Stress-free Christmas travel checklist

Posted Date: 11 December 2015
Christmas travel

It was the flight before Christmas and all through the land…was chaos and excitement that no one could stand!

Christmas is a hectic time of year and adding travel to your holiday can make the stress levels soar. We have a few tips to help you cope and hopefully ensure you have a very merry Christmas. 

1. Pace yourself

As much as Christmas is a time for family, try to remember this is your holiday too. You may want to spend as much time as possible at your destination, but don’t push yourself too hard. Catching that late night flight or the early redeye, only to arrive tired and longing to find a place to sleep for the day won’t help you enjoy your time off. Try to book flights at a more reasonable time, so you arrive refreshed and ready to eat, drink and be merry. Better yet, plan to land a few days early so you can catch up on sleep and enjoy the excitement and build up to Christmas day.

2. There’s no need for a ‘hangry’ holiday

Nobody likes a hungry/angry jetlagged family member. Keep hunger at bay with your own snack pack of festive treats. Before you board check the airline’s food and drink regulations, or buy your snacks at the airport once you’ve cleared security. Try to add a few healthy snacks too to make up for all the seasonal over-indulgence.

3. Take it easy like Sunday morning

You’ve just landed on the other side of the world, it’s early morning and you’re shattered, so how on earth are you going to stay awake all day? You could try spending your jetlag day the easy way by treating it as a free day where you do nothing but chill. Take your foggy-brained self to a relaxing local park or beach and soak up the atmosphere.

4. Make a plan… then let it go

It’s all very well to make plans to visit all your friends or hit every tourist attraction before you leave, but the reality of actually achieving those plans can become overwhelming. Try not to cram too much into your schedule to avoid disappointment and exhaustion. See if you can get family and friends to come and visit you, or maybe have one or two group get-togethers and see everyone at once. Remember, this is your holiday too, so save some time for just you. 

5. Go to your happy place

Try not to get too uptight when you’re stuck in traffic, or fighting the chaotic Boxing Day sale crowds. You could try making a game out of it. If you’re stuck in a busy mall, set a challenge for each family member to capture the best photo of the day. Or whenever you stop for a coffee, grab a loyalty card and jot down your thoughts at the time, They can make great keepsakes to remind you of your holiday. Whatever you do, just make sure you take time out to relax and enjoy your holiday.

6. Remix Christmas

Those festive season carols can get a little annoying – there’s only so many times you can listen to Jingle Bells. Before you leave home, create a Christmas play list that you and your family can enjoy, including plenty of regular songs. They will come in handy when you want to clear your head of all those tired holiday tunes that get thrashed each year!

7. Take a first-class perspective

You have missed out on an upgrade to that mythical land of business class, but as you’re turning right instead of left, try to make the most of where you’re sitting. After all, how often do you spend hours being waited on with nothing particular to do.

Embrace the chance to sit back and watch a movie or read a book, whilst being served food and drinks. If you’re flying with an airline that is no frills, then pack some luxuries that will make your flight just that little bit more comfortable. Download your favourite movies or TV shows onto your tablet. If you’re flying long haul, remember to pack a travel pillow and something comfortable and warm to sleep in.

8. Blame the Grinch

It’s so easy to have a “moment” during the holidays. You know the ones, where everyone or everything is annoying you and it just becomes too much. Here’s your chance to blame the jetlag and use the opportunity to slip away and have some quiet “me” time to clear you mind, whether you indulge in your favourite book or head out to the local café for a coffee. It can also come in handy if the family arguments start up! 

9. Dodge the Christ-miss

Check that your passports and official documents are up-to-date well in advance of travelling. Many visas take time to process and some government departments shut down for long periods of time over Christmas. The last thing you want is to have your passport caught up in the Christmas postal chaos and not receive it in time.

10. The thought doesn’t count

Christmas is a time for giving, but remember that Customs and Biosecurity have very strict rules regarding what comes in and goes out. You may try to convince them that your Christmas cake is “just fruit and nuts”, but they may not see it that way. Before you head to the airport, check what is allowed and what is banned. If you’re taking presents it pays not to wrap them before you travel, as you may be asked to unwrap them for inspection.

A sure-fire way to get searched, or even tackled, are toy guns. And remember that wine and spirits won’t make it through customs at check-in, so buy them at duty free while you’re waiting for your flight.

11. Dreaming of a white Christmas

Christmas is often a time of excess and the weather is no exception. Depending on where you’re travelling to, you can encounter heatwaves and cyclones or snow and ice. Plan your wardrobe accordingly and include a few items for the possible extremes in the regions you’re travelling to. Remember to consider any stopovers. For example, you might have a layover in chilly London on your way to the blissful, sunny islands of Greece.

12.The only flashing lights you want to see are on the trees

Wherever you’re travelling to, expect delays due to holiday traffic, slower speed limits and extra police on the roads. If you’re hiring a car, ask them for advice on local traffic and if there have been any recent changes due to the holiday period. A GPS will help you navigate your way around and can minimise the in-car arguments. Starting your local journey early morning can be a great way to beat the rush.

13. This is not the time for a one horse open sleigh

If you’re heading north, remember that as fun as it sounds, this is probably not the time of year to rent a convertible. Hire an appropriate car for the conditions and ask for advice about driving on snow and ice. Consider the conditions before driving so you don’t get stranded.


14. Happy holidays

Once all the planning is done and the advice taken, there’s nothing left to do but go out and have a great vacation. So go on, have fun, be safe and from all of us at Southern Cross Travel, we hope you have a wonderful holiday!

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