If you are one of the millions of people who will travel this holiday season, these few tips could save you time and possibly your sanity. 1. Trade the Gifts for Travel In 2010, I decided to forgo the commercial trappings of Christmas and gave my family a trip instead. I scored a “rent by owner” on VRBO.com and ended up on an island in the Bahamas and on the trip of a lifetime. Suffice it to say, I planned this outing right on the “edge of my comfort zone,” complete with a small plane, an even smaller boat, rental cabins, an angry eel and a couple of sharks in the middle of the ocean. No gifts, just memories etched in our minds. 2. Try Something New Flying can be stressful enough, but during the holidays it can be downright brutal. Why not pick a city within a day’s drive for a special adventure? In Michigan, we are blessed to be within hours of Chicago and a day’s drive to Montreal. Did you know you can travel all around Michigan — and even to the North Pole — on stream trains? Go to michigansteamtrain.com to plan a trip that keeps you off the roads and out of the sky. 3. Trash Everyone’s Expectations Women report more increased stress during the holidays (44 percent of women versus 31 percent of men). Why? Because women assume the lion’s share of planning trips, meals and purchasing presents. Why not start the holiday season off right by sitting down with your family and lowering everyone’s expectations. No one is going to die if the turkey burns. Remember, this meal is eaten in only 20 minutes! 4. Pack Your Patience Depression peaks during the holidays, and you can bet you will cross paths with someone who is on “full tilt.” Make sure you treat this person with extra kindness; be the person who doesn’t smirk when you see a baby on board, or act rudely to the waitress who is struggling to pay her way through college. Be the person who lets everyone IN on the highway. 5. Plan for Pleasure Lastly, make sure you plan something extra special for yourself. This is not the time to forgo the monthly massage, or the needed pedicure or NOT plan the trip that will bring you true joy. Plan for your happiness, too, and ramp-up your pampering. Your family will thank you. Follow your heart this holiday season, and I guarantee, you will be traveling in the right direction.