While the festive season can be a magical time spent with family and friends, the season to be merry can also be an absolute nightmare as most of the country goes on vacation at the exact same time. If you are travelling over the Christmas period, or you know someone who is, we’ve compiled these eight tips to help you make the most of this special time of year.
If there’s anything certain about organising a Christmas holiday it is that not all things will go to plan. That means that it’s worth planning ahead and even thinking about a Plan B wherever you can. That might mean being prepared in advance and reading the full terms and conditions of your travel insurance, or being flexible with your dates, changing your activities because of the weather, and even changing the departure dates completely because of cheaper flights or a change of plan. Whatever the case may be, it really helps to keep a few steps ahead and be prepared to change your expectations and your activities if necessary. Do that and you can watch your stress fly out the window.
One of the best ways to ensure that you’re not disappointed by the holiday rush and missing out on your dream Christmas escape, is to book as far in advance as possible. By doing that, not only do you have lots of time to plan and organise your trip (no end-of-year rush for you!) you’ll also be able to save a few pretty pennies in the process. Some organised few even decide their next year’s Christmas holiday or get-together over Christmas, that way everyone in the family gets a say to where to go and you save money by getting organised in advance. The more time you give yourself to buy your tickets and book your activities, the more likely you’ll be able to get the best possible deal. Winning!
If you’ve got a Seniors Card, then it is time to get some use out of that valuable piece of plastic. There are accommodation, transport, car rental, travel tours and insurance package discounts to take advantage of. So if you do have a Seniors Card, it is time to snap up a holiday bargain.
Whether you’re travelling by plane, train or automobile you can take advantage of discounted prices during off-peak times. Instead of packing up and heading on holiday on the same day that every other Tom, Dick and Harry, book your holiday for an off-peak day. Not only will you save money, but there will be less crowds and less stress in the process, too.
If you’re travelling during the holiday period, then no doubt you’re going to have a whole variety of pressies to give to family and friends. Now, you could pack them all in your suitcase and worry about weight restrictions, penalty fees and all the clothing you won’t be able to pack because you don’t have the space for it. But wouldn’t it be so much less stressful if you didn’t have any presents to bring with you at all? No, we’re not for a minute suggesting you should stop buying your Christmas presents, but it could make your Christmas travel a whole lot less stressful if you post or freight your presents instead.
Leading on from ditching the presents, it pays to pack as light as you possibly can anyway. Yes, yes, we all want to pack 34 outfits instead of the four we actually need, but having a smaller and much lighter suitcase is going to make your Christmas travels a whole lot less stressful and you’ll have room for the gifts you receive and the presents you buy for yourself while on holidays.
Things don’t always go to plan on holiday, or in life, and it’s how we react during those moments that really makes or breaks a situation. But if we can assume things might not always go according to plan, and allow time for delays, that can make life and holiday time go much more smoothly. All that means is that you assume there will be a delay in your flight and arrive at the airport a little bit earlier, buy a book at the airport and expect that there might be some traffic en route to your destination and you may arrive a little later. Go with the flow, when you can, decide whatever happens it’s not going to bother you and leave your worries behind at home.
Of course, the easiest way to avoid holiday travel stress is to stay as close to home as possible. Perhaps using the time to relax or get to know your own city or town. Whatever you decide to do during the holidays, reach out to the people around you, spread some holiday cheer and try to stress as little as possible.