In an ideal world, we would all probably rather avoid traveling at all during the festive season. But let’s face it: this is exactly the time when most of us need to make our way between destinations. If the thought of delays, lines, and general holiday stress are weighing on your mind, these savvy holiday travel tips might be just what you need to survive!
Research and prepare
There’s nothing quite like being overly prepared when it comes to traveling — and this is especially true during the busiest travel period of the year, between Christmas and New Year’s. Make sure you have done your research on getting from point A to B, whether you are traveling by plane, car, or another mode of transport. Print out your itinerary, tickets, or road map. If flying, pay attention to your baggage allowance and weigh all your suitcases and bags ahead of the airport, to avoid any unnecessary issues at check-in.
Allow plenty of extra time
The saying “expect the best, prepare for the worst” is a fitting attitude to adopt when it comes to holiday season travel and punctuality. While it always helps to remain optimistic and complete your journey with a positive attitude no matter the outcome, you should always be prepared for the likely chance that you will experience delays at one or more points in your journey. The solution? Allow yourself ample time at every leg of a trip. This will ensure you do everything you can in your power to not miss travel deadlines (such as your flight!) while simultaneously alleviating stress.
Keep fluids and healthy snacks on hand
Did someone say hangry? You can’t think straight when your stomach is growling and you’re becoming increasingly ravenous with every passing minute you’re stuck in traffic or waiting at your boarding gate. If your body is running low on hydration or nutrients, you will be more likely to make mistakes, such as ending up in the wrong line, as well as having a shorter emotional fuse — and no one wants to travel with a grumpy companion. To avoid such circumstances, it pays to pack your own healthy snacks and drinks so you always have something on hand when you need it. The added bonus? You won’t have to rely on highway diners or airplane food, which can often be full of sodium, saturated fats, and refined sugars.
If you can avoid checking luggage, you will save yourself a lot of time spent in lines to drop your bags off. If you’re just heading off for a few days, try to streamline what you bring down to the necessities and just take a cabin bag with you.
A great way to help yourself travel light at this time of year is to ship gifts to the destination in advance or, alternatively, give gift cards so you don’t have the added bulk of bringing all your Christmas presents on the journey with you.
According to flight statistics, planes traveling earlier in the day have better punctuality. Plus, there are shorter lines at security and if your early morning flight is cancelled, you will hopefully have the option of taking a flight later in the day. Also, there will be fewer lines at security. The “early bird catches the worm” attitude also applied to road travel. Get up before dawn and grab a head start on the journey, sans traffic, while most people are still sleeping. You can always take a nap on the plane, in the car (if you’re not driving), or once you reach your destination.
No matter how many holiday travel hacks you arm yourself with, there’s bound to be some moments that will try to get the better of you. When such a situation arises, inhale and exhale! It will all be worth it — and mishaps often end up as something to laugh about — once you’re sitting down to Christmas dinner with your loved ones.