Functional Friday: Holiday Safety Tips - Travel

Are you going out of town this holiday?  Whether it's a quick overnight trip or a trek across the country, any trip can be improved with a little planning and preparation.  Planning ahead will provide peace of mind and may help avoid the pitfalls of modern travel.  Here are a few ideas to help keep your time away safe, happy, and healthy.

Prepare your home - 
Have a trusted friend or neighbor check on the house once a day.  They can pick up the paper, put out the trash, get the mail, check your messages, make sure things are secure.  Make sure they have a key and alarm codes, contact information for you, your destination, and an alternate emergency contact.
Stop your mail at the post office.
Set some lights and a radio on timers to create the appearance of someone being home.
Set your heat (or A/C?) for lower energy consumption.
Make sure pets are boarded or cared for.
Check that windows and doors are locked.

Prepare your family/travel companions -
Discuss ahead of leaving when and where you'll stop for meals and breaks.
You might want to talk about paying speeding tickets, if you're traveling with friends. I received a shock to learn that a friend expected us to split the cost of any tickets, regardless of who was driving. 
What about unexpected car repairs?
Take along some snacks that everyone likes. 
Agree ahead of time on who gets to pick the music.  May I suggest driver's choice?  Bring your own music.
Talk with kids and let them pick one or two things to take.  Help them use their imagination to entertain themselves on the road.

Prepare yourself - 
Start packing early.  Get a full night's sleep, breakfast, and a cup of coffee before you leave.
Keep a list as you think of things NOT to forget, and check it.
Plan your snacking. Some prefer to take it along and avoid inflated prices, others are willing to pay $4 for a soda and not worrying about toting it along.
Keep your packing light but thoughtful.   Overpacking is a burden. 
Exception - take more than you need of prescription drugs, medical supplies, and special dietary needs, all in original packaging, of course. 
Take versatile clothing and minimum toiletries.
(Don't forget TSA rules for flying with liquids.)
What can you possibly forget that can't be replaced at Wal-mart or the hotel gift shop?
I ALWAYS take my swimsuit and one "dressy" outfit... just in case!
Dress as nice as you can and still be comfortable.  My own experience says it can make a difference.
There are many great insights on traveling with pets and children, too.

Hopefully your trip will be more peaceful than traveling 150 miles, nine months pregnant, on the back of a donkey.  That trip required an eternity of planning. 

Wishing you much joy and peace during this season of celebration of the perfect gift!

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