It’s no secret that traveling during the holidays can be a stressful experience. Ideally, the holidays should be a time of rest and relaxation. Instead, however, they often end up being one of the busiest times of the year — both at work and at home. It can be hard to balance remembering everything you need to, seeing everyone, and actually getting where you need to go. So here are a few ways you can use your calendar to set boundaries, reminders, and suggestions to lower your holiday travel stress.

Plan Your Route

One of the best ways to use your calendar to lower your travel stress is to map out your route ahead of time. Maybe you’re bouncing between different family members’ houses, taking a road trip, or flying abroad. It can be overwhelming to keep all the logistics in your head at the same time. Instead, once you have dates and times set in stone, put them on your calendar. You can use it to map out the itinerary of your travel plans.

One of the benefits of doing this is that you don’t have to keep everything in mind all the time. Whenever you forget where you need to be at a certain time, you can just take a look at your calendar. It will do all the heavy lifting for you, so you can enjoy yourself wherever you are.

Create Packing Lists

There’s nothing quite like packing for a long trip only to realize you forgot something crucial on the way. You should have the luxury of knowing you packed everything by the time you’ve left the house. And your calendar will help you avoid all that stress and anxiety by helping you make sure you’ve packed everything you need.

Many calendars have checklist features that will allow you to add items onto certain days. So you can create a day called “packing day” on your calendar. There, make a list titled “essentials” and include everything you absolutely need on it. Clothes and the like are important, and you could make a separate list to make sure you bring enough. But here, focus on things like medicine, money, passport (if necessary), and other things you just can’t leave home without.

Set Valuable Reminders

Just like your travel itinerary and your checklists, essential pre-departure appointments can add up. It’s easy to put off troublesome, time-consuming appointments like doctor’s visits until the last minute. But if you really need to get something checked out, it’s best to do it before you’re away for an extended period of time. Set a reminder notification on your calendar. You’ll be able to ensure your health as best you can before letting go and enjoying time with family. Nothing ruins the holiday mood like a medical emergency in the middle of dinner.

Another great use of reminders is for any long-term cooking plans. Holiday birds take a notoriously long time to thaw — up to multiple days at a time. The house chef can use their calendar to mark the exact moment they started thawing the soon-to-be roast. And a reminder notification will ping them when it’s a good time to start cookin’. Reminders can also be used for shopping, cleaning, or anything else you need to remember.

Coordinate People In Different Time Zones

If you’re traveling across different time zones, keeping track of when is when can be tricky. For example, if you’re on the west coast heading east to visit family, there’s a three-hour time difference. Communicating when you’ll be arriving can get confusing. And this confusion can create real problems if you’re waiting on someone to pick you up at a certain time. Using an online calendar like Cron Calendar or Calendar will provide the correct time in each time zone for each respective person looking at it.

Another benefit of coordinating multiple people using a calendar is that it also helps those who can’t travel join in on the holiday fun. Not every family member can travel from far away for the holidays, so they’ll remain in their respective time zone. “Let’s do a family zoom at seven,” can spell danger — “Your seven or my seven?” An online calendar alert system will help ping everyone when it’s the right time to hop online for a call. It’s a great way to make sure no one’s left hearing dial tones instead of cheery music.

Protect Your Travel Time

After a long time traveling, you’re finally reunited with family members from around the world, ready to enjoy your vacation. Before bed, you open your phone and check your email — just in case — to find that you have twenty missed messages. There’s a client who’s not happy with the service they received, and they want to renegotiate their contract. And just as you were finally settling in.

Even if you let your co-workers know that you won’t be available on certain dates, it’s easy for them to forget. How is everyone at the office supposed to keep track of everyone else’s respective holiday plans, after all? Well, a coordinated online calendar will allow you to do exactly that. You can use your calendar to share your sacred, untouchable vacation days with the rest of your team. Even if something urgent comes up, they’ll have to reach out to someone else because you’re on Do Not Disturb.

School Starts Eventually

Speaking of travel schedules, it is important to make sure that you don’t “overextend yourself or your kids.” It can be tempting to want to make the most of your kids’ vacation days. There’s only so much time that they’ll be this young, after all, and it’s understandable you’d want to make the most of it. However, school does start again, potentially on different days or even months for kids of different ages. Different schools, both individual as well as public and private, have different back-to-school days as well.

Once again, an online calendar will help you keep track of each of your kids’ respective vacation limits. It’s also great for helping your kids stay up to date with their friend’s and peers’ schedules as well. That way, they can more easily plan hangouts over vacation — without having to worry if it will work or not.

Track Accommodations

Depending on how big your family is, there simply might not be enough room for everyone to stay in one place. Different family members, especially those traveling from afar, may have to find accommodation elsewhere. Limits imposed by hotels, homestays, rental cars, and other transport can create extra mini-timelines within a holiday’s timeframe. It can be hard to coordinate by word of mouth with everyone’s various travel times.

Get everyone on the same page by syncing up your calendars on one group calendar. That way, everyone can see everyone else’s plans. The whole group will be able to better understand what limits they’re working with. That way, there’s a lower chance some people will feel left out or forgotten from certain plans. It’s something that tends to happen with larger family gatherings and can add a sour feeling to the holidays if left unchecked.

Anything You Want To Remember

There are numerous ways to use your calendar to take some stress out of your holiday travel plans. You can use them to set valuable reminders and checklists — and make important timelines visible to anyone who needs to see them. One of the hardest parts of the holidays, especially with big families, is coordinating logistics. Use your calendar to your advantage so you can actually enjoy the holidays with (relative) ease.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by ROMAN ODINTSOV; Pexels; Thank you!