Be well and Travel well this Holiday Season!

By Henrey Moore from FitWellTraveler,

This holiday season, you’ve decided to switch things up and celebrate in the comforts of someone else’s cozy home via a home exchange. However, the airports and roads are full of people traveling for work, for pleasure, or to go and see family. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are among the busiest travel days of the year. If you are one of the millions to hit the road this year, you may find that with the crowds come extra stress– and the unexpected nature of the season doesn’t lend any favors, either. So how do you enjoy your travels without succumbing to the chaos of holiday travel? Use these helpful ideas to guide you through December and have your best vacation this holiday season.

1. Take Care of Gifts Online

You most likely booked your entire holiday online, so why not your gifts? Don’t make things more difficult for yourself. Skip the malls and big box stores in favor of buying your gifts online. You can find exactly what you are looking for and get the best price. Buy gifts for everyone on your list before your big trip. Most sites allow you to send their items with a gift receipt– some will even wrap them for you! The best part is all the original gifts you can find through online retailers. Search for things on online marketplaces like Etsy and you can support small artisans while finding some unique things.

2. Protecting Your Home While You Travel

If you opted for a traditional reciprocal home exchange in which you stay at the home of the person that is coming to yours, you can rest easy knowing your home is secure because it remains occupied (no need for a Home Alone re-creation). However, if you decided to go the way of GuestPoints and non-reciprocal exchanges, you might want to take note of the following suggestions:

To keep your mind at ease while on the road, be sure your home is secure. Install a security system that monitors your home and alerts the appropriate channels in case of a break in. Schedule this appointment as soon as possible– the holidays can get booked very quick considering burglars search for unoccupied homes. You can also mitigate the risk by hiring a housekeeper. Having someone come in and out of the house on a regular basis signals to burglars that someone is home for the holidays. If you can’t get a sitter but your place has a driveway, ask a neighbor to park in your spot throughout the time you are gone. Even that little bit can be enough to prevent a break-in.

3. Don’t Forget Self Care

Your vacation is supposed to be a time for rest and relaxation, so you want to take care of your body and mind to enjoy it. For starters, you can take advantage of the home exchange by immersing yourself in your host’s hometown by traveling to new places. Perhaps your host left you a guide to some of their favorite spots including restaurants, attractions, and activities. Don’t be afraid to venture out and truly take advantage of this unique experience.

Be sure to take time out of your days to exercise too. Physical activity helps boost feel-good endorphins all while regulating the amount of cortisol in your system. Exercise will keep you from gaining those extra pounds the holidays are known for, all while boosting your immune system and keeping your mind sharp.

While your home and workplace are bound to be filled with holiday treats, maintain a balanced, healthy diet throughout the season. Occasionally spoiling yourself with something won’t hurt, but balance it out by planning your meals to be full of protein, healthy fats, whole grains, and vegetables. Eating well keeps your body in shape so it can handle the pressures of the holidays better. If you do feel stressed, certain foods like dark chocolate, avocado, and citrus fruit can help you feel better naturally.

Finally, now is as good a time as ever to take up meditation. Since you are traveling by home exchange, it’s safe to say you are probably staying in a place much larger than a hotel room, so find that special place and take the time to meditate. Practicing mindfulness in a quiet area every day keeps you centered throughout the hectic season. Make it a daily habit and take it with you while on vacation. You’ll find that meditating will help you appreciate where you are more, enhancing your trip overall. Applications like Headspace provide digital meditation guides that help train you in this ancient practice.

If you plan to travel over the holidays, you want those plans to include good times, not stress and related illnesses. The best way to prevent this is to plan ahead and establish habits to take care of yourself. Buy all your gifts online. You can find unique things at the best price and have the gifts delivered to your loved one’s doorsteps. Secure your home before your travels for peace of mind while you are out of town. Finally, take care of yourself by exercising, eating right, and practicing mindfulness. There is a connection between your health and mental well-being, so caring for yourself reduces stress and prevents illness.

And don’t forget that if you want to spend less, stress less, and travel more join GuestToGuest.

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