While the many cheaptravel options, including cheap airplane tickets, cheapdeals, discount hotel rooms, cheap auto rentals, discounttravel deals, and cheap vacation packages helpmake traveling home for the holidays affordable, staying with family can end upbeing not so fun for reasons ranging from sleeping on an air mattress to noalone time.

The following are tips on how to survive an extended staywith relatives this holiday season, according to Caroline Teel:

Makeyour air mattress (which gets colder than a traditional bed) more comfortableby padding it with extra blankets or use a sleep sack, which is easy to packand provides plenty of warmth. Push yourair mattress up against a wall if possible so your pillows dont fall off whileyou sleep and place a blanket or a yoga mat under the mattress to make it lessnoisy when you move around.

Whensleeping on futons or rock-hard mattresses, a self-inflating sleeping pad iseasy to use and will save your back.

Sincemost normal bedrooms do not come with blackout curtains, pack an eye mask toblock out light. Select a contoured maskthat allows for eye movement during sleep but still prevents light from gettingin.

Earplugsare a must if you are a light sleeper.

If youwill be sleeping in a living room, you may want to pack a privacy pop-up indoorbed tent to make a statement about the importance of alone time.

If youare staying in an environment that you are not used to, such as sharing a housewith smokers or pets that you are allergic to, bring along a tiny air purifierfor your room.

Insteadof spending time with other people 24/7, take some solo time to decompress eachday so that you are a better guest and family member. Take a walk, or nap and use the time to sleepor read. Another technique is to offerto run errands on your own.

Pack atravel sized white noise machine to give yourself some peace and quiet atnight.

Staycharged and connected. If a large groupis staying at your familys home, the Wi-Fi may get overwhelmed quickly. If staying online is important to you, bringalong a Wi-Fi hotspot so you can avoid the frustration of slow Internet. A travel-sized power strip can come in veryhandy if everyone is fighting over a single outlet to charge gadgets.

Workingout, whether you head out in the morning for a quick run, or get a day pass toa local gym, can give you an excuse to get out of the house. Exercise is a proven stress reducer and moodenhancer and will make you fell less guilt about eating lots of home cookedfood. If you cant get out of the house,pack exercise bands which take up minimal space in a bag and can be used for aneasy home workout.

Dontdominate the bathroom and do not leave your toiletries scattered all over thesink and shower if you are sharing a bathroom while staying with family.

Controlyour own climate by packing extra layers if you know the house is going to becold. In shoe free houses travelslippers can help keep your feet warm.

Packmodest pajamas and a robe that you will not be embarrassed to be seen in duringmiddle of the night bathroom trips.

Packtravel sized board games that are fun for the entire family such as FamilyFeud, HedBanz, UNO, and Trekking the National Parks.

Offerto grocery shop, cook, clean up, or buy dinner. Your goal should be to make your visit as easy on the host aspossible.

Beappreciative to your host for putting you up. A thank you note is always appreciated. Some good gift ideas include a bottle of wine and a wine chiller, a giftbasket full of tasty treats, an easy to care for plant, or a framed familyphoto.


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