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Tips to ease holiday travel stress

Posted on Friday, December 11, 2015 at 6:56 am

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Sunny Studio - Fotolia.com

PHOTO SOURCE: (c) Sunny Studio – Fotolia.com

(StatePoint) An estimated 94.8 million Americans will journey 50 miles or more from home for the holidays, according to AAA.

To help ensure holiday cheer, the travel experts at Extended Stay America have partnered with the ultimate holiday traveler, Santa Claus. Who better than the “Official Hotel of Santa” to offer some great holiday traveler tips?

Picture Perfect Packing
Not everyone has the luxury of a reindeer powered sleigh and a magical satchel to effortlessly transport gifts. Here are some foolproof packing tips.

• Make a list and check it twice. Separate your essentials from your desirables, and be realistic with luggage limitations.

• For travelers that belong to a frequent flyer program, take advantage of perks like free first checked bags or discounted early boarding rates. Use program discounts to transport multiple gifts at a flat rate or to ensure that more expensive items that you’d prefer to carry on have ample space in the airplane’s overhead bin.

• Save gift-wrapping for once you’ve reached your destination to avoid extra TSA scrutiny.

‘Home’ for the Holidays
Avoid overstaying your welcome at relatives by lodging at a home-like space of your own. An extended-stay style hotel with affordable nightly rates means family fun instead of family feud. Unwind in a spacious guest room and enjoy upgraded amenities, including free in-room Wi-Fi to stay connected to those far away and flat-screen televisions with premium channels to watch holiday favorites.

On-site laundry centers allow for light packing on long trips and fully-equipped kitchens with full-size refrigerators provide the option to dine in or reheat leftovers.

Bring us a Figgy Pudding
Don’t let being away from home limit you to store-bought dishes for holiday potlucks. If you’re staying at an extended-stay style hotel, take advantage of an in-room kitchen to whip up a savory course or no-bake sweet treats, like drop cookies, fudges and cereal bars.

Seasonal Savings
Santa enlists the support of helpers to ensure his big travel day is stress-free. Holiday travelers should do the same. Consider the help of rewards programs to relieve budget stress.

Many point-based loyalty programs require significant time and investment before you see any benefit. For valuable savings, enroll in one offering instant rewards, coupons and discounts at national retailers, rental car companies, restaurants and more.

Avoid Cabin Fever
Budget-friendly activities keep holiday spirits high. Enjoy winter festivals, ice skating, caroling, a friendly game of your favorite sport, or a car ride through the area’s most festive neighborhoods.

‘Tis the Season for Giving
Spread a little charitable cheer to those less fortunate. This time of year lends itself to many service opportunities, so identify an organization or give back on your own with a special project. Simple gestures to spread goodwill include anonymous gifts, over-tipping for services or packing stockings for the homeless.

Don’t let holiday travel be a source of stress. With smart strategies, an affordable and joyous holiday travel experience is possible.