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5 Tips to Help Keep You Sane While Traveling this Christmas

Traveling during the holidays can be challenging at best. We’re sharing 5 Christmas Travel tips to help preserve your sanity this holiday season.christmas travel tips

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If I had to give you one piece of advice when it comes to traveling at Christmas, I’d say “expect the unexpected.”

That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have a pessimistic mindset, it simply means that I’ve traveled enough to realize that things don’t always go the way you’ve planned.

It’s much easier to deal with the hitches and setbacks if you’ve planned for them, or at least thought through a few “what ifs?” 

Today I’ll share 5 tips to help keep you sane if you plan to be traveling this Christmas.

5 Tips to Save Your Sanity During Christmas Travel

  1. Service your vehicle before hitting the road. 

If you’re driving, have your vehicle inspected before making a long trip. I have a few suggestions in this post: Is Your Vehicle Road Trip Ready? Important Road Trip Maintenance Tips to Know Before Your Trip Starts.  

If you’ve ever had car problems and have been stranded alongside the road you know how frustrating or terrifying that can be. For peace of mind, I suggest having your vehicle inspected, the tires checked, and fluids topped off prior to traveling.

I also recommend that you carry a good spare with you. And make sure you can access it easily. If your spare is tucked up under the vehicle, and you haven’t sed it or if your car is older, take a minute to lower it and make sure that you can get to it. The mechanisms are known to have problems on some vehicles and it won’t do you any good to have a spare you can’t use. Just ask me how I know. 

Tip:  If you’re a frequent road tripper and your insurance does not offer a roadside assistance program, consider purchasing AAA or a similar roadside assistance program.

We’ve used AAA for anything from flat tires to running out of gas (my husband, not me), a lockout (that would be me) and to tow our vehicle on more than one occasion over the years. 

2. Budget for emergencies and travel with some cash.

Since we earn travel rewards, my husband and I pretty much use our credit card for everything and then pay it off each month. This goes for purchases around the house and travel. Just because we may have a high credit limit doesn’t mean that we can be irresponsible and not set a budget before we travel. Remember, we have to pay those expenses eventually. 

Even though we place the bulk of our travel expenses on a credit card, we still make sure we carry some cash for emergencies. 

Traveling during the holidays can be difficult. If you’re flying, you may encounter delayed and canceled flights that require you to spend more time at the airport where you may need to purchase food and drinks or in some instances, you may need to get a hotel nearby. 

When road tripping, you may run into inclement weather, vehicle problems, sickness, you name it, you could experience it. 

Pepto Bismal, Fix-a-Flat, and an added hotel stay all add to your expenses. 

When it comes to Christmas travel, determine your budget and then pad it for unexpected expenses. Be prepared. 

3. Keep a stash of “emergency” gear in your car.  

My grandmother had a list of items that she always carried in the car when traveling.

Growing up, I thought she was crazy but now I see the benefit of each item.

In addition to a roadside emergency kit, I’ve learned to keep paper bags, a wet wipes, napkins or toilet paper (you just never know), a jug of water to drink or clean up messes, a cup, crackers, small first aid kit, a lantern, a portable battery charger,  and a small trash bag. In cooler weather, I also make sure we have a couple of blankets, hand warmers, and kitty litter in addition to a roadside emergency kit

4. Allow extra travel time.

Nothing stresses me out more than running behind. I like to be punctual.

If you’re traveling at Christmas, make sure you allow plenty of extra time for heavy traffic, bad weather or traffic snafus.

5. Keep the kids occupied.

Even though my kids are teenagers, it doesn’t take much to start WWIII in the back seats.

Before we leave the house, I make sure they double-check that they have their phones (it’s not likely they’ll forget them), their favorite snacks,  a travel pillow and/or light blanket (they like to be comfy) and their wireless earbuds.

This all makes them happy and after all, I’m happy when they’re happy. 

Above all, remember to be patient with your fellow travelers.

You aren’t the only one that wants to reach their destination before Christmas Day! 

What tips have you learned that allow you to stay sane during Christmas travels?

Are you looking for more travel tips? Here are some of our favorites: 

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Tonya @ Live the Adventure

Saturday 3rd of December 2011

lol! You understand perfectly! Forget the saying "if mama ain't happy...", when it comes to traveling it's definitely "if the kids aren't happy....".

e-Expeditions

Friday 2nd of December 2011

I am in immense agreement with #5. Keep the kids sane, keep -everyone- sane. :)

Tonya @ Live the Adventure

Thursday 1st of December 2011

I'd love to travel across Canada as well. Not sure that will ever happen. My husband and I did spend our honeymoon at Niagara Falls several years ago. It's only about 4 1/2 hours from our home and we'd love to take the kids but now that we need passports it's a bit more prohibitive. We could visit the American side, but you really do get a better view of the falls from Canada. Maybe one of these days. :) What places would you visit?

Honey @ Sunflower Schoolhouse

Thursday 1st of December 2011

These are all great ideas for those holiday road trips. I look forward to when our family has a vehicle again, as I have dreams of traveling across Canada some day. 

Tonya @ Live the Adventure

Wednesday 30th of November 2011

Good point, Nicole! We've been in that position too. Last year we had a tire blow out and when we grabbed the spare it was flat. :( Fortunately, we were only a few minutes from a gas station so we were able to limp our way there. :( You really don't want that added stress while traveling, do you? Thanks for stopping by and sharing your experience! :)

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