The holiday season is in full effect. Thanksgiving is this week, and the winter holidays are just around the corner. This week I was at two homes that were already all decked out for Christmas!
You are probably gearing up for holiday parties and looking forward to (or dreading) spending time with family. A lot of Americans are traveling for the holidays this year. In fact, it’s expected to be one of the most traveled holiday seasons in recent years. AAA predicts that 48.7 million people will travel for Thanksgiving in 2016. That’s a lot of people on the roads and in the airport security line.
Traveling during the holidays is even more stressful than any other vacation or trip. Travelers this time of year have to deal with a lot. There are crowds everywhere, and bad weather can delay flights and cause trouble on the road. Because there is so much going on this time of year, it makes planning your trip that much more difficult.
For those of you who don’t know, I have three young kids ages 6, 4 and 3, and they are always ready for a holiday adventure. We travel to visit family and friends and have had to deal with the craziness of holiday travel on more than one occasion.
The one thing that always seems to save the day on these trips is careful planning and organization. Living an organized life has allowed me and my family to get away for holiday trips without extra stress.
So, here are my tips for holiday travel to help you manage all that the holiday’s throw at us, and do so with a smile and full of holiday cheer.
- Make a list (or two or three), and check it twice. Writing down the tasks you need to accomplish gets all your thoughts out of your head and on paper. This allows you to start accomplishing tasks and stop thinking about them! List everything you need to bring, like gifts, food, and special gear such as skis or swimsuits. List your travel schedule, and what you’ll need when you’re traveling such as snacks and games to keep the kids busy. Make a packing list for each person, include what type of clothing they’ll need for each day, and all toiletries and medication they use.
- Prep, Prep, Prep. It’s best to do as much as you can days or even weeks before your trip. Packing can be done a week or more in advance. If you are managing multiple trips, can you pack for both at once? What about food prep? Are there dishes or ingredients that you can make now and freeze for later? Get your shopping done as early as possible, and wrap everything, so it’s ready to go.
- Organize your travel paperwork. Print out all your reservations, tickets, etc., and have them ready to go in a file. Don’t forget to include passports and IDs if necessary. Make sure you have your insurance information and a list of credit card phone numbers in case anything goes missing.
- Utilize the USPS or UPS. Ship packages or ski gear ahead of time, so you aren’t lugging extra items when you are trying to travel. Ship gifts directly to their recipients. Use Amazon if you can. They’ll wrap and ship your gifts, and all you have to do is click.
- Don’t wait, unpack as soon as you get home. Unpacking right away can get you right back on track, and ready for what the next week has in store for you. Don’t procrastinate this task. It’s not the most fun part of the trip, but getting the bags put away will save you time and sanity in the long run.
- Most of All! Be Nice not Naughty. Be nice to everyone you encounter during the holidays, flight attendants, baggage carriers, valet drivers, store clerks, postal workers, and even family members. Remember we are all in this holiday season together, and if we can all go about it with a smile on our face it will make it much merrier!
Comment below with helpful tips you have for getting through holiday travel. Don’t forget to follow me on social media for daily inspiration, and more tips for a more organized life.