Heading home for the holidays: travel tips to to make the season brighter
For many, this is the most wonderful time of the year. For others, well, they’d rather fast-forward to 2020. Whether you’re thinking about the holidays with anxiety or anticipation, we have some tips that can, hopefully, make your holiday season a little happier.
If you’re packing for an extended stay, a little planning now can keep you from hauling a mountain of luggage through the middle of a crowded airport. Instead of folding your clothes, roll them up. Also, stuff your socks inside your shoes. You’ll be surprised how much more you can fit inside your suitcase just by taking these two steps. If you’re carrying a backpack, place the heavier items lower in the pack for better balance and less strain on your back. Most important, before packing anything, make sure you’re really going to need it. Overpacking is the most common mistake. Plus, the airlines will hit you with a fee or make you repack your bag if it’s over a set weight limit.
Don’t break the bank
If you’re a college student or young professional, your budget may already be tight. The closer you get to the holidays, the higher airfares climb. Before you assume the amount you see on the airline’s website is final, explore some of the online search engines that are designed specifically to find lower fares. Some airlines even offer student discounts. Another idea is to bring your own snacks and an empty water bottle to the airport. The cost of food and drinks at airports is crazy expensive because they know they have a captive audience. Although traveling by train or bus will take longer, they can be much more affordable. Both Amtrak and Greyhound offer student discounts. Think of it this way: a leisurely train or bus ride may be just what you need to get in the holiday spirit.
The holiday season doesn’t have to be all napping and eating. If avoiding the holiday bulge is important to you, use part of your downtime to get some exercise. Ask a family member or old friend to take a walk with you—this a great way to burn calories and catch up with what’s been going on in your lives. You’ll both have more energy and won’t feel quite as guilty about enjoying a glass of eggnog or a delicious slice of pecan pie. After all, that’s part of the holiday experience—enjoy it! Also, we know that the holidays can be stressful at times. Just 20 minutes a day of physical activity can bring those stress levels down, which is good for your physical and mental health. In fact, according to Forbes Magazine, three or four half-hour sessions per week can lessen stress significantly.
What if you can’t get away for the holidays? Despite these helpful tips for holiday travels, we realize that it’s just not realistic for some people. But don’t fret—we have a few suggestions for you as well.
Host a “Friendsmas” party
You’d be surprised how many college students will be spending the holidays around campus. Why not get together and celebrate? You can even enjoy many of the same traditional holiday activities together, such as cooking meals and exchanging gifts. Look at it as an opportunity to begin your own holiday traditions. Plus, it’s an excellent opportunity to get closer to your friends or even make some new ones. And, if you start missing your family members, technology has made it easy to connect via video chat (Skype, FaceTime, etc.).
Nothing will take your mind off of being away from home during the holidays like a nice paycheck. Many employers are in desperate need of seasonal, part-time help. You’ll earn money, make new friends, and possibly gain valuable experience, depending on what career path you’ve chosen. And when everyone comes back from the holiday break complaining about how broke they are, you can smile and enjoy your stack of cash.
So whether you’re heading home or staying put, we hope these tips will help you enjoy the season. Happy Holidays from your friends at Georgia’s Own Credit Union!