Stress-free holiday travel Part I: The Preparation

December 23, 2010 by  
Filed under STRESS

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Holiday season and traveling. For many people, it’s all about getting stranded or lost somewhere in the chaos. The story of little Kevin of the “Home Alone” series and the current problems in almost all major airports in the northern hemisphere is enough to make even the most seasoned traveler to say “No way will I be caught flying at time of the year.”

Normally we wouldn’t either. But this time it’s different. Family reasons require us to fly down under to New Zealand via Australia and spend the holidays there. For us, however, it is not a trip of duty but a great opportunity. We needed no second urging to say “Yes, we are coming!”.

So here we are, getting ready to fly on the 23rd of December.

Now, holiday travel can be pretty stressful and chaotic but if planned properly, it can actually be a pleasure. So here are some tips to take away the stress from holiday travel

Prepare way ahead.

Book tickets, car rentals and accommodations way ahead. Especially when you are going where it’s peak season. It’s summer holidays down under.

Prepare a checklist.

Over the years, we’ve used a checklist for traveling, starting from the packing to the last minute things like taking out the garbage and turning off all electronics. The checklist has been updated over the years, when nappies and sippie cups have been replaced by play cards and drawing materials.

Secure the documents.

There is nothing more important in travelling than having all the necessary documents. Here is list of important documents to pack:

  • Passports and visas
  • A paper copy of your ticket!
  • Health insurance cards
  • Vaccination records
  • Other relevant medical info
  • A paper copy of important phone numbers and addresses

Pack smartly. Pack way ahead.

If you are making several stops, then pack smartly. Before heading to NZ, we are stopping by for a couple of days in OZ. We have packed a special bag just for OZ. The rest of the luggage stays at the airport storage.

Order foreign currency way ahead.

Going to a foreign country? It’s best to order a small amount in the currency of your destination at your bank. Enough for a bus, train or taxi fare. This saves you the hassle upon arrival of finding a bank machine which hopefully will accept your card.

Opt for early/ web check in.

Avoid the long queues and the fight for good seats. Use web check in whenever possible. Upon booking several months back, we could already choose our seats online. We are only flying today but the luggage has been checked in last night. With our hand-carry back packs, we’ll be taking the bus or train to the airport tonight. No problems with traffic jams or parking.

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