For most of us, holiday travel is synonymous with delays, snowstorms, long lines, cancellations and an overall feeling of stress. Unless you are one of the Kardashians and have access to your own jet, most of us avoid traveling during the holidays altogether. But what if you could bypass the stress? With a little preparation, you can make the most of your holiday travels and enjoy time with your family! Check out the following travel tips and take on holiday travel like a boss, even without your own jet.
Holiday Travel Tip 1: Timing is everything
Hate traffic and long lines? Who doesn’t? Get ahead in your holiday travel plans by leaving your home extra early. Plan to leave when traffic is less congested and arrive early at the airport. If you are using a for of green transportation make sure to factor in any stops or delays. Being the first to check in will also assure you don’t get bumped off a full flight. It’s a general rule of thumb to arrive 2 hours before your domestic flight and 3 hours for an international flight. Average traffic in your area and give yourself plenty of time to avoid the long lines at the check in and security gate.
Holiday Travel Tip 2: Creatures of Comfort
Everyone wants make a great impression on those relatives or friends we only see once a year, but remember holiday travel involves a lot of waiting and sometimes even walking. Dressing in comfortable clothing and shoes will actually increase your patience. Remember to layer your clothing, so you can easily adapt to changing environments. Some may choose to carry a change for clothes and makeup in their carry-on so you can freshen up before you meet your family. Whether you are driving or flying, make sure you are wearing something warm and comfortable, in case of a delay, you might have to spend the night in it. Remember to pack a first aid kit and any medication you may need and keep it close to you at all times.
Holiday Travel Tip 3: Staying charged keeps you in charge.
Most of us can’t live without our phones or tablets when we are at home, much less when we are traveling. Make sure you carry all of your necessary chargers and headphones with you at all times. Leave your phone charged the night before to insure a full battery when you need it most. With most US airports offering free wifi now, you can take advantage of waiting time to catch up on your favorite TV shows, movies or books. Although some airlines offer movies on board and headphones, downloading your own will give you options and keep everyone in your family happy.
Holiday Travel Tip 4: Avoid “hangry” outbursts
When you are stressed out and hungry, you get “hangry” and that’s a dangerous combination during holiday travel. Reduce your anger, by preparing snacks for your journey. This is especially important for long road trips by car or train. When it comes to air travel, keep in mind TSA regulations and only prepare non-liquid items. You can carry trail mix, sandwiches and small granola bars. Bring with you an empty water bottle and fill it at a water fountain or soda fountain once you’ve crossed the security gate and stay hydrated. Airport food is infamously overpriced, however you can google your terminal before hand and find a map of what food options are available. During a connecting flight or delay you can make the most of your wait and try that trendy bar or bakeshop you read about.
Holiday Travel Tip 5: More happiness in giving
If your holiday travel plans include a plane, remember that your gifts may be unwrapped by security. Avoid frustration by planning to wrap your gifts when you arrive. Bring flat wrapping paper and greeting cards with you in your suitcase and remember to leave some time upon arrival for wrapping. Pack your holiday gifts safely to insure you aren’t left scrambling for new gifts at the airport gift shop. Snow globes, wine and other items containing liquid are not allowed on carryons, remember to pack them in eco-bubble or even a pair of jeans and place them in the center of your check bag. The TSA does allow certain food items like holiday cookies or turkeys to go on the plane with you, but you will probably have extra security screening. Check out the TSA holiday travel tips for what other gift items are allowed.
Above all having the right attitude will help you face the challenges of holiday travel. Keep a positive mindset and be friendly. Everyone is in the same situation as you during this time of year and anxiously trying to get to their final destination. A little kindness and a lot of preparation goes a long way to reducing your stress during holiday travels. What are your favorite holiday travel tips? Share in the comments section below.