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Today’s guest post comes just in time for the brutal Christmas holiday travels you are about to endure next week. Here are 6 key things to keep in mind before you get on that plane, train, bus, or in the car to visit your family – from Jennifer Scott:
Holiday traveling is the stuff that nightmares are made of…if you’re a pessimist, that is. If you’re an optimist, on the other hand, busy, chaotic holiday travel is a perfect opportunity to have a little fun and enjoy the ride – literally.
Whether you’re an eternal optimist looking for some fun ways to spice up a long journey this holiday season or a stressed-out parent riddled with anxiety over the potential tantrums your kids might have in a (very) public space in the next few weeks, these tips will help you create the most memorable (and enjoyable) holiday travel experience of your life.
Stock Up on Snacks. Lots of Snacks.
Yep, snacks are a must. Diet or no diet, there are plenty of appetizing, portable eats that can calm your nerves or at least give you something to do if you’re forced to spend a few idle hours waiting in an airport or riding in a car. And if you prefer a special kind of creamer or milk for your caffeine fix, make sure you bring an ample supply. Of course, if you’re traveling by air, your options are a bit more limited, but do what you can to keep yourself fueled to avoid any “hangriness” among your travel companions.
Download Some Useful Apps in Advance.
There are a variety of fun, entertaining, and even useful apps to help you find what you need and pass the time while you’re traveling over the holidays. But make sure to download them before you go – you know, while you’re on Wi-Fi and not burning up your precious data – so there’s no waiting for an app to download when you need an instant distraction during your journey.
Plan Some Quality Time…Apart.
The whole point of traveling together over the holidays is to spend tons of quality time with family and friends. But too many people who aren’t used to living under the same roof suddenly sparring over shower time can quickly lead to rising tensions. That’s why it’s a good idea to plan not only for quality time with your loved ones, but ample time for everyone to have their own space so your family members are slightly less inclined to have an impromptu fist fight over the turkey.
Skip Staying with Relatives and Make It a Mini-Vacation.
Because there are fewer business travelers, it might be possible to book a posh hotel on the cheap over the holidays. So if staying with your Aunt Susan and her obnoxious teenagers isn’t the most fun-filled way to spend a holiday, turn it into a mini-adventure and stay in a hotel, B&B, or vacation rental home instead of with family. Probably a good idea to pick a lodging option within a reasonable distance of your family so you can still make an appearance at family gatherings, unless of course you’re going for the absence-makes-the-heart-grow-fonder effect.
Don’t Sweat Layovers.
If you’re flying to your destination this holiday season and your journey involves a connecting flight or two, a lengthy layover could be in your future. Typically, layovers – especially unexpected layovers – are a source of massive frustration for travelers. But here’s the good news: Airports can be a whole lot of fun these days, with fancy restaurants, classy shops, and even day spa services. Make the most of whatever time you end up hanging around an airport by making it part of your adventure.
Don’t be a stick in the mud when it comes to holiday travel. It’s all part of the fun, with every misstep an opportunity to create memories that will last a lifetime. Planning only goes so far. With a go-with-the-flow attitude and a willingness to think outside the normal holiday rules (that you likely impose on yourself), holiday travel can be something to look forward to each year.
If You’re Travelling with Kids, Keep them Entertained.
Traveling with kids is a challenge all on its own, but with a lighthearted attitude you can make it fun for everyone. Silly games, such as scavenger hunts or license-plate “I Spy” games, sing-a-longs, and story time sessions can pass the time and distract antsy passengers from the fact that you won’t be “there yet” for at least six more hours.
If you’re flying, be sure to bring plenty of distractions. Books, a tablet loaded with kid games and apps, and DVDs all serve as great ways to keep little ones entertained on long flights. You might also bring along their favorite blanket and a pillow so that they can take a nap when they’re ready for a rest. Just be sure the carry-on you pack all these distractions in meets the luggage size requirements set by your airline.
Jennifer Scott is a lifelong sufferer of anxiety and depression. She created her website, SpiritFinder.org, as a platform for advocacy on opening up about mental health. Through the site, she hopes to share the steps and success stories that can help others realize their own power. When she isn’t working on her website, she enjoys traveling, working with animals, and seeking out new friendships and adventures.
Last week I had the very fun opportunity to take on the writing endurance/music obsession challenge known to music nerds all over the world as One Week One Band. It is a comprehensive music encyclopedia, where each week a new writer takes on the task of writing about a musician or band that holds a special place in their heart.
I chose Bob Dylan, which, if you know my dog is named Mr. Bojangles, and that Bob portraits hang on many of my walls, or that I almost named this blog No Direction Home, or that my next tattoo is Dylan lyrics, will be of no surprise to you. His music and words have had a tremendous impact on my life, and will continue to for the rest of my life.
With that in mind, if you want to read my raves about my five favourite Bob Dylan albums, go to this page on One Week One Band and scroll to the bottom to find my first entry, then work your way up and forward through the newer pages. There are many posts, and many songs! Like I said, endurance challenge. It was exhausting and fun, and I highly recommend any writer looking to go deep into their own obsession with an artist to consider taking on the challenge.
Just kidding, I’ll save that for later tonight! But really, it was super fun to be a part of this contest. It gave me a chance to discover a bunch of new bands I would have otherwise missed out on, and forced me to really think about just what it is that makes me so passionate about a good song. I wrote some of my favourite posts because of the questions AUX asked us.
One of my choices – Sarah Smith – even made it to the finals, which is great.
Those of you that entered and didn’t make it to the final three should still be proud, you put yourself out there to be judged, and that takes balls and faith in your own talent – two things that will get you far in this industry if you keep up the hard work. Be sure to stick it out – many bands will break up before they hit their stride, it’s the ones who don’t that eventually get signed.
It was also interesting to read my fellow bloggers opinions on all the topics we covered, and see their favourites. Despite it being an indie rock focused panel, for the most part we had pretty diverse opinions and choices.
The show happens tonight, and I look forward to finding out who takes home the grand prize! Will you be there?
As I was going through the entries, the other song that really stood out to me was Sarah Smith’s “Shine Bright.” While the video is just a simple live one shot on a cell phone, her voice is so strong it immediately pulled me in and I had to listen to it a few times before moving on.
Upon googling, I discovered she is actually the singer from The Joys, a band I’m not super familiar with but had definitely heard of as they’ve been around a long time. This explained the sheer depth of her songwriting skills and ease of performance on stage. Nothing makes up for experience.
The song is catchy, the lyrics are strong and her voice has that smoky quality I absolutely adore and seek out in female musicians. She can sing like no one’s business.
I also love that the song has that slightly alt-country sound, which is something I was looking for in the entries. These performers will be opening for The Trews, so their music needs to mesh genre wise with the headliner, and this definitely does. It feels like something The Trews would have written if they had a female leading the band.
If you like the song as much as I do, go give it a vote!
After the entries went live for voting this week I spent some time going through the videos and listening to the different songs submitted, and there was definitely a band that instantly stuck out to me among the rest – ilvekyo.
The strange name immediately made me curious, and from the still alone I could tell this would be a video worth checking out as it looked to be a recording session rather than a live video. After going through countless entries I was getting tired, but as soon as I hit play on this song I was fully awake again and I knew I had found my first choice.
The video is great – love the focus on the strings on their instruments – but most importantly, they are incredibly talented. The song is catchy, I immediately found myself clapping along, and the lyrics and songwriting ability is the strongest I found among the various submissions. I love their vocal tone, the pacing, the verse is as strong as the chorus, and each instrument stands out on its own and adds something unique to the song. I played it at least 10 times more before moving on to the next video.
They remind me of some of my favourite slightly country tinged alternative bands like Wilco, but without being derivative at all. They would fit perfectly up there on stage with The Trews.
I wanted to learn more about them, and after googling, discovered someone else thinks they’re pretty great too.
Watch the video below and then go HERE to give them a vote – they deserve to be up on that stage. And remember you can vote once every 24 hours!