Plan ahead. Make sure your vehicle maintenance is up to date and ready for traveling in winter conditions. Map your route in advance and be prepared for busy roads. Do research and find alternative routes if intense traffic will make your trip too overwhelming. Scheduling ahead is also the best way to ensure better air fares when flying.
Give yourself plenty of time. Be flexible to avoid stress. Leave before peak traffic hours. If you travel with children, take into consideration the necessary pit stops. If you’re flying, give yourself a good 2 hour window for baggage checks and security lines.
Stay fresh and alert. Take plenty of breaks and DO NOT push yourself to meet an unrealistic schedule. Share the driving responsibility, when possible. If you get tired, pull to a rest area and nap or stretch your legs. Driving requires your full attention so pull off the road to use your GPS or cell phone.
Keep your speed down. Especially in winter conditions, you’ll need a proper amount of time and distance to react to the traffic around you. Stay in control and let the impatient, aggressive drivers go around you. Unlike them, you gave yourself plenty of time.
Stay connected. Download the latest travel apps before your leave home. Flight Status and GateGuru are perfect for keeping up with airport delays, security line lengths and more. GasBuddy finds the cheapest place to stop for gas, and SitOrSquat locates the cleanest restrooms.
Pack light. Make sure there is extra room in the trunk for the Christmas gifts your family will be bringing home. Flying? Avoid even checking a bag if you can and ship gifts ahead of time to avoid TSA rifling through your neatly wrapped gifts and packages. Also, if you can’t afford to lose it, don’t even bring it with you.
Bring earplugs. Pack some for yourself; pack some for the kids. It’s the best way to escape stressful surroundings whether you’re in a busy airport or sitting through Kidz Bop renditions of Justin Bieber and Katy Perry songs.
Don’t go hungry. When you’re hungry, you’re irritable and can’t think properly. Eat before you hit the road or board the plan. And don’t forget to pack snacks for later. Nuts and dried fruits are perfect.
And here are a few from my personal experience.
- TSA agents do not speak sarcasm. Don’t be a smartypants.
- If you feel sick on the plane, ask for a drink that’s half ginger and half club soda to relieve nausea.
- Keep in mind that budget hotels almost always offer free wi-fi. And luxury hotels almost always charge you for it.
- Ladies, decide to either wear black or brown, and then plan your outfits around one pair of shoes. Yes, you read that correctly. And make sure they’re comfortable shoes. This makes packing so much easier.
- I do not have children, but I have traveled with them. Don’t forget the DVDs, CDs, puzzles, coloring books, etc for constant entertainment.
- If you’re traveling alone (or with someone who shares your taste), go to your local library and check out some books on CD. A good “read” is perfect for a few hours on the road.
- Did you pack your cell phone charger? Go check again.
Any tips you'd like to share? Post them in the comments!
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