The 9 Emotional Stages of Holiday Travel
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The 9 Emotional Stages of Holiday Travel

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As visions of family meals and gift giving dance in our heads, we eagerly await the holiday season. But, those rose-colored scenes soon turn to grey when holiday travel descends upon us. From planning your trip to getting through the airport (and dinner with your family), the whole ordeal is sure to play with your emotions.

Knowing what to expect will make it a little better; read on for the vicious emotional cycle you’ll undeniably experience during this festive time of year.

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!

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