Holiday Travel: 5 Survival Tips From Flight Attendants

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November 4, 2013

It’s November and the crazy travel season is about to get underway. With people scrambling to get home for the holidays, things can get a little hectic. To make matters worse, seasonably bad weather can wreak havoc on the flight schedules while cold and flu season can make being trapped in a plane with hundreds of people a horrifying experience.

Fortunately, we can rely on the wisdom of experienced flight attendants to help us navigate through this stressful time while maintaining our sanity.  Here are some helpful suggestions.

Stay Calm For Your Kids

As is most often the case, children take their cues from their parents. If you are running around panicked, stressing out or getting frustrated, this will have a negative effect on their mood and ability to cope. If things get overwhelming, excuse yourself for a moment to collect yourself. Take some deep breaths, remember that this is temporary and focus on being a good example for your kids.

Pack Snacks and Baby Formula

Remember the good old days when you could gorge yourself on free peanuts on a flight?  Nowadays, the best way to stave off hunger is to bring your own snack. Pack plenty of snacks  for every person who is traveling, including infants who need formula.

Claim Your Seats in Advance

Whether you’re traveling alone or in a group, log on to the airline’s website before your flight to secure your seating. This, of course, is especially important if you need to sit next to your traveling companion or child. Also, if you tend to get chilly in the air, avoid window seats which tend to be cooler.

Prepare for Lost Luggage

On any given day, airlines lose luggage – but this becomes even more likely with the huge volume of travelers during the holidays. For this reason, it’s a good idea to carry on enough clothing and supplies to last at least one day. If possible, avoid checked baggage altogether in favor of carry-ons. You may even save on fees that some airlines charge. If you’re taking gifts to your destination, you may want to consider sending them ahead via the mail or UPS. This way you don’t have to worry about the gifts being unwrapped during a security check, or juggling the added luggage.

Reduce Jet Lag

If your holiday travel includes changing time zones, there are a couple of tips to avoid jet lag.  Set your watch to your destination’s time zone as soon as it is reasonable and adjust your own internal clock by wearing sunglasses to minimize daylight until 10am. Nap for no more than a couple of hours and try to keep up with the local schedule once you’ve arrived.

Here are some tips for planning ahead for your Thanksgiving travel.  And remember, the most important thing is that you find a way, even during the stressful moments, to be grateful for your loved ones while focusing on the important things in life.  Don’t let these temporary moments rob you of your happiness.

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