Despite the fact that 79% of domestic trips are for leisure purposes, most families realize that travel isn’t very relaxing at all. Though you might be hoping to get some much-deserved rest and relaxation while you’re on vacation, the stress of planning, traveling, and coordinating can make you so anxious that you can’t even appreciate your surroundings. If you’ve got a family trip coming up and want to reduce your stress levels as much as possible, you might want to check out the following helpful tips.
- Make a packing list: The idea of leaving important items behind or paying astronomical fees for overweight luggage can make your heart rate go up in a mere instant. That’s why it’s important to start packing early and make a list of everything you’ll need to bring on your vacation. That way, you’ll have a visual reminder of the essentials and can think more clearly, even amongst all the clutter. This can be an excellent way to keep track of what every family member is bringing and make adjustments if needed. Anything you can do to avoid those feelings of panic and dread while packing and traveling will be to your benefit.
- Try to be flexible: There are some parts of your vacation itinerary that you can’t leave to chance, such as flight reservations, restaurant bookings, and event tickets. But resist the urge to schedule everything to the last second. If you’re a natural planner, doing so might make you feel more at-ease before you leave. However, it can be a real cause of stress once you’re actually there. Allow yourself a bit of wiggle room and permission to deviate from your schedule if need be. Keep in mind that the well-being of your family (including yourself!) is more important than trying to squeeze in that last sight-seeing tour or museum.
- Plan around routines: That said, there are things you shouldn’t deviate from, particularly if you’re traveling with younger children. Infants and toddlers do need their rest and can get cranky if they’re being forced to do too much; straying from their normal meal times can also result in a meltdown. If at all possible, try to book your flights and schedule your activities with these routines in mind. That’ll give you some framework for your days and will make both kids and parents much less grumpy.
- Give yourself plenty of time: Generally, it’s a good idea to arrive at the airport at least 90 minutes ahead of domestic departures. For holidays and international flights, even more time is required. When you’re going on a family vacation with younger children or if you’re nervous about getting through security, you may want to give yourself as much breathing room as possible. Larger airports with multiple terminals can be confusing, particularly if you have to deal with last-minute gate changes. If you end up having extra time, that might even to be everyone’s benefit; you’ll have a chance to grab some food, read, listen to music, or relax before takeoff.
- Plan for airplane storage issues: Always operate under the assumption that the overhead baggage compartments will be full. If you plan ahead to gate-check your luggage or are able to store it under the seat in front of you, you won’t feel your anxiety levels rise when you realize you’re on a full flight and you’re in the last boarding group. (Of course, if you’re able to board the plane early, this might be a plus for your family anyway.) Be sure to transfer any essentials from gate-checked bags into your personal item just in case!
When it comes time to plan your next vacation, you’ll relieve some stress if you #flyCRW with your family. We aim to make the travel experience convenient and hassle-free. And with our array of amenities and airline carriers, we’ll help start your trip off on the right foot!