There was recently an article about the emotional stages of holiday travel. My initial thought was is it real? However, as I reviewed the articles I realized there is indeed some substance to the idea of emotional stages of holiday travel.
Below are the stages outlined by Travel + Leisure:
Nostalgia: It starts a little before thanksgiving, that excitement deep inside begins to bubble up as you think of peppermint hot chocolate, Christmas carols and decade-long family traditions. You can’t wait to get home to see your family—after all, your hometown probably wins for the most holiday cheer.
Anxiety: A creeping concern starts to set in a week once holiday travel nears. What will you pack? What will you bring your in-laws? How will you get to the airport? How will you EVER finish all your work?
Productivity: After you’ve worried for a while, it’s time to go into hyper drive and Get. Things. Done. Finish those work projects, pack those bags and call your mom ‘cause you’re coming home.
Frustration: *Cue mini meltdown* Crowds getting to the airport, crowds going through the airport—not to mention the tedious process of going through airport security (wish you got that TSA Pre-check don’t you?). And why does it take people so long to take off their shoes?! On your way to the gate, you may want to download a good movie, because you just know there will be a flight delay.
Calm: Ah, finally! You’ve made it on your flight; you’ve got everything you need. It’s time to sit back, ready to sit back, relax and order a drink or two. You are on your way.
Happiness: This is the good part, the part you’ve been waiting for all year. You’re there! Whether you’re heading home or ditching tradition for an adventure, this was all worth it. Enjoy your family and friends!
Annoyance: Half through your traditions you start to wonder why exactly you where so exited to come here in the first place. You’re mom is at you again: “Are you taking of yourself?” “Are you eating enough?” “Don’t you want to move back home?” Also: you forgot how small your childhood twin bed actually is—this lack of sleep does not help with your patience for the above.
Excitement: As holiday time winds down you start to miss your grown-up life and start to dream of your return trip home. Though a little travel anxiety might sneak in there, you let it go, because now you’re a pro.
Relief: Your finally home, your trip is done; your apartment is (hopefully) clean. Take a day or two to relax—maybe head to a spa?
No matter how tough holiday travel is you love your traditions and will undoubtedly do the same thing next year—gear up for that nostalgia! Remember to take travel essentials along with you to help you along the journey. A travel sewing kit is helpful to have available for quick mending and a travel neck wallet is ideal for keeping up with small items you’ll need to access quickly during your journey.