As the holidays draw closer, more people will be traveling to visit family and to take a break from work or school. Of course, we all know the dreaded holiday travel can bring more headache than cheer. Here are some simple tips to keep your cool, relax and even enjoy traveling this holiday season.
Realize that things can go wrong
It doesn't sound like a happy way to start a trip, but admitting to yourself that things might not go according to plan can help you be better prepared if the trip goes haywire. Plan ahead for traffic jams, lost credit cards and long lines – just in case.
Don't be "that guy"
Nothing ruins a festive holiday mood like dealing with an inconsiderate traveler. In a traffic jam, don't fly down the shoulder to cut in front of traffic. In airport security, don't hold up the line because you wore boots that lace up to the knee. Being courteous to your fellow travelers alleviates tension and keeps things running smoothly.
Stay relaxed and healthy
It's cold outside! Pack weather-appropriate clothes for the season and take vitamins. On airplanes, stay hydrated with bottled water (you can bring empty water bottles through security) and skip in-flight alcoholic beverages. Pack medicines like Advil just in case. Of course, a fully-charged music device of your choice with all your favorite songs can keep you calm and pass the time.
Do your research
Gather as much information as you can about your route before you even leave the house. If you're flying, check the airline's website for baggage regulations and fees (if possible, only pack a carry-on: cheaper, lighter and hassle-free). If you're driving to Grandma's, plan your route and have a backup. Sometimes GPS signals can be lost, especially in the mountains. Check the weather in your destination and prepare accordingly.
Keep the paperwork
All travelers should keep emergency phone numbers with them: contact info for family members, the neighbors taking care of the cat and the bank might all come in handy. International travelers need a black and white copy of their passport, to speed up the process of getting a new one – and getting back home – if it's lost or stolen. Make sure you also bring any relevant insurance cards and confirmation numbers, just in case.
From everyone here at WRAL Out & About, have a safe and happy holidays, even if you're just staying home.