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Lifestyle

Christmas travel checklist

It’s that time of year when many of us are heading off for a winter get-away or to visit friends and family.

While you may not be able to avoid traffic jams or transport delays, a little forward thinking will help you glide into the holiday season with far less stress.

1. Plan ahead

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the number and variety of tasks to tackle, it’s never too soon to start planning. A to-do list will help you to stay in control so find a system that works for you.

To stay organised, keep your lists in one place. If you like old-fashioned pen and paper, use a notebook with different pages for shopping lists, travel plans, etc

Why not try something more tech-savvy? You can compile an Excel spreadsheet or download a productivity app such as Remember the Milk. Don’t forget to check whether you need extra home or travel insurance – if you’re a Benenden Health member you can enjoy discounts on both.

2. Travel plans

Avoid last-minute stress by checking the expiry dates of important travel documents such as passports. If you’re travelling within Europe, don't forget your EHIC insurance card. You can apply for, or renew, your EHIC card, here

Travelling somewhere new can heighten anxiety so do your research and make arrangements well in advance. If you’re travelling with friends or family, it makes sense to discuss the route ahead of the trip. This can help to avoid stressful differences of opinion. Download maps and check directions so that you can estimate journey times.

If you intend to drive, get organised by decluttering the boot, and checking the water, oil and tyres. Benenden Health members can enjoy 10% off all in store purchases at Halfords so make the most of it when getting your car ready for winter.

3. Manage expectations

Despite all the good cheer at this time of the year, there’s no escaping the fact that many find it stressful to travel with family over the holidays. Many feel pressured to make a Christmas trip into the 'perfect holiday'. Think ahead about how to manage expectations.

Whether you’re travelling with children, teenagers or elderly relatives, communication is key. Try to take everyone’s needs into consideration and consider how you involve them in decision-making.

4. Prepare tech and entertainment

Whether you're travelling with teenagers or older relatives, you should check wifi availability. Most people enjoy sharing holiday photos on social media and sharing good will with those at home. You might be interested in a digital detox over the holidays. However, let everyone know in advance to avoid disappointment and possible disputes.

It can be good to have some entertainment pre-prepared for a long journey. Download films, TV programmes or podcasts so that you’ll have plenty of entertainment options – and don’t forget your headphones. Check you have the right plugs, chargers and adapters for your destination, as well as USB cables.

5. Don't overschedule

Plan activities and make preparations but try not to clutter up your schedule with too many commitments. Allow time to unwind and leave space for spontaneity. Don’t worry about how you’re going to spend every moment of the day. You can’t be certain of the outcome, but try to stay positive. Remember it’s the season of goodwill and that, while life has it challenges, there’s also plenty to celebrate.

Further information:

The Christmas season isn’t always easy. If you’re a Benenden Health member, you can access our Mental Health Helpline 24/7. Whether you're suffering from anxiety, depression, bereavement or relationship problems, we can make sure you don’t have to handle it alone by providing access to an experienced therapist.