It’s enough to make you shudder with fear - holiday travel can be chaotic, stressful, and complicated. Battling crowded airports, endless security checkpoint lines, unstable weather, and jam-packed freeways is enough to make anyone feel like The Grinch.
Families tend to gather together to celebrate the holidays. Whether visiting with grandchildren, children, friends, or even taking a mid-winter trip to a tropical paradise, many seniors find that they need to travel during this high peak travel season.
There is no need to let the stress of travel destroy the joy and good cheer of the season. The following tips will help simplify this year’s holiday trip.
While the concept of “planning ahead” is broad, it is also the most important. Unexpected situations often come up while traveling, and your best defense is to have well-organized plans.
- Search many airlines and book your tickets early to get the best price.
- Hotels do fill up, book beforehand to ensure you have a place to stay.
- Plot your route and plan where you will stop for food and gas.
- Pre-book your activities and have a backup or two
- If you have health concerns – bring your doctor’s contact information, know where the local hospitals and pharmacies are, and make sure to bring all of your medications.
- Plan for crowds – when traveling over the holidays it is pretty much a given!
- Plan for weather – depending on where you are traveling, the weather can greatly affect your travel plans.
Know Your Limitations
Planning too much for your trip can destroy it. You want to enjoy your time and the holidays, and it is tempting to try and fill every second of your vacation. However, having too much to do can be tiring, draining, and even dangerous for seniors suffering from medical concerns or limited mobility.
- Being realistic about how much activity you can handle will help you have more fun.
- Communicate with your friends and families about your needs, so everyone can be prepared.
- Call ahead to restaurants, hotels, and entertainment spots to confirm that there are accommodations to meet your specific needs.
- Listen to your body! Avoid an injury by being aware of what you are feeling and not being too embarrassed to let others know that you need a break.
Helping simplify your trip, pre-shipping your holiday gifts is a great way to feel less burdened while traveling. Consider wrapping your presents once you arrive, and this way you don’t need to worry about your wrapping getting damaged during travel.
Airlines now charge for suitcases, have luggage weight restrictions, and limit your carry-on items. Trying to drag your gifts through the airport is stressful and difficult. Shipping ahead of time will help you move quickly through the airport, avoid your presents being lost with luggage, and allow you to shop for whatever you would like, not just what will fit in your carry-on.
Pack Light and Smart
Though it is tempting to pack a whole lot of clothes and every personal item you think you could possibly need – avoid packing too much! You don’t want to burden yourself with excessive weight and luggage.
Pack smart – bring the right amount of clothing, or even a little less; you can always do a load of laundry while at a family member’s house. Bring the important things, like medications, and leave behind unnecessary items, duplicates, and things you think you “might” need.
Pack light, and spend your time enjoying your vacation!
Never underestimate the power of a positive attitude. Know that traveling at all, especially during the holidays, can be a little crazy. With a smile and a positive demeanor you can let the little things roll of your back and not let the stress poison your holiday. Let the joy of the season fill you, get where you are going, and enjoy spending the happiest time of the year with loved ones.