South San Francisco, CA December 6, 2017 by Henry Moore, Fit Well Traveler
Having a Happy Holiday Away
Going to Grandma’s for turkey and trimmings is always nice, but maybe you want to shake up the season this year. Are you dreaming of hitting the slopes or an exotic warm-weather destination where shorts and swimming are on the holiday calendar? Or perhaps you are a traditionalist after all — that person who starts gift shopping months in advance and looks forward to family festivities all year long.
No matter where you fall on the seasonal spectrum, you’ll have plenty of company on highways, at airports, or in train station waiting rooms. According to statistics from AAA, more than nearly 51 million Americans hit the roads, rails or air during the most recent Thanksgiving holiday and more than 103 million took trips during the year-end holidays of 2016.
Still, it’s possible to have a relaxing holiday vacation. Whether you’re taking a solo trip somewhere new, going on a getaway with your partner, or rolling down a familiar road to visit friends and family, try these tips to enjoy a stress-free holiday away.
Start shopping early
The days right around a holiday tend to be the worst — and most expensive — times to travel by air. So if your family feasts later in the evening, consider flying in on Thanksgiving morning. There might also be bargain-basement airfares available on the Friday following Thanksgiving since many will be hitting the stores in search of Black Friday deals. Similarly, the days just before Christmas and January 2 usually equal packed planes and sky-high airfares for year-end travelers.
Start your search for travel tickets early to snag the best deals. Also keep in mind that airfares can rise rapidly in the three or four weeks before a holiday period. And if you’re skipping the family fete in favor of a popular holiday destination like Las Vegas or Orlando, price some package deals. Hotel and airfare combinations can still be affordable after airfares have skyrocketed, according to SmarterTravel.
Pave the road to success
If you’re driving to your destination, give your car a little winter-weather TLC before hitting the highway. Check your tire pressure, do a lap around your car to ensure all the lights and signals are working well, and consider replacing wiper blades. Slushy roads covered with sand and salt mean you might be working through a lot of windshield washer fluid. So refill the car’s reservoir and stash an extra gallon in the trunk.
In fact, you should check all your car’s fluid levels and the battery, which works less efficiently in cold weather. Many auto parts stores and car repair shops will run a test for free, according to Consumer Reports. And if your trip might take you through snow and ice, consider investing in a set of good all-season or winter-weather tires while you’re there.
Prep your home for the holiday
Before you take your holiday on the road, do some preplanning to make sure your home stays safe. If you have a security system, call the company to let them know when you’ll be out of town. That way, monitors will take alerts more seriously since they’re less likely to be false alarms. Ask a friend, family member, or trusted neighbor to stop by a few times while you are out of town and call your local police department to let them know you won’t be home. They might send a few extra cruisers through the neighborhood while you are away.
And make their jobs easier by trying to eliminate obvious signs that no one is home. Stop your mail and any other regular deliveries while you’re gone. Call in a favor or hire someone to shovel the driveway or take care of any outdoor chores that you’d normally do if you were there. Finally, invest in inexpensive timers for lights and electronics. Set them to turn some things on and off at intervals that make it seem like someone is kicking back in the den every evening.
If your holiday plans include travel, take these tips along to ensure a stress-free season that will help you return to a cozy home between exciting adventures.