This week is one of the busiest travel weeks of the year. It’s the week when many of us travel to our hometowns (or whatever central location our families choose) to enjoy all the trappings of the Thanksgiving festivities: football, family traditions, and—oh yes—lots and lots of food. It’s also the time when holiday music once again graces our playlists and radios. So, allow us to quote from one of the most popular holiday standards as we begin this post: “For the holidays you can’t beat home sweet home.”
Those lyrics may be true of being home, but we have to get there first, and that’s not always such an idyllic picture. Let us look at some ways to make traveling for the holidays stress-free, even when “the traffic is terrific.”
Before Your Trip
- Packing ahead can lead to much less stress on the day when you plan to leave.
- Organize your packing. This could be writing out a packing list, laying clothes on your bed before putting them in your bag, or any other system that works for you. If you are traveling with someone, it may help to have them spot-check you to make sure you have everything before you go.
- If you are flying, put the items you will need to take out for security together in an easy-to-access place so you can get them out easily when you are in line. TSA is never easy, but any strategy to make it less stressful helps.
- Find something that will relax you during your trip and have it ready. For example, books, music, and movies or TV shows are a great way to pass the time while making the trip more enjoyable. Whatever you can enjoy while traveling, have it ready to go and download it to your device in advance.
During Your Trip
- Off-peak times are great times to travel. Leaving for a road trip or a flight in the middle of the day isn’t as popular as afternoon or evening travel, so try morning or early afternoon to avoid the longest lines and busiest roads.
- Earbuds are a wonderful thing. They are very helpful for canceling out all the noise and helping you get lost in whatever helps you relax—music, a book, or maybe nature sounds to help you sleep.
- If you have some meditation or mindfulness exercises you like, travel is the perfect time to use them. There are also plenty of apps and podcasts that help with this.
Return Travel and Good Wishes
Returning from your trip can often bring as much stress as going to your destination. Be mindful of this busy travel time which will continue through Thanksgiving weekend. Be safe, be prepared, and have a wonderful holiday. Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at the IMAGE Center!