How to Enjoy a Stress-Free Trip
Whether you’re traveling by air, train, or car, taking a trip to visit family or friends can be taxing. Purchasing your tickets, getting to the airport or train station on time, and waiting in long lines for security before boarding can frazzle the calmest person. Even if you are driving to your destination, traffic backups and accidents, or poor weather conditions can add to an already nerve-wracking trip.
However, this stress can be avoided. Here are some solutions to make your experience much more enjoyable!
- ALL: Consider traveling on the actual holiday.
The station, airport, and roadways will be clearer on Thanksgiving and Christmas. Fewer people around means less stress for all and an easier journey.
Ship your presents.
Buy early and send them to your destination with days to spare.
- TRAIN and AIR: Book your tickets as far in advance as possible.
Especially if you are traveling with others, you have a better chance of booking seats next to each other. Also, the earlier you make your reservations, the less expensive your tickets should be. For train travel, look at the Amtrak Deals for additional savings.
Go direct when possible.
“Flying during the holiday season is expensive, so you might be tempted to save a few bucks and opt for a flight itinerary with a stopover or two, but I always encourage people to fly direct whenever they can. Between inclement weather, overbooked planes, and other flight schedule mishaps, delays happen, so minimize travel plan disruption by flying direct to your destination. It will be exponentially less stressful — if your departure is delayed, you won’t miss your connecting flight, and there’s less of a chance that your luggage will be lost.” — Elizabeth Rhoades, Associate Digital Editor for Travel+Leisure
Double-check the airline, airport, or train policies
Find out how many bags you can check, what size your carry-on has to be, and if there are any extra fees associated with your flight or train trip.
- CAR: Download Waze onto your smartphone.
If you are driving, Waze will give you real-time alerts to problems up ahead of you and give you recommended reroutes to save time.
If your trip requires one or more overnights along the way, book your stays now.
Don’t wait for a few days before your trip to book your Airbnb or hotel accommodations. Figure out how many hours you are comfortable driving and then have an enjoyable dinner or downtime. Enjoy the journey!
The Departure Day
- ALL: Make sure you and your travel companions get plenty of sleep the night before.
Lack of sleep can make everyone irritable.
Don’t depart hungry or thirsty.
Hunger can make you edgy and unhappy. Grab a quick snack before boarding and pack water and protein bars for everyone.
Double-check all your bags before leaving to ensure you haven’t forgotten anything.
Bring a Kindle instead of books, limit yourself to one bag instead of two, and if needed, use the washer and dryer at your destination.
- TRAIN and AIR: Get to the depot/airport early.
Remember, anything can happen – an accident, poor weather conditions, or even road closures. Getting there with hours to spare allows time to have a cup of coffee or snack and get to the gate in plenty of time.
Please keep your tickets and boarding passes in a safe place, so they don’t get lost.
On The Train or Plane
Remember, trains and airplanes weren’t built for comfort. Everyone will essentially be in everyone’s personal space, even during this time of COVID-19.
- When traveling with children, consider having longer layover times to allow children to use the restroom, eat a meal and stretch their legs. Please bring your child’s favorite toy in your carry-on to keep them busy and entertained.
- Avoid drinking alcohol while en route.
Alcohol can lower a person’s ability to think or act appropriately. Turbulence, someone bumping into you, or a long line for the bathroom can cause the calmest person to go over the edge.
Upon Arrival at Your Destination
- Be patient and wait your turn to get off the train or plane.
Make sure you have all your carry-ons and belongings before you exit.
- Thank the conductor, pilot, and flight attendants as you depart.