Your Healthy Holiday Travel Survival Guide


Have you seen the classic 80s movie Planes, Trains and Automobiles? Unlikely travel companions Steve Martin and John Candy get stuck making their way home for the holidays and navigate a bunch of stressful and hilarious situations. Fun to watch on screen; not so fun to experience in real life.

The mega-holiday that spans Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day is upon us. If you’re like millions of others across this great nation, you’ll be going somewhere to celebrate the holidays with family and friends. Whether you’re traveling one mile or several thousand to get there, you’re sure to encounter a mishap or two worthy of your own moment on the big screen.

Here are my tips for surviving hectic travel experiences in one piece so you’re ready to enjoy the holiday cheer once you get there.

Tip 1: Carry-On Only

Restricting yourself to a carry-on bag only is a good rule any time of year, but especially during the holidays. Keep your sanity intact by packing light. You’ll avoid the long wait at the baggage claim and also know exactly where all your stuff is at all times.

Bonus Tip: The carry-on only strategy can be tougher for families with kids, but I’ve made my son roll his own smaller sized carry-on suitcase since he was five years old. Kids love a job, so give them ownership over their bag.

Tip 2: Ship It, Don’t Schlep It

Nothing will kill your ability to follow Tip 1 faster than trying to bring gifts with you on the plane. If you buy them early enough, ship your gifts to your destination. Even Santa would ship if UPS and FedEx could make it to the North Pole. You can choose a different shipping destination through your favorite mega online retailer, which makes shipping super simple.

Bonus Tip: I pack a duffle bag in my carry-on for all of the gifts my generous family and friends are sure to give me. While this may mean I have to check a bag on the way back, it’s always nice to have the space and the option.

Tip 3: Keep It Charged

Your phone is your lifeline while you’re traveling. It helps you keep track of your tickets, travel confirmations, and receipts. It will also get you out of a jam when the inevitable monkey-wrench gets thrown into your plans. Charge it before you go, and keep your charger in your carry-on or personal bag so it’s nearby when you need to recharge.

Bonus Tip: Everything is getting smarter, including suitcases that can now charge your phone and do a whole lot more. Check out the 5 Gadgets All Travelers Should Have for 2018.

Tip 4: Safety First On the Road 

If you’re traveling by car instead, safety should be your top priority. While your phone can be your lifeline while flying, it can be deadly on the road—so don’t text while driving. It’s also a good idea to get your car in tip-top shape. Prioritize tires (treads and inflation), fluids (antifreeze and oil), your battery (replace if older than three years), and an emergency kit that includes food, blankets, water, and a snow shovel if you’re traveling where it’s cold.

Bonus Tip: I like to leave early to get a jump on commuters. I start my trip in the pre-dawn hours (we’re talking 3 a.m.!) to avoid sitting in rush-hour traffic.

Tip 5: Keep a Level Head

Yes, things will go wrong when your travel. I’ve always found it helps to repeat a few key calming phrases when the going gets tough. You can also practice meditation if you have a few spare moments while waiting to board the plane or at a rest stop.

Bonus Tip: The mind-body connection is strong, and you can trick your brain into relaxing by calming your body through breathing exercises. Breathe in for a count of five, purse your lips, and slowly exhale for a count of seven to 10. This will slow your heart rate and make you feel better.

Safe travels and happy holidays!


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