For the media

How to avoid holiday travel stress

By The Health News Team | December 11, 2023
Family in car on road trip with dog

This year’s holiday travel season is expected to be the “busiest ever,” according to the Transportation Security Administration, which has already screened a record number of passengers this year.

For those maneuvering through bustling airports and juggling tight schedules, the inherent stress of holiday travel is a familiar companion. And while you can’t control the unpredictability of certain events, there are ways to prepare and make the most of this busy time.

Kellie Dudy, a physician assistant at Sharp Grossmont Hospital Care Clinic, shares her favorite tips and insights for navigating holiday travel with minimal stress.

How do you avoid stress while traveling over the holidays?

As someone who commutes long distances and travels between Mexico and the U.S. on a regular basis, I find that my best tool is to have audiobooks and soothing music available.

I also like to keep perspective, reminding myself that I will eventually get to where I need to go. And if I’m travelling by car, the most important thing is to make sure my family and I are safe while on the roads. Driving faster or aggressively will not help anyone stay safe, and we should all look out for each other. 

What are some easy ways to stay active while away from home?

The little things add up. Taking the stairs instead of elevators, escaping for a quick 15-minute walk, and using everyday objects for weights for a quick resistance routine can help you stay active while traveling and lessen the shock to your body when you get back home and resume your regular workouts.

What health essentials do you pack in your suitcase?

When I travel, I always bring collapsible water bottles, resistance bands and a fun music playlist. I also carry a mini first-aid kit wherever I go to attend to minor cuts and injuries.

I make sure to keep important items on my person too, such as my passport, driver’s license, money, credit card and travel documents. An extra toothbrush, toothpaste and change of socks also can't hurt!

What else should people traveling this season keep in mind?

The holidays can be an exciting and busy time, but it's crucial not to sacrifice sleep. Whether it's a short nap during a layover or ensuring you get a good night's sleep, adequate rest can significantly contribute to reducing stress and getting you ready to enjoy holiday festivities.

Another thing to keep in mind is what you’re eating on the go. Opting for healthier options when possible and staying hydrated can help your body cope with the physical and emotional demands of travel.

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