Handling Holiday Stress with Grace

As we shop for gifts, welcome house guests, and prepare for parties and holiday meals, the joy of the holiday season has a tendency to also bring quite a lot of stress. While stress levels increase, our positive attitudes and mannerly ways often times decrease. This year, let’s not have that happen! Here are some of my tips to ensure you have a merry and bright holiday season!

  1. The Shopping Experience
    • Be prepared to handle the crowds. Do not push your way through people, simply say “excuse me” as you move.
    • Always thank the sales associate who help you find the gift you want, the right size/color of an item, and sometimes even do your gift wrapping. They appreciate polite customers ūüôā
    • Avoid fights with other shoppers over the last item in stock. You will find something else and let’s be honest.. Getting dragged out of the store by mall security is not worth it.
    • Give people their space while looking through clothing racks, items on the shelf, and standing in line.
    • Speaking of standing in line, do not huff and puff because the line is long. Instead, use that time wisely. Get your coupons and method of payment ready so you can be quick at the register.
    • When you check out, do not be on your cell phone. Give the sales associate your full attention and be sure to wish him/her “Happy Holidays.”
  2. Welcoming House Guests
    • Create a welcoming guest room.
      • Make a cute sign/photo frame that has the WiFi password posted.

        Graphic Available for Download on Life of Verde's

        Download Sign at Life of Verde’s

      • Put extra pillows and blankets in the closet.
      • If you use your guest room for extra closet/storage space, clear some space for your guests to hang their clothes or put them in the dresser.
      • Have a luggage rack in the room.
      • Put together a travel toiletry basket (toothpaste, toothbrush, deodorant, cotton balls, band-aids, etc.) and leave it on the bathroom counter in case your guest forgot anything.
      • Ensure the room smells clean, but avoid using too much fragrance – some people get headaches from overly scented rooms.
    • If you have a visit packed with events, make a festive itinerary and send it to your guests in advance! Perhaps these guests have never joined you before and do not know your traditions, the area, or even what to wear for your events; so, this is a great way to make them feel welcome before they arrive.
    • Plan your menu and/or make reservations far in advance.
    • If there are things you know your guests like (a snack food, certain type of soda, etc.), try to stock up on a few things. For example, I do not drink coffee, but I know most people do so, I make sure I have it prior to guests arriving.
    • It is certainly easier said than done, but try to check as many things off your to-do list as you can before your guests arrive. That way, you can enjoy the time with them. For example, make sure gifts are wrapped and any food preparation you can do early is done.
  3. Hosting the Party/Holiday Meal
    • Set your table and decorate our home ahead of time.
    • Plan out where you will place the food and make sure the serving dishes fit so when food is ready to come out of the kitchen, it goes directly to the table.
    • Do not wait until the last minute to shop for ingredients. It is better to stock-up early and have enough for the season so you do not have to run to the store at the last minute.
    • Prepare as much as you can before the day of the event. If you can make certain dishes and freeze them (without losing any taste quality), go for it. If you can cut up ingredients and store them before making a mix or tossing them into a recipe, get all the prep work out of the way.

I hope these tips help you to have a low-stress holiday and one you can find some time to relax! Remember, as busy as your schedule gets, always be polite and think positively.. You will get through it! Enjoy the time with your family, friends, and loved ones!

Happy Holidays, y’all!

AB

Travel Tips: Sharing Hotel Rooms

To close out my “travel etiquette mini series” I am shifting my focus from air travel to the hotel. Whether you are on a trip with friends, traveling for work, or visiting family, it is likely you will be sharing a hotel room with others. So, how do you get through a few days with a new found roommate?

  1. Be courteous of your roommate’s sleeping habits
    • If you tend to stay up late, but your roommate goes to sleep early:
      • Keep the lights low and the noise level even lower.
      • If you like to read before bed, I suggest bringing a small clip-on reading lamp. Kudos to those hotels who now have the mini light next to the bed!
      • If you are someone who watches TV to fall asleep, be sure to watch it on your laptop/tablet/iPad using headphones.
      • Put your phone on vibrate/silent.
    • If you tend to wake up early, but your roommate sleeps in later:
      • Put aside your outfit and toiletries the night before so you are not making noise as you rummage through your bag in the morning.
      • Set your alarm with a “peaceful” ringtone at a reasonable volume, and when it goes off, be sure to wake up rather than hit snooze repeatedly.
      • Once you are awake, avoid turning on the lights in the main room. If you need assistance finding your way around, simply use the light on your phone.
      • When using the bathroom, ensure you close the door all the way before turning on the light.
      • If you exit the room, close the door gently.
  2. Share the bathroom
    • It is perfectly fine to leave your toiletries in the bathroom; however, do not take over the entire counter or leave your things messy. Keep your things to one side/corner.
    • Ensure you both have enough time to get ready. Most hotels have a mirror outside the bathroom so for those of us who need to put on makeup or fix our hair, use that area instead of hogging of the bathroom.
    • Ask before claiming the hotel toiletries for yourself. If you both need them, simply call the front desk or housekeeping and ask for additional items.
    • In regards to cleanliness, ensure you rinse out the sink, flush the toilet, and clean up any hairs that may have strayed from brushing or shaving.
  3. Be aware of your own habits
    • Do you snore at night? If so, bring some earplugs for your roommate. If your snoring is truly bad, you will want to let your roommate know ahead of time.
    • Do you sleep in the freezing cold or prefer to be warm and toasty? Compromise on a temperature for the room and bring pajamas that can be versatile for any temperature.
    • Do you use products with a heavy smell? You may be used to them after every day use, but remember you are in a small space. Try not to go overboard on products and fragrances.

We are all creatures of habit and when we travel, our habits become more apparent to us. Ensure you are being a courteous roommate and do not takeover as if the space is your own.

Safe travels y’all!

AB

The Do’s and Don’ts of Airplane Travel

Welcome to part two of my Travel Etiquette Mini Series. In my job I travel quite a bit and all my trips start and end the same way… at the airport. In part one I discussed my tips and tricks for airport etiquette, but what about actually being on the plane? Here are my thoughts on how we can all be courteous while we travel:

  1. Open seating. It is totally up to you!
    • If you are traveling with other people who have a boarding number after your own, true travel etiquette is to give up your earlier boarding position and join your travel partner at his/her boarding position. However, if you do board ahead and want to¬†try to save a seat, simply place a coat, purse, or small bag in the seat you hope to save:
      • If someone asks for the seat, kindly say, “I was hoping to save this for my friend/spouse/parent, do you mind looking for another seat?” Normally, people will be understanding especially if there are still plenty of seats left, but do keep in mind it is not your right to save that seat.
      • If the airplane is filling up and the flight attendant has started making announcements to “take any open seat you see,” it is time to give up your seat saving mission. You do not want to be the person who delayed your flight because you forced others to play musical chairs until your travel partner got on the plane.
    • If you see someone traveling with an individual who needs assistance (i.e. a parent and younger child or someone with a disability), but they cannot find a seat together and you have an open seat next to you… Do the right thing and offer your seat to them.
  2. Stowing Your Carry-On Items
    • Place your bag above your own seat. Do not take up the storage space above another row unless your space is full and the flight attendant directs this.
    • If you need to move someone’s bag a little¬†in order to fit your’s in the overhead bin, ask the person, “Do you mind if I scoot your bag over a bit?” Most people will not have a problem, it is simply polite to ask in case they have something fragile in their bag or are traveling with hanging garments (gowns, suits, etc.).
    • If the flight attendant says your bag will not fit, chances are it really will not. Allow the flight attendant to place your bag in another overhead bin. It is not worth holding up¬†the line of people behind you and potentially delaying your flight because you tried to play Tetris with the bags in the overhead bin.
    • Always offer assistance to someone you see struggling to get their bag in the overhead bin.
  3. Be a Good “Seat Mate”
    • You cannot go wrong by starting off your trip with a simple smile and saying “hello” to the person you will be seated next to for several hours.
    • If you have a middle or window seat and need to get up to stretch your legs or use the restroom, be sure to politely ask the individuals closer to the aisle if they will please move for you.
    • When standing up, do not grab the seat in front of you. This often pulls that individual’s seat backwards and can be quite disruptive.
    • Who gets the arm rest? True travel etiquette indicates the person in the middle seat gets both arm rests while the people in the outside seats get those arm rests. In a row with only two seats? Share the middle armrest.
    • We all like to travel in comfort, but do not get too comfortable!
      • Keep your shoes on. You may think you do not have feet that smell, but it is very possible that you do. Also, some people just do not like feet.
      • If you want to take a nap, be cognizant of your surroundings. Try your very best not to lean on the person next to you. Travel Tip: Use a neck pillow, it helps to prevent the lean!
      • Do not bring foods on the plane that have heavy odors. For example, a tuna packet probably is not the best thing to crack open mid flight.
      • Keep the volume on your headphones low. Your seat mate very likely does not want to hear what you are listening to especially if he/she is trying to nap, read, or do work.
      • Avoid getting drunk and making your seat mate feel uncomfortable.
      • Check before you recline! Ensure the person behind you is not getting something from under your seat or using the tray table. If they are, simply say, “Excuse me, I’m going to recline my chair, I just want to let you know.” This will avoid you bumping him/her, accidentally spilling a drink, or even potentially breaking an open laptop.
  4. Be Courteous to the Flight Attendants
    • Pay attention to the flight attendants when they give the safety instructions. Yes, they are often the same on every flight, but they really are important to know.
    • Listen when they tell you it is time to turn off electronics or stop using certain ones. Side note: Always be sure your devices are in airplane mode!
    • When the flight attendant brings you a snack or asks for your drink order, always say “please” and “thank you.”
  5. De-Planing
    • We all know the mad rush to get out of your seats as soon as the “Fasten Seat-belt” light turns off, but remember you are in a small area, there really is not a lot of space for you to move. Let the people ahead of you have the room they need to get out of their seats and retrieve¬†their bags¬†from the overhead bin.
    • If you have a short connection time to your next flight, ask the flight attendant during the flight if it would be possible for you to get off the plane before others. Due to a delay on one of flights, there was a passenger who had a very short amount of time to get to¬†his connection. When we landed and were taxiing to the gate, the flight attendant said, “We have a passenger on board who needs to exit quickly to make a short connection. Please allow this person through the aisle before we begin regular de-planing.” If asked this on one of your flights, be kind and follow the request to help the other person.
    • If there is someone who needs special assistance exiting the plane, allow them to go first.
    • Thank the flight crew on your way off the plane.

Keep these tips in mind the next time you find yourself on a plane!

Safe travels y’all!

AB

Travel Tips: Airport Etiquette

Over the last year, I have found myself spending a lot of time in airports and on planes. These opportunities for travel have not only been fun, but also taught me an awful lot about travel etiquette. With all I have learned, I decided to write a “travel mini-series” to share my experience!

  1. Be prepared for the security line. We know it is coming… The moment you have to go through the metal detector/body scanner, so why not be ready for it? Often times, the security lines can be long leaving us to stand there with nothing to do. Rather than using our phones to distract us and strolling along until we reach the scanner, let’s use this time to start preparing for the security check.
    • Throw away your beverage/empty your water bottle.
    • Remove your coat, sweater, scarf, etc. and hold it while you walk.
    • Take off your heavy jewelry, watch, and belt.
      • Personally, I leave a small jewelry bag in my purse or carry-on when I travel so when I get to security I can put all my things in that little bag and secure it in my own carry-on instead of using the small tray security provides. Also, this allows me to go straight from security to my gate without having to stop to put everything back on, I can do it at my gate instead. Travel Tip: A small Ziploc¬†bag works just as well!
    • Have your ID and boarding pass out to hand it to the TSA Agent right away.
    • If you are traveling with a laptop/tablet, put it in an easily accessible place so you can take it out quickly for the security scan.
    • When you get to the scanner, do not rush the people in front of you. Be patient and wait to place your things on the scanner belt.
    • Once you have cleared the scanner, pick up your things and step aside. In most airports, they have benches very close to security so you can put all your belongings away and accessories back on you.
  2. The Walk (sometimes run) to your gate… When walking in the terminal, follow the same rules as the road. Stay to the far right if you are casually walking to your gate so you can leave the inside “lanes” open for those in a rush to get to their gate or moving at a faster pace.
  3. Do Not Hog the Plug! You know which one I mean… The incredibly coveted electrical plug to charge your phone, iPad/tablet, laptop, etc.
    • First and foremost, be sure to charge your electronics before leaving home. This will prevent you from having to search the terminal for an electrical outlet or charging station.
    • If you need to charge your phone/electronics before your flight, use any free plug you can find or wait patiently for one to become available. If you have to wait, stand near the charging station and wait your turn. Do not stare down all the people currently using the charging station hoping someone will give up.
    • When using the plug/charging station, make your best effort to not use the electronic device you are charging unless it is an emergency or absolutely necessary. If other people are waiting, using your device while it charges only makes the process take longer. Be considerate of the others in line.
    • Use one plug and one plug only! If there are people waiting, do not plug-in your personal phone, work phone, iPad/tablet, and laptop all at the same time. NOTE: If you have a plug that turns into an extension and has 4 plug-ins then this is OK.
    • Travel Tip: If you have a plug that works as an extender and you are not using all of the extra outlets, offer it to other people!¬†Kudos to these people for being friendly travelers and genuinely kind!
    • If people are waiting, you do not need to charge your phone to 100%. Get your battery to a decent level then let the next person use the plug.
  4. Waiting In Line to Board Your Flight
    • Whether you are on a flight with an already designated seat or getting in line based on boarding groups to pick your own seat, we all have to wait in line to get on the plane. When you get in line, be sure not to crowd the people¬†ahead of you, try to squeeze your way to the front, or complain if you end up towards the end of the line.
    • When¬†traveling in a group you would like to sit with¬†but you do not have boarding numbers close to one another, true travel etiquette dictates you get in line with the individual who has the later boarding number.

What travel etiquette do’s and don’ts have you witnessed? Are there travel situations you do not know how to navigate? Let me know!

With these new tips, I hope you will be an even more polite and considerate traveler!

Safe travels y’all!

AB