3 Stress-Busting, Time-Saving Tips for Traveling

Traveling for Thanksgiving? Long lines at the airport, hyperactive or cranky kids, and family drama can take a nice holiday and turn it into a high-stress war zone. Keep these tips in mind as you get ready for next week.

1. Pack smart. If you can manage, try to pack a smaller suitcase. Bypassing luggage check and baggage claim will save you loads of time, not to mention money.

Check with your airline first and see what their dimensions are for carry-on luggage. Pack clothes that you can mix and match for multiple looks-that way you end up packing less material but will still have a variety of options. Also, buy some travel-friendly beauty products so you can breeze through security. Plus, you won't miss them if you leave them in the hotel bathroom.

2. Keep kid stress at bay. Traveling for the first time with your little one can be a whole load of stress in itself. Many airlines let families with small children board first, but this extra time spent on the plane can actually trigger your child to be antsy. Send another member of your party to settle in so you can board towards the end of the allotted time. If you have a toddler, surprise him or her with a travel kit, packed with cheapie 99 cent store toys and give it to him or her when you get on the plane/train. This special present will keep your kid entertained and see the trip as special instead of frightening.

3. Deflect family woes. Visiting family isn't always a relaxing experience for everyone. Whether you get stress because of conflict with in-laws or Aunt Pat asking her annoying biannual question of if you've tied the knot yet. Create a mantra, which can be any word or phrase that will allow you to switch your attention from the conflict elsewhere - and breathe deeply, triggering your body to relax. Plus, volunteering to do the post-dinner cleanup will save you from having to make small talk with anyone who gives you agita.

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Reprinted with permission of Hearst Communications, Inc.