Photo Credit: Eva Darron, StockSnap
Today’s post features a guest writer, Henry Moore. Henry is the co-creator of FitWellTraveler. The site blends two of his favorite subjects (travel and health) to provide readers with information about how to get the most out of both. Henry believes travel can change you, and good health preserves you. He combines both in his work on FitWellTraveler.
The holidays are fast approaching, and they offer a welcomed break from the same old routine and daily stresses like work. Whether you’re visiting relatives, taking a solo trip, or going on a getaway with your partner, a holiday escape may be just what you need to enjoy a relaxing, stress-free holiday vacation. Of course, there are some tips you should follow to ensure you don’t let the planning and traveling create unnecessary anxiety or agitation.
When and How to Book
Experts have mixed opinions on whether it’s best to book flights and hotels well in advance or in the week leading up to your trip. Booking early gives you more options, but waiting gives you a chance to take advantage of flash sales. Regardless of when you book, traveling during off-peak days and times gives you better deals and avoids the crowds.
While most people purchase round-trip tickets when they travel, flying with one airline to your destination and a different airline back home can save you money and provide more convenient flight times. Comparing prices at alternate airports can also save money, and using travel sites helps you find the best deals for airfare, lodging, car rentals, and other travel needs.
Removing Route Stress
To expedite domestic screening and keep your shoes on, register for TSA PreCheck. To expedite your return to the United States after foreign travel, register for Global Entry. Regardless of where you’re traveling, be sure to research the current security rules beforehand, and arrive at the airport with ample time to spare. Use GateGuru to keep updated on the current security wait times, and download your airline’s app to get up-to-date gate information and keep track of multiple paper boarding passes.
Driving may allow you to skip security checks, but it’s not without its own stressors. “In between mapping out routes, performing car maintenance and prepping for weather conditions, it’s easy to forget about incorporating fun activities,” says Travel Channel. When planning your route, find fun stops to give everyone a chance to stretch their legs and enjoy seeing a new and interesting site. To save money, download the GasBuddy app, which provides locations of the lowest gas prices and cleanest bathrooms along the way.
Since TSA has the right to unwrap and inspect all packages, you shouldn’t wrap your gifts ahead of time. Also, the gifts can get banged up regardless of whether you travel via plane or car, which can rip the wrapping paper, so just wait to wrap. If you fly, use your carry-on bag for holiday gifts in case the airline loses or misplaces your luggage.
Sometimes shipping the gifts directly to your destination makes more sense than going through the hassle and expense of taking them on your flight or finding a way to fit them into your vehicle. Don’t forget about the trip home. Check with your airline to see how much an extra bag will cost, and compare the cost of shipping the gifts home. If you’re traveling by car, shipping them may be a better option than cramming them into your car.
Plan for the Worst
Being prepared for anything will also help eliminate some stress. Pack healthy snacks, take extra chargers for electronics, bring entertainment options for delays, make copies of travel documents, plan your route, confirm reservations, and get a car inspection. “The more prepared you are, the better equipped you’ll be to handle unexpected surprises,” says Travel Channel.
While you can’t predict natural disasters or illnesses that hinder your trip, you can purchase trip insurance beforehand. Many credit cards also provide varying levels of trip insurance, but World Nomads covers nearly everything, including trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, and more. Protecting your home while you’re away is also important, so be sure to take home security measures. Secure the garage, remove hidden keys, and lock all windows, doors, and gates. You may also want to consider either installing light timers and a monitored home security system or arranging for a house sitter.
Ensuring your travel experience is 100 percent smooth is nearly impossible, but preparing ahead of time helps prevent a lot of stress. If something arises, try to stay patient and flexible; remember that remaining calm and polite can go a long way. By following these helpful tips, you can relax and enjoy your stress-free holiday getaway.
You can find more great posts from Henry at Fit Well Traveler here!
If you need an assistance planning a trip check out this Travel Itinerary Planning Service!