Hi friends! Well, the holidays are almost upon us. Once again. And along with the holidays comes holiday stress: traveling, dealing with family, eating too much …

I thought I would try and help us all enjoy these next couple of months. So, I want to invite you into my Living Room as we chat about how to manage these stressors. This will be a four part series, with part two scheduled for November 21st, part three scheduled for November 27th and part four scheduled for November 28th … right here on Believe.com.

The first post is on travel tips. I started travelling a lot a couple of years ago. All within the US, but I have driven and flown more miles in this time than ever before. And, I’ve learned a few things that I want to pass on. In top 10 fashion, let’s count them down:

#10 Leave in plenty of time.

Whether you are driving to the airport or your final destination, leaving enough time for traffic, breaks, etc. will lower your stress. When we’re in a rush, we start to have crazy thoughts like, “Everyone get out of my way … this road was made just for me.”

And, then, road rage starts to hit us. Or, like me, you may be stopped by airport security asking if you are okay to fly because you have run through the airport like a mad woman and your asthma has kicked in. #DoNotLetThisHappenToYou

#9 Pack light but be prepared.

There are LOTS of good reasons for this. While you do want to be prepared for whatever and wherever your travels might lead, packing too much can be a pain. Literally and figuratively! It can be exhausting and frustrating to lug around tons of heavy bags.

And, it’s always good to leave space in your luggage in case you want to bring anything new home with you (like all those free books you get at a conference or the new cowboy boots you just HAVE to buy once you’ve arrived in the southwest).

#8 Bring your own snacks.

Anyone with kids knows this is a must; however, I think it’s a must for adults too. This will allow for cut down on expenses and stops, and can also help keep you on track health-wise (Come on, we all tell ourselves calories don’t count at the holidays, but …) And now it’s so easy to buy individually packaged snacks or buy in bulk and divide up into little baggies. So, really, no excuses!

#7 Have some cash handy, but not too much.

It’s hard to believe there was a time when everything was paid for with cash. Since credit cards and debit cards have become the norm, we often neglect to make sure we have cash on us.

Even though most places can take cards (even some toll roads!), you can never be too sure. Plus, instead of using a card for a dollar here and a dollar there, you can manage your budget and keep your checkbook balanced a lot easier when dealing in cash. BUT. Don’t carry too much cash because you may be at risk of, well, being robbed.

#6 Be very careful about public computers and public internet.

Even though I had my laptop, I decided that using the hotel computer would be handier. Big mistake. My email was hacked, my contact list stolen and hundreds of loved ones were told I was in a foreign country with no money to get home.

Thank God no one sent a western union! The moral of this story is to be very careful about using public computers. Be as sure as you can that they are as secure as possible and don’t decide to do your banking at the local . (Hey, I stay there too!)

#5 Don’t leave gifts in your car.

Yep, I’ve done that too. And, yes, they were stolen. Sigh. If you are spending the night in a hotel as you’re driving to your destination, make sure you bring everything of value inside. I would even be cautious about leaving too much in the trunk unless you must.

#4 Check the weather for your destination.

This will help you as you prepare for packing and making plans for your visit. During the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, if you are traveling to the northwest, midwest, north or high altitudes … you are at risk for some wintery weather. Make allowances for that.

#3 Speaking of money, set a travel budget.

Know how much you are going to spend so that you don’t get caught up in vacation mode and the holiday spirit … and overspend. Have you ever seen the “King of Queens” episode where the lead characters go on a vacation and as they are overspending they find out their house needs a major repair? Don’t let that become you!

#2 Make reservations. Early. 

Whether it’s plane tickets or hotel reservations, do your homework to get the best rates and make sure you book early. I heard that booking on Tuesday afternoons can reward you with the best rates. I tried it and found it to be true. But that may just be me. smiley

#1 And the number one travel tip I have is …

when trekking by car, and nature calls, stop and use a hotel lobby bathroom. Select one in a nice area, and you are sure to find a clean, safe restroom … almost guaranteed to have no line!

Well, I hope these are as helpful to you as they have been to me. Do you have any to add? Let me hear from you in the comments section. And don’t forget to share this with all of your traveling friends. Next time, we’ll talk about how to reduce holiday stress (preparing for sadness, avoiding over-eating, etc.) See you then!

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