4 Hacks to Reduce Holiday Travel Stress

Travel stress, who? Start your holidays off on a positive note.

It's the holiday season. Also known as cold and flu season, low vitamin D season and high sugar and stress season.

Prepare yourself for this multifaceted time of the year by boosting your nutrition with Food Hacks for the Holidays, prioritizing sleep with four simple strategies, assessing your immune strength with imaware's easy at-home Immune Defense Test and managing stress where possible. 

Tackle the high-stress area of holiday travel with these four hacks:  

1. Make a to-do list to complete before it’s time to go ✅

Don't leave everything to the last minute — prepping for travel always takes longer than you think. Use this list as an outlet for anything you're worried about remembering in the wake of holiday chaos, be it eating perishables in the fridge, taking out the compost or packing that one sweater you always seem to forget. The to-do list can also help determine whether you have all your packing essentials, like travel-sized bottles or medications.

In your preparations, it's also easy to forget about yourself. Use imaware's Men's and Women's Health & Wellness tests for fast, easy and convenient at-home general health check-ups. Start your holidays and new year off with better health awareness. 

2. Choose your travel schedule wisely ⏩

As it is peak travel time, see if you can swing a work schedule that will enable you to utilize the least busy travel dates. Specific dates change each year depending on what days certain holidays fall and your transport mode. For example, according to The Vacationer, the best days to fly somewhere for Christmas 2023 are December 18th, 19th, 20th, 24th, 25th, 28th and 29th, while the worst are December 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 26th and 27th.

This already hectic time of year is also prone to delays and cancellations, so don't rely too heavily on things being on time. Build some backup plans and give yourself extra time to get where you need to be (within reason). 

3. Bring your A-game to packing 🛄

Please don't wait until the morning of departure to start packing; running around frantically grabbing things is not the way to reduce stress. Whether embarking on a road trip or flying, begin by ensuring all your essentials (snacks, headphones, charger, extra socks, etc.) remain within easy access. 

If you are flying, it is extra important to use strategic packing techniques. Aspire to be the person TSA can use as a shining example for everyone else going through security (#travelgoals, am I right?). Breeze through security by pre-sorting your liquids in a clear baggie, having larger electronics ready to unpack, and not wrapping gifts since they may need to be unwrapped for inspection. If you are only taking a carry-on suitcase, plan to wear your bulkier, warm clothing on the flight to save precious space (or invest in compression packing cubes). Finally, label your bags. Whether they are carry-on or checked, ensure all your bags have a tag with your contact information because things are easily misplaced in this holiday madness!

4. Stay up to date on all schedule changes (because there will be changes) 📳

Don't start your holiday on a sour note by missing your flight or getting caught up in traffic. Stay current on the status of airports, train stations, bus depots and roads. 

For the flyers: Turn on notifications for any flight delays, cancellations or gate changes. It's also a good idea to monitor earlier flights at your departure and arrival airports to assess how things are flowing, as it may impact your flight time.

For the road-trippers: Monitor delays like construction or accidents that can cause long waits and plan your route accordingly. Weather conditions may be another important consideration depending on where you're driving. If you are questioning road conditions, see if webcams are available, ensure you have the correct seasonal tires and pack an emergency bag just in case. 

Finally, try not to stress about things out of your control — you've done what you can, so now it is time to sit back and relax. 

Looking for other ways to manage stress this holiday season? Check out our 8 Hacks for the Holidays 🎄or boost your mood with Feel-Good Hacks 😄.