Traveling during the holiday season can be one of the most stressful experiences. However, you can minimize stress and fully enjoy the holidays with these helpful tips!
Regardless of your method of travel, there are some key guidelines you should follow to take control of your travel situation and reduce stress.
- Plan, Research, Prepare: Take the time to research and plan your trip to prevent unnecessary stress. Consider your travel options, such as plane, train, or automobile, and choose the one that suits you best. If you're driving, familiarize yourself with alternative driving routes in case of traffic. Determine the best time to leave to avoid heavy traffic and ensure you have convenient stops along the way. If you need overnight accommodations, book in advance to secure your stay. By planning ahead, you can figure out the ideal departure time to arrive at your destination on time.
- Build in Buffer Time: To minimize stress, include buffer time in your travel plans. This gives you flexibility in case of unforeseen circumstances like traffic or forgetting something. Similarly, avoid scheduling anything immediately after your holiday meal or celebration to allow for quality time with your family instead of rushing around.
- Travel During Non-Peak Times: Most people tend to travel around Thanksgiving, creating congestion and potential delays. Take steps to avoid peak travel times by leaving earlier in the morning, arriving and departing later, or even planning to arrive a day prior and leave the day after if it's appropriate. By avoiding mid-morning rushes and choosing less crowded travel periods, you can reduce stress during your journey.
- Host the Gathering: If traveling is too difficult or stressful for you, consider hosting the holiday event yourself. While this comes with its own stress, there are ways to alleviate it, such as finding helpful resources for hosting parties or trying new recipes. Just be prepared for the possibility of being chosen as the host every year if you do an exceptional job!
Traveling by Car
Driving to your holiday gathering is common and comes with its own set of stresses. Here are some car travel tips to make your journey more enjoyable:
- Plan Your Route: Unless you've made the trip multiple times, familiarize yourself with the route and research alternative routes to avoid traffic. Even a few minutes of planning can save you from headaches on the road.
- Prepare for Traffic: Traffic can be unpredictable, so mentally prepare yourself and allow ample buffer time to handle any delays. Use navigation apps or GPS devices that track traffic to anticipate and avoid congestion.
- Follow Driving Safety Tips: Focus on driving safely and responsibly at all times, especially during the holiday season when winter weather and festive drinks can increase risks. If you've been drinking, do not drive. Ensure you have a designated driver or stay overnight until you're sober. Stay vigilant on the road and be cautious of others who may also be impaired or driving recklessly.
Flying during the holiday season can be particularly hectic, but you can still reduce stress with these tips:
- Follow Basic Flying Stress Tips: Even during busier times, you can alleviate stress by following airport tips and strategies we've discussed in the past. Additionally, try to avoid flight disruptions by allowing extra time at the airport for security checks and check-in procedures.
- Book Early: Booking your flight well in advance can save money and provide peace of mind. Aim to book your holiday flights between Labor Day and Halloween to secure the best options before prices increase and availability decreases.
Medicare Coverage and Travel
Medicare Part A and Part B provide coverage for medical expenses within the United States, but they have limited to no coverage for medical emergencies that occur overseas. However, there are a few exceptions where Medicare does offer coverage outside the country.
One example is if you are traveling through Canada by direct route between Alaska and another U.S. state. In this case, Medicare may cover emergency medical care received in Canada.
Another example is when a medical emergency occurs near the U.S. border and the closest hospital happens to be in a foreign country. Medicare may provide coverage for the emergency services received at that foreign hospital.
It is important to note that these instances of coverage abroad are limited to emergency care only. Routine or non-emergency care received outside the United States is generally not covered by Medicare.
Medicare Supplement plans, also known as Medigap plans, offer nationwide coverage within the United States. In addition, certain plans provide an emergency medical benefit for individuals traveling overseas, which becomes available once a small deductible has been met.
Medicare Advantage (Part C)
Medicare Advantage plans generally do not provide coverage for medical services received outside of your network service area, except in cases of emergency. Additionally, Medicare Advantage plans, also known as Part C plans, typically do not offer coverage for medical expenses incurred while traveling internationally. Therefore, it is crucial to carefully review your plan details to determine the extent of your coverage.
To ensure comprehensive coverage while traveling overseas, it is recommended to consider purchasing travel insurance that includes medical benefits. Travel insurance can provide coverage for emergencies, accidents, and illnesses that may occur during international travel and can offer peace of mind when dealing with unexpected medical expenses.
Remember to carefully review the terms and conditions of any travel insurance policy to understand the extent of coverage provided and any exclusions or limitations that may apply.
Remember, the holidays should be a time of joy and celebration. By preparing and implementing these travel tips, you can minimize stress and make your holiday journey a more enjoyable experience.