Beating the Holiday Rush
It’s that time of the year — when people are driving, flying, and using public transportation to visit friends and family around the city and across the country. Travel increases this time of year, especially when children are out of school and many people have a little time off work. That also means more cars on the road, more people hurrying to get where they’re going, and unfortunately, more people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol.
There are a few things you can do to make your holiday travel a little less stressful. Here are a few suggestions:
Be flexible. If you prepare for a traffic jam or delayed flight, you’re less likely to be caught off guard. Pack extra snacks and water and prepare for things to take a bit longer. Make sure to top off your gas tank and bring some extra books on tape or games for your children. If you are flexible enough to accept a bump in flights and get extra travel rewards, take advantage of it. And if you can, pack everything in a carry-on so you won’t have to worry about where your luggage will end up.
Avoid high-traffic areas. Choose your route around the city if possible, and avoid high traffic areas and busy parking lots. Right now is not the time to do last-minute shopping by visiting the busiest mall in the area. Support your smaller local businesses instead, especially ones with lots of parking availability and fewer fellow shoppers.
Drive defensively. This means obey all traffic signs, don’t allow yourself to get distracted by passengers, and keep your eyes open for anyone driving erratically and report them to the police. If possible, use public transportation to reduce your commuting stress this holiday season.
Leave early. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive at your destination. Don’t be in a rush. Pack your car well ahead of time, go through a checklist of things you need to bring, and enjoy the trip. Being relaxed and ahead of schedule allows you to concentrate on the road.
Ask for help. Make sure to get good directions, ask your passengers to help you concentrate on the road, ask hosts to give you advance notice if you need to bring anything extra, and hire a qualified pet sitter or house sitter to take care of things while you’re gone.
Pack extra. It’s a good idea to have extra battery chargers for your phone, extra clothing in case you get stranded at the airport an extra night, and extra cash in case you need it. If you can’t fit the extra stuff, reassess and see what you can afford to leave behind (like unnecessary makeup, jewelry, or shoes). This will open up room for required items and leave your bag a bit lighter.
If you plan all of this ahead of time, you’ll experience less stress and travel-related anxiety this holiday season, making it a more enjoyable time for all.