Can you completely avoid travel stress over the holidays? The answer is probably no, but you can manage better than most if you use the practical travel psychology tips discussed below.
Typically, 19% of couples argue on a road trip (this statistic might be higher during the holidays with increased traffic both on the road and in the air). Add in the stress of the holidays: budgets, family dynamics, overindulging and being away from the comforts of home. All of these situations need to be dealt with, and if you are not in tune with your family members and your partner’s unique travel personality, then yes, things can spiral out of control.
Like most things in life, once you have an understanding of something, it makes dealing with things a bit easier. Take a few minutes to write down your travel stress triggers and then ask your partner and family members to do the same. Then calmly discuss these traits and look at these differences as a strength, not triggers or frustrations. I suggest a discussion about your desires, wishes, and goals for your holiday trip before the bags are packed, and the packages are wrapped.
I understand there are things that are out of your control as it’s one of the busiest travel seasons of the year: the weather, increased traffic, Aunt Annie’s awful fruitcake (sorry Aunt Annie 🙂 ), and children wired and ready to unwrap packages. Remember how much fun it was to be a kid at Christmas?
Let’s move on to a few practical psychology tips.
Skip Travel Stressors: Use Myers-Briggs® Preferences
Use Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator, a practical psychology approach to help better understand family preferences. Learning about your family members specific traits aka their innate characteristics:
could be the difference between a stressful situation or a joyful one. The key is understanding a person’s unique inclinations and embracing these differences as an expression of who they are. Remember: we all have these preferences, yet we only tap into one and at the most four, so your extroverted husband/wife is not an alien, just an extrovert 🙂 Once these understanding sticks, you are well on your way to a happier holiday experience. Here are a few tips, to help you enjoy a joy-filled holiday season.
Steer Clear of Stressful Driving During the Holidays
Let’s face it road trips during the holidays are stressful. Heck, AAA even does a holiday travel forecast, which is typically gloom and doom. UGH! If your partner has a judging trait, which doesn’t mean they are judgmental, you would be wise to appoint them as the designated driver? This travel type loves structure and planning and they are quite happy to map out the trip and systematically follow it to a tee. Leave the driving to them and then sit back and enjoy the scenery. And yes, I understand you may have kids in the car repeatedly asking, “Are we there yet,” possibly getting on your nerves, but hopefully, you’ve planned road trip games for their personality types, too.
How to Reduce Stressful Holiday Travel Preparations
Do you live with a traveler who has the sensing preference? If so, they are uber practical and prefer things in their daily life to be useful. There is no one better to help coordinate the packing than a sensing traveler. They’ll leave behind the stiletto boots and opt for snow boots or forgo the trendy faux-leather jacket for a down alternative coat to keep you warm during the expected, heavy snowfalls. They are also the ideal person to uphold traditions. If your family always tops the tree with the angel, they will be sure to pack the angel or some other treasured ornament to bring a piece of home to your relative’s house. Trust them to make the travel preparations, and to keep family traditions alive; these are just a few of their many gifts.
How to Bypass the Stressful Holiday Blame Game
During the holidays it’s easy to point a finger and blame one another. Note that extroverts tend to blame everyone else. Yeah, it’s their way of being in the world, always looking to the outer world for energy and answers, while introverts tend to blame themselves, looking inward and reflecting to see what they could have done differently.
With this understanding, if you have an extrovert in the family know they will want to blame everyone else but themselves. Don’t take it personally and gently point out that no, it was an oversight on their part that they didn’t get the tires checked and this oversight could be the reason for the flat tire!
While on the other hand, the introvert might be in the corner brooding over why they got lost ten times. Might be because they don’t have the planner preference aka the “j” in their travel personality type or that they got lost in thought and forgot to download the most current mapping app, which includes road closures. With this understanding you may want to appoint another family member to handle directions; children and adults are welcome.
How to Choose the Perfect Gift
You may want to rely on a family member who possesses the intuitive travel personality trait, to pick a gift the person actually likes. This travel type tends to focus on patterns and the interrelationships of people, places, and things. They often see what is more interesting than what is, so novel gift ideas are their specialty and far surpass the dreaded “tie” gift for dad, an uncle, or grandpa. Seriously, if you leverage this trait you can expect plenty of “oohs and aahs” as family members unwrap their gifts.
Are You the Holiday Peacemaker?
If you have a person in the family with a feeling type preference, by all means, let them be the family spokesperson. A traveler with the feeling function genuinely believes feelings and relationships are most important. They will be the person to embrace the differences and the uniqueness of an individual’s personal needs. And with their kind and gentle nature, they help others be tolerant of the contradictory side of an issue. The indeed are the ‘peacemakers.’
Beyond Your Inner Travel Guide: Traditional Travel Tips
A few traditional travel tips that deal with the external world of travel, which may also lessen the strain of holiday travel.
- Don’t check a bag if flying; take a carryon, it’s your best bet. (And since the sensing traveler packed your bag the contents will be practical and spot on.)
- Ship packages to the destination; less hassle and trackable.
- Travel on the day: Thanksgiving or Christmas; it’s cheaper, and there are fewer crowds.
- If your schedule is flexible, travel in January; it’s cheaper, the holiday mayhem has subsided, more relaxed for all involved. This works best if you don’t have kids. Tip: Introverts will love you for this choice!
- If driving, leave in the wee hours of the morning, it may help. If flying, arrive earlier than stated on the ticket to ensure you are in the queue for boarding and such!
How it All Began
I’m a curious creative and when something piques my curiosity, I can’t help but dive in to see where it all leads. I’ve been fascinated with personality typing for decades, and this fascination has led me to a new idea. I’ve discovered a useful way to apply personality typing to travel. There are 16 travel personality types in total inspired by Jung, Myers-Briggs® Type Indicator and the Keirsey Temperament Sorter. To learn more about how this all began, click here.
My dream is to develop a growing community of like-minded travelers who seek to know more about the 16 travel personalities. You the traveler are the heart and soul of this community, and I will rely on you to contribute reviews on recent vacations, staycations, attractions visits and more. It will be a wonderful community, full of honesty, fun and genuine insights about real-world destinations.
Stay In Touch
I hope you will join but for now, click here to find me on Instagram or if you prefer Pinterest, Twitter or Google+ for travel personality news and notes. I will also be launching a Podcast, will need to figure out how to get travelers like you to volunteer and share your experiences. OR should I do YouTube? Do you want to be my first guest?
My goal is to revolutionize the way we plan a vacation and to help you have happier experiences, sexy sojourns, and memorable family vacations once you arrive at your dream destination. Travel, be safe, and enjoy getting to know your genuine travel personality!
Check out my radio interview on Discover Your Travel Personality?, aired on Speaking of Travel part of the iHeart radio network with Marilyn Ball. Give it a listen here.
Photo Credit: Regent Street, London: Jamie Davie: Unsplash