Blustering, snow-covered landscapes. Airport monitors
flashing delays and cancellations in a festive array of
colors. Holiday travel time is coming, and if you and
your family (along with all your luggage and gifts) are
planning to visit loved ones, start preparing now.
“Put an open suitcase in your basement, and add a
little at a time,” suggests Nancy Cain, AAA Michigan
“Thinking ahead can make this tedious task easier
and even enjoyable,” agrees Michaeline Raczka, R.D.,
organizing expert. She suggests the following tips:
Start with a list for each family member taking
Choose luggage with wheels. Use soft-sided
luggage unless you are packing breakables.
Pack a color-coordinated wardrobe you can
mix and match. Pack layers (as opposed to
space-hogging, bulky sweaters or sweatshirts).
Roll clothes to avoid wrinkling. Zip zippers,
and button buttons.
Keep important records or medications in
your carry-on luggage.
Leave valuables at home.
“Generally you can get a cheaper airfare by traveling
on the holiday itself,” Nancy advises. “The earlier you
book, the better your chances of getting the flight and
time you want. Allow more time than you think you
will need. Parking lots fill, and snowstorms happen.
Check airline departure times, weather, traffic and
parking reports before departing, and have some
backup ideas ready to help you avoid panic if the
“The most common call for help we get is for dead batteries or
battery problems,” Nancy notes. “If you’re going by car, have
your battery checked before you head out.” She also advises:
Keep an emergency kit in your car (with a flashlight,
boots, hat and gloves).
Take an ice scraper/snow brush.
Keep your gas tank at least half full.
Check wiper blades and washer fluid.
Check tires, including your spare. Having enough air in
your tires will also help your fuel economy.
Once You Get There
“A lot of holiday stress has to do with connecting with family,
and these can be some of our most challenging relationships,”
acknowledges Donna Marie, HAP
REVIVE Simple Tools to
facilitator. You may decide up front that if
things become uncomfortable, you’ll gently, respectfully leave.
You can simply say, ‘Thanks so much; we’ve got a big day
tomorrow, so we’re going to get going.’
“Remember, you can’t control everything,” adds Donna.
“Plan to make light of stressful situations, and have fun in
those moments or hours in between. Remember, the best-laid
plans don’t always work out the way we intend.”
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