Tips and Tricks for Traveling During the Holidays Season
Navigation, Harmony, and Holiday Cheer
Let’s face it – we all look forward to and agonize over holiday traveling. The prospect of an adventure out on the roads, something to take us out of our element and away from the maniacal routine of life, a chance to spend long-overdue time with family watching (for the only 12th time, if your lucky) Chevy Chase rechristen our understanding of solid buffoonery in “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” or to share with the younger generation in our midst Jimmy Stewart’s well-timed awakening in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” can be as rejuvenating as it is daunting. Better to make the transition into pure Christmas relaxation and bliss as smooth as possible; we have earned it after all. Allow me, dear reader, to provide you and yours some tidbits of advice, “tips and tricks,” as it were, to guide you along your way as smoothly as Santa bumping along God’s daisy chain with 12 well-fed and fueled reindeer:
Leave early-very early.
Someone suggested to me years ago to begin my travel along what were to be highly congested routes affronted by even more numerous tolls at midnight. Midnight? Precisely. Launching surprise attacks on unsuspecting Route 95’s all the way up to New York always catches the anaconda in 2nd stage REM. The serene effect of darkness may also lessen the “are we there yet?” factor inspired by broad daylight.
Resist the urge to over-pack.
This is a major pitfall for many, particularly those of whom succumb to the idea that changing into three or more outfits for every segment of the day is a zesty enterprise sure to make the right impression and freshen one’s soul in time for dinner. Not so. Consider that you will leave with more than with what you came (or stuffed into a suitcase) and must then unpack and post-festival. Be simple. You’ve earned it.
Leave the pets.
As much as we all adore Max/Fido/MrBigglesworth, we are lovely guests welcomed into someone’s home, a home that is not ours (at least not for the entire 365); let us take a moment to consider the notion that everyone is not as fond of the funny, charming, drooling fluff-ball as we, and that an ideal alternative is to find a pet-sitter. In this age of ripe technology and endless selfies, our “Rover” rep will send streaming evidence that this lovable blot is enjoying the holidays as much as Mommy and Daddy.
Backup the paper.
Someone I knew once used the term “paper” to describe money, and find that this succinctly qualifies anything that might be “a ticket to freedom”: currency, traveler’s checks (cheques, if your English), tickets, alternate plastic, passport, and alternate ID’s. I never cease to be amazed at how many times I have dropped/lost my debit card, misplaced my driver license, been without my cell phone (egads! There goes my scannable plane ticket), and, in one instance, witnessed American Express Traveler’s Checks to completely salvage one person’s vacation entirely. Allow me to elaborate on the merits of the seemingly outdated travel check for just a moment. My mother and I went to New York several years ago, flew to be more precise. Upon landing, it was discovered that she had left her entire collection of money, travelers' checks, identification, and credit cards in a single bound clip on the airport counter prior to takeoff and hadn’t a snowball’s chance in hell of ever seeing it again. So there the matriarch was, for all intents and purposes, stranded. What was our saving grace you ponder? American Express. After a night of fretful hand-wringing and phone calls, they welcomed us into their downtown Manhattan office, immediately and unhesitatingly replacing the traveler's checks, reinstating her ability to move about the city, patronize Macy’s to full capacity, and give me relief from worrying about her worrying. The flight situation proved a bit more difficult, requiring an overnighted passport and marriage certificate as no state-issued ID could be procured at this stage.
I hope the experiences related above may prove useful to you dear reader, in some small way, allowing you to enjoy this Holiday Season with a little less stress and a little more satisfied caroling, egg nogging, and movie-watching (if that be your thing) with hearts and minds full of the best.