“Stay Sane and Relatively Stress-Free” Holiday Travel Tips

The holidays are upon us! I hope everyone is having a lovely December so far. I’m writing from the plane on the way to Manila today, and this morning, I popped onto Facebook Live from LAX to share a couple of my holiday travel tips. You can watch it to the right here. 


Holiday traveling is one of the most stressful ever, yes?

The crowds, the confusion, the noise, the lines for the bathroom…yick.  If you’re on a long flight, the discomfort doesn’t end at the airport, it continues for that long flight ahead. Headaches, knee pain, feet swelling anyone?  

So let me be real – expecting holiday travel to be stress-free is a bit unrealistic, but there are things you do to “stay sane and relatively stress-free.”

Check out my tips below for staying sane and relatively stress free during holiday travels:

Plan for everything to take three times as long...

Even packing! So pack early, and do your “last minute” packing early. If you want a relatively stress free experience, you want to have your bags standing at attention, all zipped up, and ready to go at least 3 hours before you have to leave the house.

And of course plan for the commute to be three times as long as well. Consider the cluster-f*** that the airport will be in.

Cool mind trick – always overshoot how long an activity will take and you’ll find yourself experiencing less stress.

Stay hydrated.

The biggest energy sucks with travel is lack of sleep and dehydration. Be sure to stay hydrated.

On the same note, avoid caffeinated drinks and alcohol. Both of these make you pee more, but not in the same way as drinking a lot of water makes you pee more. With these drinks, you are actually dehydrating yourself. Your body is not even able to take whatever water is in the drink.   

Pee right before boarding the plane.

You never know how long those lines take and just how long you’ll be sitting on the tarmac before, or how long it’ll take for them to turn the seat belt signs off once you’re in the air.

Don’t hold your pee.

You’re just asking for a urinary tract infection that may lead to a bladder infection. It’s not fun and you usually need to be treated with prescription antibiotics, which may not be easily accessible when you’re traveling.

Mind your manners.

Say excuse me, please, and thank you, especially when asking people to move so you can leave the aisle to use the bathroom. That way, they don’t look like they want to kill you each time, and you don’t look like you want to kill them for giving you that I-want-to-kill you look.

If you’re utilizing Tips 2 and 3, you’re probably going to go at least once every 2 hours.

But some of us, myself included, hate bothering others, so waking someone who is sleeping soundly and asking them to please move just makes me want to cringe. But people are usually much nicer than we think they are, especially when we use our manners.

So if you’re lucky enough to have an aisle seat, take advantage of it and drink water and pee often! If you have an inside seat, don’t be shy and ask people to move. If they seem to be glued to their seats because they have ironclad bladders or something, you can even ask if they’d like to switch seats with you.  

Keep moving to avoid swelling and pain.

Our bodies are not meant to be stationary. We have many fluid systems in our bodies (blood, lymph, plasma) that act as both a delivery truck of essential nutrients and a garbage truck to take away waste products. They need movement to function correctly. When there is no movement, the nutrients don’t get delivered, causing everything from headaches to weakness, and the waste products don’t get taken away, causing swelling and pain.

Go for a walk down the aisles or to the back of the plane.

If you’re not sleeping, you want to be moving around as much as possible.  If you can, you actually want to get out of your seat to walk around. Go to the back by the bathrooms and do a few stretches.

Do some ankle pumps in your seat. 

If you’re back in your seat, try doing ankle pumps. Alternate between pointing your toes down and bringing them back up. You’ll feel your calf muscles tighten, stretch, and relax, which can help pump all the waste buildup in your ankles and feet and reduce swelling.

Bend and straighten your knees as much as you can in your seat.

If your knees tend to swell up or get sore, try just straightening and bending your knees 10 times. Your knees should feel much better – again, you’re pumping away the waste products that have built up in your knees from sitting.


Phew! Hope that all helps you prepare for a more comfortable trip!

What are some tips or tricks that you utilize that help you stay healthy during holiday travel?