With the AAA telling us that 24 million drivers will be traveling to Thanksgiving withFall driving family and friends, get ready for some crowded roads. Many people are choosing not to travel at all due to the stress and hectic highways. Here are a holiday travel tips to help you stay present, calm and arrive ready to play after your road trip.

1. Get extra rest and exercise in the days before you leave. Starting out rested will help you stay positive and adjust to changes along the road. Exercising also helps your body deal with the stress of sitting for long periods.

2. Avoid traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after. Give yourself plenty of time for the drive. Leaving very early in the morning, driving late at night may help. Traffic is busiest on the day right before and after holidays. Whenever possible adjust your work schedule to take an extra day off.

3.  Most holiday drivers go about 50 – 100 miles but still, plan out your route. Print out maps or get free ones at your local AAA, if you’re a member, and double-check them. Contact the family or friends you are going to visit and ask about weather conditions and construction. I’ve found also that MapQuest or Google maps may not give you the most efficient route, so ask for suggestions from the locals about that as well.

4.. Consider your fellow travelers. Each one of us has our own travel style. I like to prepare and get out the door with plenty of time to spare (not always accomplished, but it’s my goal). It assures me that I won’t get stressed about arriving on time and allows space for  unforeseen delays. Other travelers are less concerned about that and will stall until the last minute to leave. Communication is the key here and the discussions must happen before the day you travel. If going with kids and friends, have a family meeting a few days before the trip and discuss the plan.

5. If you get frazzled, practice a little deep breathing in a quiet space, or ask for some quiet if on the road. In a few minutes you can trigger your body’s relaxation response and notice your blood pressure dropping, your heart slowing, your mind clearing.

6. Gracious surrender! You’ve done all your preparations. You’re traveling to be with family and friends. It’s time to let go and let the adventure begin. See with new eyes, even on familiar roads, connect with your passengers, and enjoy the freedom of being mobile when so many are not. Find gratitude and you open your heart to a memorable holiday.

Copyright 2010, Elaine Masters, RYT, Speaker, Trip Wellness Specialist & Award-winning author of Drivetime Yoga and Flytime Yoga available at: www.DrivetimeYoga.com