Holiday Travel Tips: How to Reduce Stress, Save Money

The holiday season finds many people scurrying around planning, shopping and getting ready for family. However, those traveling also know the holiday season can add a new level of stress trying to book flights, accommodations and the dozen other things that have to be done. The good news is with a few simple steps, you can reduce unnecessary stress and headaches. To help ease the pains, we rounded up some holiday travel tips to help you along the way:

13 Holiday Travel Tips: Reduce Stress and Expenses

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Download Apps

Travel apps can serve as your personal assistant. The best ones save travelers time and money, and help reduce stress during the holiday season. Looking for airfare deals? What about cheap gas prices or flight updates? There’s an app for it. Before leaving home, make sure to download and test the travel apps, ensuring they suit your holiday travel needs.

Book a Last-minute Rental

Some don’t realize many vacation rental companies offer last-minute booking discounts. Instead of booking a hotel room last-minute, which can costs hundreds more due to price hikes, check out available last-minute rentals. Vacation rental deals can save guests hundreds to thousands of dollars on accommodations, while providing guests more space, comfort and security.

Pack A Few Days Before Departure

A few days before traveling, look ahead at weather conditions and pack accordingly. Not only does this allow for more time to plan for unexpected weather and events, it also reduces the risk of forgetting something important. Try to pack as light as possible, lay out items you may need the departure date, and set them close to luggage. A few examples include: a winter coat, prescription medicines and personal hygiene items.

Travel Early or Late

One of the busiest travel days of the year is the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Avoid these crowds and other peak travel times by leaving a day or two early or the day of the holiday. Those departing a couple of days earlier will enjoy more downtime and have an opportunity to finish those last-minute tasks. The day of the holiday usually has reduced traffic, wait times and people, allowing travelers a more seamless departure process. Also, leave as early in the morning or as late in the day as the schedule allows to reduce stress caused by traffic.

Buy and Wrap Gifts Later

If planning to bring gifts on board a plane, plan to spend more time at security checks. To avoid this, travelers have two options: They can ship gifts to their destination ahead of time, or simply buy and wrap once they arrive. Those driving should pack unwrapped presents and wrapping materials, and wrap as needed. Gift bags are another great option as they allow easy access for security checkpoints and reduce gift-wrapping costs and time.

Celebrate on a Different Day

Perhaps one of the most overlooked holiday travel tips is simply celebrating on another day. The weekends before and after holidays are ideal dates and allow families to spend more time together on the day itself. What if the holiday falls on a weekend? No problem. Just plan to celebrate on the Friday before or the Monday after, and make the most of a long weekend.

Stay Healthy

It’s easy to neglect healthy living options when consumed with holiday to-do lists and events. Two ways to stay healthy are to get plenty of rest and eat well. Try to get at least seven hours of sleep a night and set a routine. Lack of sleep will increase anxiety and fatigue, and make travelers not feel their best. In addition to sleeping, eating well helps increase energy and reduce stress. Avoid excessive amounts of caffeine, and eat proteins for energy. As an extra step, pack healthy snacks to avoid hunger pains and cranky moods.

Quick Tips Before Leaving

With planning and a little effort, holiday travel stress can nearly disappear. In addition to the above, here are a few quick holiday travel tips before leaving for your destination:

  • Wake up early and take some time for yourself.
  • Fill up the car the night before and mark it off the to-do list.
  • Charge your phone and other devices the night before departure.
  • Make a list or two and delegate responsibilities.
  • Set realistic expectations and small goals.
  • Smile and laugh often. Some studies show smiling and laughing often reduce stress, anxiety and calm heart rates.