How To Ease Thanksgiving Travel Stress

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Traveling for Thanksgiving is stressful at the best of times. 50 million Americans travel for the long Thanksgiving weekend by car, train, and plane. With that many people out trying to get somewhere plus all the stress of making sure you have taken care of everything you’ll need for the next few days it can be a very trying time. On top of all of that, this year we have COVID-19 to consider.  But, there are things you can do to reduce the stress (and this year, the fear) of Thanksgiving travel.



Have a Plan

One of the most important things you can do to help reduce the Thanksgiving stress of traveling is to have a plan. Know what time you need to be at the airport, how long it will take to get there (worst case scenario), and if you’ll need to stop and get gas along the way or not. Make sure your alarm is set for the right time and have a backup alarm for 10 minutes later on a different device just in case. Also, make sure that your family knows the plan. Waking up to find out one of your kids isn’t finished packing just hours before you have to leave is the worst.


Have Carry On Only

If at all possible try to only have carry-on luggage. You’re going to see family, you don’t need to have super fashionable clothes for every day. A good pair of jeans will do you fine the whole trip. And you only need one or two shirts on top of that. The less stuff you bring the better. You won’t have to wait around dozens of planes full of people all waiting for their luggage to arrive. You’ll be able to simply leave the airport.


Give Yourself Extra Time

For all stages of your plan give yourself some extra time because something will go wrong at some point. Maybe you’ll run into an accident on the freeway or some other thing that will cause you to be delayed. But, if you left early it wouldn’t be a problem. It leaves time for surprise trips to the bathroom, traffic, and anything else that the world might throw your way.


Travel During Off-Peak

Another way you can reduce stress is by traveling during an off-peak time. The Wednesday evening after work is the WORST time to travel, no matter what method of travel you’re doing. This is when most of those 50 million people are traveling too. So, find out if you can take the day before Thanksgiving off work and get a 6 AM flight or fly on Tuesday after work. The same is true for going home as well. Sunday evening is the busy time, when those 50 million people are going back home. So find a time that works better.


Put Together an Anti-Covid Kit

This year there are unique concerns and additonal Thanksgiving stress with travel, the dreaded virus. That’s why I recommend putting together an Anti-Covid Kit for every member of your family. In it should be a few disposable masks, hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes, and isopropyl wipes for your phone.

Here are a few more tips:

  • Be sure to empty your pockets into your bag before you go through security
  • Wipe down all surfaces before touching them
  • Wipe off your credit card and debit card before putting them back in your wallet

While there may not be 50 million people traveling this year, it can still be stressful.  Please try to relax so that you can plan and prepare properly before your trip.  Most of all, be safe, wear a mask, and social distance as much as possible.  Finally, try to enjoy your Thanksgiving!!!

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LaToyia, The Motivated Mom


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