A Guide to Stress-Free Holiday Travel
Many of us travel between early November and New Year’s Day, whether via a short road trip or an overseas flight. And while the idea of fighting crowds, navigating airports with children or even finding yourself on the receiving end of a flight delay may sound stressful, there are ways to approach this travel season with ease — even joy.
Here are a few tips on staying balanced through the stresses of holiday travels, regardless of where your plans take you. Each of these tips, based on the KonMari Method™, will help you clear space, stay organized and find ways to spark joy (even on a long, crowded flight).
Accept the Unknown
Before you start a packing list, take a moment to breathe. Visualize the joys that await you this holiday season — what are you most looking forward to? This is your holiday kurashi, or ideal way of spending your time. Then, remind yourself that the unexpected happens. Travel plans might change unexpectedly, but the holidays are what you make of them. Any time you feel stressed, take a moment to return to your kurashi — why are you doing this? By visualizing the joys you’ll find on the other end, you’ll feel more balanced and easeful the whole way through.
If you’re flying this holiday season, you know you’ll have to deal with crowds. If at all possible, try to pack only carry-on luggage. This, at least, allows you to cut down on an added wait at baggage claim. If you need to check bags, 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!
Always Give Yourself Extra Time
You can’t control the unexpected, but you can err on the side of caution. Plan to arrive at the airport with plenty of time or to start your road trip earlier than necessary. You’ll avoid feeling rushed, and it’s always better to arrive early than late!
Consider Your Sleep Schedule
If your holiday travels will carry you into new time zones, it can help to map out a sleep strategy to help you get on track as quickly as possible. If it makes more sense to stay awake through your flight — even if it’s late at night — to adapt to a new time zone, plan to pack some distractions that will keep you alert. If the opposite is true, download some sleep meditations or a white noise playlist and pack an eye mask to help make sleep come more easily.
Bring Soothing Essentials
Whether you’re traveling by car, plane or train, circulated air can wreak havoc on your skin. That’s especially true in winter. Drink plenty of water and pack a heavy moisturizer or oil and hand cream in your purse. If you tend to get stressed when traveling, bring soothing essential oils to apply to pulse points or for use in a travel diffuser (like these here and here).
Avoid the Crowds (As Much as Possible)
Take the earliest flight of the day. Bad weather causes flight delays in a ripple effect — later flights often suffer from more delays than early ones. If you’re driving, plan your travels around when holiday crowds typically hit the road — if possible, avoid Friday mornings before a holiday weekend!
Organize, But Don’t Wrap, Gifts
Use the KonMari Method™ approach to organize all joy-sparking gifts together in one part of your luggage. This makes them easier to locate when you arrive — and keeps anyone from stumbling on a gift intended as a surprise. If you’re flying, don’t wrap your gifts! TSA might require that you unwrap them if they struggle to determine the contents of your bag. You can pack furoshiki and other gift-wrapping supplies — or warn your loved ones you’ll need some support with wrapping when you arrive!
Above All: Be Kind and Practice Gratitude
Holiday travel is stressful for everyone, including the strangers caught in traffic with you and the overworked airline staff. If you find yourself in a moment of holiday stress, pause to practice gratitude. Let another car into your lane or extend a personal thank you to a flight attendant. It will bring you both added joy.
We wish you not only stress-free holiday travel but many joyful days with your family this season. Don’t forget to breathe!