Most of us will be traveling over the winter holidays. Whether that’s a joyful reunion with loved ones or a vacation just for fun - it's a good thing! Still, as much as we look forward to these trips, holiday travel invariably comes with a few extra challenges…
First - holiday trips tend to get squeezed in over school breaks and long weekends, which don’t offer much, if any flexibility. Secondly - between snow, ice, frozen rain and wind, the winter weather can be quite dodgy (fingers crossed for clear skies!). Third - (and I saved the worst for last) there are millions of other people cramming their travel into the same precious dates, destinations and carriers. This can all add up major stress battling crowds, facing delays or last minute changes in airports, train stations or the road.
I can pretty much guarantee it - when it comes to holiday travel, something unexpected will happen - but it doesn’t need to throw off your whole experience.
Why should you listen to me?
Well, as an expat from The UK, living in LA with a passion for Hawaii - I’ve racked up a few miles in my day. I know a thing or two about travel, travel-stress and how to avoid it. Based on the bits of wisdom gained through my decades transiting the globe, I’ve put together a short guide to share with you. It’s in no way comprehensive - there are other blogs covering fare hacks, airport maps and advice on travel insurance. My tips and suggestions are all centered on your comfort, health and wellness. They span the practical, the personal and the intangible aspects of travel.
So…without further ado, here are my tips on staying calm, balanced and sane through the stresses of holiday travel, regardless of where your plans take you.
- Plan Ahead To Avoid the Crowds
Always take the earliest flight of the day. Delays have a knock-on effect - later flights tend to suffer more than early ones. If you’re driving, pack the car the night before and get going early, avoiding when holiday crowds typically hit the road — if at all possible, avoid Friday mornings before a holiday weekend!
- Travel Light
Everyone over-packs. It’s hard to know exactly what you’ll want to wear on vacation - but, if you’re anything like me, you usually end up wearing the same few things the whole time. So challenge yourself to bring less - in fact, try to pack only a carry-on. This will at least save you time waiting at baggage claim (or heaven-forbid, lost luggage!) If you need to check bags, always pack a set of clothes and toiletry essentials in your carry-on, just in case your bag doesn’t reach your destination when you do!
- Keep Soothing Essentials Close At Hand
Whether you’re traveling by car, plane or train, dry circulated air can wreak havoc on your skin, throat and sinuses - and that’s especially true in winter. So be sure to drink plenty of water and of course keep your purse well-stocked with products designed to soothe. I never travel without my Coconut Lip Balm and Throat Soak Lozenges. I’m a firm believer in prevention - so you’ll see me sipping water, applying balm and enjoying a lozenge well before dryness catches me.
If it’s your nerves that need soothing (from a fear of flying, mild claustrophobia or just the hustle and bustle of travel), I highly recommend our Fly Calm Patch. Formulated specifically for travelers and infused with calming herbs and minerals, I never board without it.
Do I really need to explain this one? Probably not.
Snacks are the one category where I say - go ahead, overpack. Better to have it and not need it!
- Download a great playlist or new TV show
Listening to your favorite playlist can help you bide the time while waiting to board your flight. So put together some of your favorite songs and just relax and enjoy the memories a great song can evoke. I have a special playlist that I listen to only when I fly called "Travel Mix" and it has all of my favorite songs on it from over the years! Or use your free time while on the plane or train to finally watch that new binge-worthy TV show that you have had on your To-Do list for months! My latest favorite must-watch show is "Lessons in Chemistry" with Brie Larson on Apple +. What a beautiful show and worth the watch!
- Don’t Sleep On Sleep-Hygiene
If your holiday plans take you across time zones, you’ll need a sleep strategy to help you get on track as quickly as possible. It might actually make more sense to stay awake through your flight - even if it’s overnight. If that’s the case: bring plenty of stimulating entertainment (personally, I’m saving Harry’s memoir for my next long-haul). If the opposite is true and you need to get to sleep: download a white-noise playlist, pack an eye mask (a thick dark one) and take advantage of products that help you relax naturally. Our topical Relax Patch applied before bedtime, can help you drift off into a peaceful night’s slumber. And our Lavender Sleep Mist not only smells amazing, it also helps you to relax and unwind before bedtime. The 80ml spritz bottle is TSA friendly and can go in your carry-on!
- Above All: Be Kind And Practice Gratitude
Hopefully, with a bit of preparation, you’ll be able to keep your cool and avoid (or at least cope with) some of the stress of holiday travel. And remember, it’s taxing for everyone, including fellow travelers and overworked staff. If you find yourself getting riled up, pause to practice gratitude or do a nice thing. Let another car into your lane, give up your seat for an elderly traveler or extend a personal thank you to a flight attendant. It will bring you both relief.
We wish you stress-free holiday travel and many joyful days with your family this season. Don’t forget to breathe!