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4 tips to make holiday travel stress-free

“Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays …”

Like the words in the classic Christmas song imply, people want to find their way back home come holiday time. That will certainly be evident at our airports; Orbitz says some 66 percent of Americans plan to travel by plane over the holidays.

That makes the scene ripe for stress. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are some travel strategies from Savvy Travelers’ Tina Aldatz along with some of my own advice:

Be early! You do not want to be running through the airport like the family in “Home Alone.” That does nothing but raise stress levels through the roof and get your companions bickering. Plan to arrive at the airport with plenty of time so any delays that pop up  doen’t ruffle you. Bring along reading materials, deck of cards, crossword puzzles, your tablet, etc., to wait out your departure stress-free. (If you’re bringing kids, some quiet playthings are a must.) Don’t forget healthy snacks; many a meltdown — by kids or adults — has been sparked by low blood sugar.  

Don’t overpack. You are only going to be there temporarily. You don’t need an extensive wardrobe while back home. Mix-and-match apparel is best. Bring along a few accessories to change up looks. Besides, you’ll need room in your luggage to take home any gifts you may receive.

Practice patience. You know the line through security likely is going to be long. Just accept that that is the situation. Take five slow, deep breathes and let them out even more slowly. You’ll be surprised how much calmer you feel.

Keep ’em naked. No, not the kids. Your gifts! They have to be unwrapped to get through security.

BTW, Savvy Travelers has these neat little packets of hand/body sanitizing sheets that go beyond the norm. There are some that are sheets of antiperspirants; others are used to freshen one’s mouth, for instance. All are small and flat, not taking up much travel space. You can find them online or at Nordstrom. Check ‘em out!

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One of the Savvy Travelers kits

TOP PHOTO: NAM Y. HUH~AP