Traveling around the holidays? Excited? Or, are you dreading the logistics, crowds, and prices?
With a bit of planning, traveling during the holidays doesn’t have to be painful. Here are our top 16 shortcuts and tips to help navigate the most wonderful time of the year and travel merry!
Don’t wait until the last minute to book your holiday travel plans. You’ll be left with undesirable flight times, and exorbitant prices. Plan ahead as far as possible.
Avoid Peak Travel Days
For example, at Thanksgiving, avoid flying Wednesday, and of course, find another day to fly home other than Sunday. If you have the flexibility outside of school holidays, consider flying on Thanksgiving morning and come home the following week when kids are already back in school.
Follow the Deals
Make sure you are following airlines and travel deal sites on social media and remember to sign up for their newsletters. If flash sales pop up or last minute deals are announced, you’ll be the first to know.
Early Morning Flights
Nothing can put a damper in your holiday spirit more than a delayed or canceled flight. We know it isn’t fun to wake up when it’s still dark outside, but try and book the first flights out in the morning to avoid late afternoon and evening delays.
Be Careful with Connections
If you are traveling across the country, or to a destination that requires a change of planes, be careful of the airports you transfer in. Since it’s winter, there might be severe weather in the midwest and east coast. If you can, book a nonstop, but if it’s unavoidable, try airports that won’t face severe weather.
Be flexible wherever you can, whether it’s with your travel dates, departure and/or arrival airport, or destination. Your destination may be set in stone (if you are traveling back home for the holidays), but you can consider flying during cheaper dates. Or, if there are multiple airports near your destination, research to see which is cheaper. Considering all your options can save you money, and hopefully, avoid the stress of holiday crowds.
Load Your Phone With Useful Travel Apps
Before and during your travels, be sure to have some useful travel apps on your phone to help along the way. SeatGuru, Waze, Google Trips, and more, can help you plan ahead, check flight times, security line wait times, organize, and avoid crowds during your stay.
With all the fears of delayed flights, changing plans, and lost baggage, you don’t want to become part of the statistic of a grumpy holiday traveler. Stick to carry-on luggage only. We know you can do it!
Bring an Empty Bag
For any gifts you receive, bring a folded up duffel bag, so you have the option of packing gifts to go. You can check your bag for the flight back home, or consider shipping your gifts back home.
Ship Gifts. Don’t Pack Them
If you are planning on bringing gifts with you during your holiday travels, ship them, don’t pack them. Use Amazon to ship ahead of time. This way you don’t have to sacrifice valuable space in your carry-on only. Wink. Wink.
Don’t Wrap Gifts Ahead of Time
Save present wrapping until you arrive at your destination. Wrapped gifts can be torn during travels, and you may run the risk of security questioning what’s behind the wrapping paper.
Less Gifts. More Experiences.
If you are traveling with family and friends over the holidays, consider planning more experiences together. You’ll certainly make more memories, getting out and exploring, than worry too much about piles of presents.
Hand Sanitizer & Wipes
Don’t forget to pack plenty of travel size hand sanitizers. Traveling in the winter (during cold and flu season) can give you a gift you don’t want to receive. Getting sick during or after your vacation can create holiday gloom. Wipe down airplane seats and tray tables, and use hand sanitizer more than you think necessary.
Keep Your Cool and Spread Holiday Cheer!
If things don’t go as you envisioned, don’t let stress get the best of you. Also, being extra nice to airport employees and flight attendants can work to your benefit. People don’t respond well to anger, and it’s usually not their fault if travel plans go awry. Consider having your kids write holiday cards to the pilots and flight attendants to make traveling around the holidays more enjoyable for everyone.