Travelling can be stressful, but when you add crowded airports, bumper to bumper traffic and flight delays, those stress levels increase by the minute. By the time you finally reach your destination chances are you’ll have a headache, you’ll be exhausted and all you’ll want to see is a comfortable bed instead of family.
When you finally touchdown you want people to say “oh wow you look great”, instead of “yeah, you need a vacation!”. Here are 8 ways to deal with holiday travel stress.
1. Make a packing list based on your daily routine
Set aside 30 minutes to sit down with paper and pen. The best way to make sure you don’t forget anything is to run through your day and make a list of everything you do and use. Mine looks something like this:
Wake up: charge phone (charger and adapter) and brush teeth: toothbrush, toothpaste, mouthwash, floss
Shower: loofah, shower milk, scrub, razor, towel, lotion
Get dressed: underwear, socks, spray, underarm
Yup, it sounds pedantic but rather pedantic than forgetting something small but crucial, like special skin cream or an adapter.
2. Travel during off-peak times
Nope, nobody wants that flight leaving at 10pm – and that makes it perfect. The chances of having kids on that flight are less and the airport will be quieter than it would in the daytime. The airport staff most likely just changed shift so you’ll deal with airport staff that are fresh and ready for the next few hours ahead of them – instead of someone who just needed to deal with 50 people in the middle of a crisis.
3. Download your favourite stress reliever
If you’re thinking that going to the airport during the festive season is going to be a walk in the park, it’s time to rethink that. Planes will be delayed, there will be babies crying, kids and adults running around and a general feeling of chaos in the air. But it doesn’t have to affect you.
Buy noise cancelling headphones and a portable charger. The day before your flight, make sure that you download your favourite tv shows, movies or games and charge your phone and charger. That should leave you with hours of ways to spend time!
4. Make a list of what stresses you out
Does the cost of travelling get you all worked up? Maybe it’s about how you’ll get to and from the airport. Maybe you don’t want to wait around alone at the airport for hours. Make a list of all these points well in advance and then address them. Rope your friends and family in to keep an eye out for the best travel deals, or speak to a travel agent instead. Book a cab in advance or check whether the area has Uber so you know you’re all sorted for a lift. Get your friends together and have them come with you to the airport to pass the time. Turn it into a farewell party, book a table at the airport restaurant and spend the time chatting and you won’t feel the time.
5. Be prepared for delays
I know, I know, you have faith that everything will work out. But the chances of that happening are slim. So rather than face disappointment, prepare yourself for delays, lots of kids and noise – this way, the small things won’t spoil your trip.
6. Leave early, way early
This one follows from point 5. A general rule is to be at the airport a solid 2 hours before your departure time. Add 30 minutes for having to wait for your Uber or cab, another one hour for traffic and another 30 mins for finding your way through the airport. That means you now need to leave at least 4 hours before your departure time.
7. Indulge in some self-care
Whatever your self-care looks like, treat yourself. Go for a run, go to the spa, have a great meal and watch a movie, wind down your mind and body. You’ll want to be totally relaxed when you start travelling.
Flying during the holidays can be stressful, but if you have a plan and you’re prepared, then you’ll reach your destination with the same amount of grey hairs as when you left! Happy holidays and happy travels!