How to Prepare for the Thanksgiving (and Christmas) Exodus

Befile2351234673798fore I met my husband, I did a lot of traveling on my own. I’m used to dealing with the hustle and bustle of city commuting. Also, I would participate in the holiday exodus with millions of other New Yorkers and I kept doing it –  year after year – by myself.

Then I acquired a traveling buddy: my husband. We typically spend Thanksgiving at home and travel together for Christmas.  We are great travel partners.  He’s my moral support when holiday travel becomes stressful.

This year, however, my travel buddy is deployed.  Needless to say, I’m learning so much in our first deployment. One of the most important things I’ve learned is that I can’t keep myself from doing things that I really want to do because he’s not here to do them with me.  Case in point? I’m flying home to my parents house to spend Thanksgiving with them.  I haven’t been with my parents for Thanksgiving in years!

Thanksgiving is undoubtedly one of the busiest travel times in the U.S. (and might be the busiest day!), so I’ve learned to avoid any extensive traveling, especially flying! Well, I’m biting the bullet this year and taking a plane from New York City to my hometown in Texas.

Here I am again – doing the holiday exodus by myself. I wanted to share some advice that has helped me prepare and get through the stresses of holiday travel whether you’re traveling alone or with your travel buddy(ies).

4 Tips for Less Stressful Holiday Travel

Make a list and pack light! It really helps me to hand-write lists. I think it sticks with me better because I’m taking a little bit of time to write it down. I also make sure to include things that I absolutely need. I’ll be spending four days at home for Thanksgiving and I doubt I’ll need ten different outfits. I know it’s hard to resist, especially when you don’t have you husband motivating you!

Keep all necessary travel materials in one place. If you need to travel on a plane, keep your ID with your flight information and if you’re going international, don’t forget your passport! Having all your stuff together will also help you get through lines more efficiently.

Leave an hour (or two!) before you think you should leave. Really, leave as early as you can because you’re going to spend a lot of time waiting the longer it takes you to leave! I’m not trying to be dramatic, but everybody else is leaving at the same time. Last Thanksgiving, it took my husband and I an hour longer to get down the highway to the post because of an accident. If it’s just going to be you, you will get really bored and possibly frustrated.

That brings me to my next point, don’t do anything last minute! The last thing you want to do right before you leave is frantically run around making sure you have everything you need. Mentally prepare yourself for crazy crowds and the unexpected.

Lastly, remember to enjoy yourself! This will be the first Thanksgiving (and Christmas too!) apart from my husband since we’ve been together. I can choose to be a Grinch or make the best of it. I’ll make the best if it!

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