For many people, Thanksgiving is a holiday to look forward to all year long. It’s a great time to catch up with those you care most about as you reflect together over a delicious meal. However, while this is true, it can also be a very stressful time of year – especially if you’re one of the millions of Americans who travel to celebrate. We’ve asked men’s lifestyle and travel expert Joe Miragliotta from Joe’s Daily to share with us a list of things that should make the event a little easier, so you can focus on what’s important: making the most of the time you have with your loved ones.

Thanksgiving turkey

It’s not Thanksgiving without the turkey!

Find out how You can Help Ahead of Time

Even if you’ve never hosted your own Thanksgiving, it’s no secret that there’s a TON to do. And that doesn’t just mean the day of the big meal. Reach out to your host at least a few days before you leave to see exactly what you can do to help. Chances are they might only want an extra set of hands in the kitchen, but they could also need assistance picking up chairs or supplies. Finding out what you can do ahead of time helps both of you know what to expect, without throwing off anyone’s game plan.

Bring a Gift for Your Hosts

This goes for both your Thanksgiving meal host, as well as your lodging hosts (if you have any). It could be your parents, your aunt and uncle, your friends – doesn’t matter. As much as they may enjoy your company, they’re still going out of their way for you, and should be acknowledged for it. A bottle of wine is a great option for the people you’re staying with, but you should try to get something for your meal hosts that they wouldn’t feel like they need to share with others. As we’ve established, they’ve worked hard, and they’re already sharing so much. Treating them to a small gift just for them is a really easy and nice gesture that they would definitely appreciate.

Gift flowers

Flowers make a great gift for your Thanksgiving host. Credit Cam Morin on Unsplash

Prep as Much as You can Before You Leave

If you’re planning to bring anything with you, prep whatever you can while you’re still home. Of course you can always bring a store-bought pie (which, why not do both?), but you really can’t beat the thoughtful vibe that comes with something you put together yourself. Your contribution a cocktail? Make the special syrup or mix and pack it in your carry-on (in a well-sealed and bagged container). Have a very specific seasoning mix that you like to use for that special dish? Put it together and bring it along. Especially if you plan to cook in your host’s kitchen, this makes things less of a headache for both of you, in addition to freeing up your time so you can help them get more done.

Use Packing Organizers

So this is more of a general travel tip, but if you’re not using them yet – or you’re using plastic bags – you’re really missing out. Their usefulness doesn’t stop after your bags are packed. They help keep things tidy throughout your trip; something that well-traveled people know can be surprisingly difficult. They’re awesome for just about everyone and every situation. If you’re staying in a hotel, organizers help you keep track of things whether you’re an unpacker or not. And if you’re staying with someone you know, you can easily access everything without tearing your suitcase apart and leaving your hosts worried that they’ve taken in a slob.

Travel organizers

Bring a Way to Relax/Pamper Yourself once You’re There

As much as you hopefully love the people you’re spending your time with, as we’ve said before, the holidays are stressful. Bring something along that will help you to take a minute to decompress and be good to yourself. This way, you can make sure you don’t carry any tension into the limited time you have with those you care about. After all, this should be a happy time.

Hopefully you find this list useful for your holiday travels, and it helps you to not lose sight of what’s really important about this holiday. Whatever your plans for this Thanksgiving, we hope it’s absolutely amazing! Here’s to all of the leftover pie with our coffee in the morning.

Pumpkin Pie with coffee

Credit Element5 Digital on Unsplash

Joe Miragliotta of Joe’s Daily is an official Travelocity Gnational Gnomad. Gnational Gnomads is an exclusive group of high-profile travel and lifestyle experts who offer tips and inspiration on behalf of Travelocity.

Travelocity compensates authors for their writings appearing on this site; such compensation may include travel and other costs.

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