Each year Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year are the busiest events anticipated by the travel industry. With the improvements in the economy and employment rates, the entire tourism industry is anticipating a record growth in the number of tourists this holiday season. If recent statistics are to be relied upon, this year’s travel would be busy just like the other years past.
While the industry would be happy with increasing revenue projections, there are too many possible sources of holiday stress for everyone. The industry will get unusually busy and extra problematic with flight delays, cancellations and concessions to pay. The passengers, on the other hand, will be plagued by escalating costs, unpredictable weather, and long queues. Families would be ecstatic with reunions, but these can also be very stressful after all the years of independence and miles of differences and priorities.
This brings you to ask: is the holiday fun and tradition all worth the ensuing stress? If your job is associated with travel, stress is simply beyond your control. But, you can minimize them with these “7 Ways to Take the Stress Out of Holiday Travel” written by Irene S. Levine and published in Next Avenue.
Experienced travelers, travel agents and experts offered suggestions to reduce stress associated with holiday travel:
- Make Plans Sooner Rather Than Later
“Because there is limited availability, you need to nail down as soon as possible when everyone can leave and return, and how flexible their dates are,” says travel advisor Judy Nidetz …
“Fares are only going up, so there are no real last-minute deals,” says adviser Laurie Robinson … “To wait until the last minute … creates more stress …”
- Manage Expectations
No vacation is ever perfect, so don’t overpromise. Remind everyone (including yourself) that there will be bumps in the proverbial road: Bags get lost, flights get canceled and people (even those you love) say and do the wrong things.
“With grown kids who have their own social agendas, I try to limit the number of events I count on them attending,” says Mary Dell Harrington …
- Make it a Team Effort
To the extent possible, allow everyone a voice in planning. When people have had a say, they’re more likely to feel satisfied.
Multigenerational groups, in particular, have a wide range of needs, interests and energy levels…
“If the night owls can howl with the moon but the babies and their parents can rise with the roosters, that significantly reduces stress,” says Kathy Bernstein, …
Other ways to reduce stress include…
It is less stressful if there is someone to take the helm of leadership. One survey revealed that this role is usually taken up by someone from the middle generation who has the advantages of having both energy and wisdom. If no one would rise up to the challenge, it is best to tap a skilled professional, like a travel agent, to do the planning, coordination and troubleshooting when things go awry.
Remove stress associated with certain destinations. Choose a destination which you personally know if you don’t like surprises. A less popular destination would minimize the stress of dealing with overbookings and long queues. All-inclusive resorts will help you stay within budget with no extras to pay. If you have a big family, you might want to consider renting huge vacation rentals that will provide shared spaces for common activities and separate bedrooms when certain individuals want some restful moments and privacy. Those with access to beaches, bars and clubs and those that can be staffed with chefs, housekeepers and housekeepers are perfect so no one in particular is overworked.
One of the most stressful aspects of a multigenerational travel is keeping tab and paying for all those expenses including the unexpected extras. If some members of the family will pay for certain parts of the holiday, it is best if these are discussed openly. It’s also necessary to come up with a realistic and jointly agreed upon budget during the planning stage. Decide on how these expenses will be met and how much will each gainful member contribute to make the travel plan to work.
It is important to be realistic and flexible. While it is good to preserve traditions that the family kept for generations, some modifications must be welcomed if keeping traditions is beyond your means this year.
The Bottom Line
Relax and take stock of the looming trip and the holiday itinerary and activities. You can only control so much, but not everything. There will be areas that will be totally way out of your league – weather, delayed/cancelled flights, long queues, transport conditions, etc. Try hard to stick to these tips to reduce/manage stress, but have a backup plan. Look forward to the rewards of all your efforts – enjoying the holiday with your loved ones.
Just before you lose your temper, think of Michael Brein’s (a travel psychologist) wisdom, “Simply pause for a moment and realize how short life can be and how truly valuable these relatively rare moments are.” Yes, even with the small stresses.