ve got events lined up is no good, either. Plan your wardrobe so that everything is interchangeable and accessorize to make each outfit unique. Another tip: TSA prefers that you not wrap your presents, although we often do.
Reminder #3: Get things in order at home ahead of time. Bills coming up while you’re gone? Pre-schedule a payment from the bank. Stop the newspaper delivery or have a neighbor pick them up from your sidewalk while you’re gone. Line up a housesitter well ahead of time if you’re planning to have someone stay at your house. Put some lights on timers if you’re not, and tell your neighbors you’ll be away so someone’s keeping an eye on things.
Reminder #4: Plan for the car/plane/bus/train ride. Gather up some travel games. Get some audiobooks from the library. Charge up the electronics (and find that darn car charger that slipped down between the seats last week!). Grab those magazines you haven’t had time to read yet. Bring the GPS or download a good GPS app (many are free!). Toss in a small ice scraper, just in case. And pack some snacks! A snack strategy we used successfully with our nephew was to prepack some mixed snack bags each day and to dole out about one an hour. Mind you, we came up with this strategy after he ate an entire giant bag of jerky in about 15 minutes…
Reminder #5: Remember why you’ve come on this trip. You’ve come to share time with friends and family. You’ve come to participate in long practiced traditions and to create new ones. You’ve come to relax! You’ve come to eat until you’re about to burst. So sit back and relax, make some memories, and dig in to that delicious pumpkin pie.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving, and enjoy your week or your weekend.