Be Thankful, Patient, and Travel Smart

“Whenever I get gloomy with the state of the world, I think about the arrivals gate at Heathrow Airport. General opinion’s starting to make out that we live in a world of hatred and greed, but I don’t see that. It seems to me that love is everywhere. Often, it’s not particularly dignified or newsworthy, but it’s always there – fathers and sons, mothers and daughters, husbands and wives, boyfriends, girlfriends, old friends. When the planes hit the Twin Towers, as far as I know, none of the phone calls from the people on board were messages of hate or revenge – they were all messages of love. If you look for it, I’ve got a sneaky feeling you’ll find that love actually is all around.” – Love Actually 

I, like most of you, will be traveling this holiday season. Whatever reason or holiday you celebrate remember to take a breath before going into stressful situations, like the security line in the airport or any ticket counter. The people there doing their jobs are probably already overwhelmed with the sheer size of the crowds that are coming through, they don’t need cranky customers on top of that.

A few tips to remember if you are going to be flying:

  • Remember your headphones!! Yes you can normally buy some at the airport or train station, but no one wants to do that.
  • If flying Southwest remember to check in 24 hours early or you will end up in the middle seat! (I have yet to meet ANYONE who likes that seat)
  • Wear shoes that are easy to take off and put back on (hopefully they are also comfortable to walk in).
    • If there is a long line at security and you are wearing tennis shoes or shoes that take time to get off loosen them up while you are waiting in line.
  • Most of us travel with a laptop or tablet, make sure these are either easily accessible or slip them out while waiting in the security line.
  • Make sure if you have a water bottle it is empty or else it will be confiscated!
  • I also try to pack any liquids in my check on, but if that is unavoidable then make sure they meet standards and are in baggies before you get to the airport! *check your airlines website for specifics
  • When you get up to the belt to put your bag through the X-ray assume you are going to need two tubs for your stuff. Most airports I have been through require you to put your laptop/tablet in a separate container. Your shoes, sweater, and sometimes your bag will go in the other.
    • I like to just grab two together and put them on the table at the same time, putting my laptop in the first one then bag and shoes in the second. This seems to make it go a little faster and keeps the line moving a bit.
    • REMEMBER TO EMPTY YOUR POCKETS!
  • Airports have been getting better about location and number of outlets available for you to charge your electronics on, but it still may be a good idea to bring an external charge if you have one.
  • ASSUME there are going to be loads of people there and prep accordingly! Meditate for an extra minute in the car if needed.
    • Make sure you accommodate for crowds when you plan your time getting to your gate after checking bags and getting through security (I normally plan to arrive at the airport 2 hours prior to my flight just in case. Sometimes it works out that I can get on an earlier flight and sometimes I need all of the 2 hours it just depends on the airport.)
    • If you do get to your gate in plenty of time it is always fun to people watch, wondering where they are going or coming from.
  • Around the holiday season a lot of the airports are decorated, so sit back and enjoy the atmosphere.

There is something about this time of year that I feel makes it the best time of the year. Yes, there may be stress there in seeing some family, but there is also joy in seeing loved ones you haven’t seen for a while. There is an air of celebration that you get to come together and find out about each others lives, see how its been for them. There is a joy and optimism for the coming year.

Our future is our own to create. So this holiday season share with your family, be grateful that you are surrounded with people who love you. It is a good time to share experiences and reflect on areas where we can do better. Take time to reminisce and talk about shared stories. If you are unsure about how to get conversation going you can always suggest playing a game, board games or card games, which can at least give you all a common topic to start with.

Movies are also a great alternative here are my top 10 holiday movies. I am limiting myself because my list would end up way too long if I didn’t. Also these are in no order other than top 10 (I may like 5 better than 1)

  1. Sleepless in Seattle
  2. An Affair to Remember (as mentioned in the Sleepless in Seattle)
  3. It’s a Wonderful life
  4. White Christmas
  5. The Grinch (animated or live action or if you are me, both)
  6. Home Alone (1 and 2 for sure, 3 is okay but doesn’t have Macaulay Culkin)
  7. Die Hard
  8. The Santa Claus Movies (1 and 2 for sure)
  9. Love Actually
  10. The Family Stone

Ok I can’t help myself  appendix list:

  1. The Polar Express
  2. All of the Claymation movies (Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, Santa Claus is Coming to Town
  3. Miracle on 34th Street
  4. The Snow Queen (The 3 hour version starring Bridget Fonda that came out in 2002)
  5. If you are looking for a good holiday cookie cutter romance movie Hallmark Channel is chalk full of them this time of year.

“I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual.” – Henry David Thoreau

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