christmas travelling

Organized travel during the holiday season

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Many people travel during the holidays to get away from the cold weather, or visit family and friends. The holiday season is one of the busiest travel period of the year, and it can be hard to stay organized, especially when travel can get busy and chaotic and all you want to do is get to your destination. To stay on top of your holiday trip planning, try following these suggestions so you can enjoy stress-free travel this holiday season:

Make sure you have the essentials

It goes without saying, but make sure you have everything you absolutely need for your trip ready to go, including passports, ID, phones, chargers, tickets, and booking confirmations. For people who are travelling by vehicle, phones and chargers are especially important in case you run into bad weather and need to call for assistance or to give family and friends a heads up that you may be late or have to delay your trip. When times get busy, it is easy to forget the most basic and essential items, so make sure you pack these items first and put them in a bag or place you are not likely to forget them.

Expect the unexpected

When you’re travelling during the holiday season in Calgary, you need to be prepared for winter weather. Keep in mind that travelling during this time is not the same as travelling during the summer, and prepare yourself for possible delays, whether your driving or flying. Make sure you give yourself plenty of time to reach your destination if your driving, and scope out possible places along the way of your route where you can pull over or stop for the night if the weather is especially bad. Make sure to also pack extra blankets, gloves and toques in case you get stuck in your car or have to wait on the side of the road. If you’re flying, give yourself enough time to make it to the airport, and make sure your vehicle is equipped and ready to be stored outside for an extended period of time. When you’re booking your flights, make sure you have enough time there and back in case your flight is late, and pack a book or game in your carry to keep you and your travel companions entertained if you have to wait for a long period at the airport.

Book as early as possible

Don’t wait until the last minute to book your flight or accommodations! December is a peak time for travel, so be prepared for popular resorts to be busy, and for airlines and hotels to charge higher prices during this time. Get in touch with family or friends you are travelling with as early as possible and decide on the details - when you’re leaving, how long you’re staying, and how you’re getting there. The longer you wait, the more you will have to pay, and the greater the chance you won’t get your desired flight and accommodation options.

Avoid the crowds

Wherever you decide to go, you can be sure that public places like restaurants and shopping centres will be busier than usual. Avoid the large crowds and purchase snacks and drinks to keep in your room so you don’t always have to go out (or spend more money!). Breakfast is also an easy meal to enjoy in your hotel room - you can purchase instant oatmeal, muffins, or granola bars at a grocery store an keep them in your room to eat. This way, you can save money on eating out and not have to worry about waiting for a table at a restaurant or getting there very early to try and get a seat.

Travelling can be stressful at the best of times, but the holiday season is always worse because there is a significant increase in travellers, and everyone is impatient to get to their vacation or see their loved ones. If you’re planning on travelling during this time, start planning early and make sure you’re prepared for any situation, especially bad weather!

Make the holidays about the experience, not the stuff!

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The holidays always seem to fly by, as many people are occupied with shopping, cooking, baking and travelling. A lot of time is spent planning and completing tasks to enjoy the holidays, but many of us end up not enjoying the holidays because of this. Make this holiday season one that you will actually enjoy by eliminating some of the tasks that normally add a lot of stress.

One of the biggest costs of stress during this time is gift giving – a lot of time (and money) is spent buying gifts, sometimes for many people! Instead, talk with your family, friends, and co-workers and come up with an alternate gift giving solution that everyone can participate in.

For example, consider doing a draw for “Secret Santa” and set a dollar limit that works for every person’s budget. While this may not be the best option for children, this idea works great for adults. There are even apps available that will randomly match people (like this one) that will make sure no one draws their own name, and even lets people upload a list of possible gift ideas. Hosting a “Secret Santa” gift exchange will save everyone money and time, as they won’t have to go and buy as many gifts as they normally would.

Alternatively, you could host a gift exchange where everyone buys one generic present, and people can exchange or steal gifts until everyone has one item. Not only does it also save you from buying more gifts, it’s also a fun activity to enjoy with family and friends. With less time spent shopping, wrapping presents, and delivering gifts, you will be able to spend more time experiencing the holiday season.

While giving and receiving gifts is fun, they are not as valuable as spending time with family and friends. Careful planning and shopping in advance may help reduce some of your stress, but you’ll be even more relaxed when you can completely eliminate one of the many tasks you plan to do this month. The holidays should be about the experience, not just the gifts or items that you give and receive!

Get Organized this Holiday Season!

This week is a busy time for many people. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, Boxing Day (or Week), New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are all happening within days of each other, and these holidays usually involve parties, family meals, gift giving, family visits, and a whole host of seasonal activities. We’re here to offer some advice on how to stay organized during this busy time!

Keep a calendar

With all of the events and activities going on, it’s important to make sure you have everything written down, either on a physical calendar or in your phone. You can set reminders a couple days before the event so you know what is coming up, like Christmas dinner, and what you need to be doing before that event. If you’re having family over, this is also important so you can make sure the house is clean and the guest bedrooms are ready. This way, you can enjoy time with your family and not have to run around the day of.

Don’t try to do it all

Many people feel pressured to squeeze in every holiday-themed event or activity that they hear about or get invited to. This should not happen! The holidays are supposed to be a time to relax with friends and family, the keyword being relax. The holidays don’t have to be stressful unless you make them stressful. Sometimes, it’s best to say no to some people and arrange to meet them before or after the holidays in a time that works best for your schedule. December, especially the week before Christmas, should not be the time that everyone tries to get together. It’s okay to say no – it may be that your friends and family are going through the same thing!

Leave some time to relax

The holiday season is notorious for being stressful (see points one and two!) but it doesn’t have to be. Take some time for you to relax – whether it’s at home or with friends and family, as long as it doesn’t involve you feeling stressed or disorganized. Taking this time can help you get back on your feet and assess what needs to be done. It can be easy to forget what’s happening or what needs to be done during this week when you’re constantly moving from one event to the other. Once the week is over and the holidays are done, you’ll be left dealing with all of the other things you may have pushed aside to make room for these activities. Take the time for yourself to re-organize your coming days, relax, and give yourself a break!

Pack ahead of time

For people who are travelling over the holidays or visiting relatives, it’s a good idea to pack as much as you can before you have to travel. This seems like common sense, but it’s easy to put packing off during this time, especially if you’re travelling after Christmas. However, it will make your life easier and more organized if you get as much as you can packed before you have to leave, so that you can enjoy your other holiday events without having to leave early to pack or be rushed to pack the day of. Clothes, shoes, accessories, books, and other items that you don’t use day to day can be packed in your suitcase ahead of time. Toiletry items like toothbrushes and hair accessories can be packed in your travelling bag but left out for you to use. This way, it’s ready to go but still available for you to use before you leave. If you’re travelling by air, it might be a good idea to check-in to your flights online 24 hours in advance, and either print out your boarding tickets or save them on your hand-held device ahead of time.

Once you’re ready to return from your travelling, our Unpack to Organize after Summer Vacation post can help you stay organized before you even get home.

 

Enjoy the holiday season by staying organized and keeping track of what is happening. Cut down on your to-do list if necessary, and make sure you take time for yourself. If you’re travelling, get as much as you can done as early as you can. This week doesn’t have to be stressful if you don’t want it to be!