Wherever you’re heading, if you’re traveling during the holiday season, you need to realize that everyone else in the world is, too. But don’t let invasive security scanners, terrible drivers and long lines at airports get you down. I’m giving you tips to survive the holiday travel season without a Frosty the Snowman-size meltdown.
Do your research
Plan ahead check to see if the is an alternate route you could take home that has less traffic if you are becoming overwhelmed by bumper to bumper cars. Give yourself plenty of time and take a scenic route so you can stop and sightsee and let the kids run around somewhere other than gas stations or a truck stops.If flying, make sure you check the airline’s restrictions ahead of time on carry-on luggage and fees for checked bags.
Make sure you have a charged battery to keep connected to family. Also make sure you have the latest travel apps to keep track of flight times and status. If traveling via car make sure to have an app that allows you to know where the clean bathrooms are and the safest luggage full and ready to travel
Avoid checking bags altogether if you can. You won’t have to wait for your luggage at baggage pickup, and you won’t have to worry about your mom’s Christmas present getting lost. If you do check luggage, make sure you have all your medications and important documents and a change of clothes in your carry-on in case your luggage gets lost.
Short of doing yoga in the airport, the easiest way to mentally escape your stressful surroundings is to turn the volume down. The best way to do that is with earplugs. Crying baby next seat over on the plane? Earplugs. Brother’s music in the car driving you mad? Earplugs. If you really want to check out for a bit? Bring an eye mask (as long as you aren’t driving).
Don’t get hungry
When your tummy growls, your mind can’t think straight, and you could unknowingly get in the wrong line, take the wrong turn, or worse, upset an innocent flight attendant. Pack snacks and drinks, so you and your family will be fueled up for a road trip. If you’re flying, definitely get some food before you board the plane so you won’t have to rely on airline food if you’re sitting on the runway for hours.
Ship gifts or give gift cards
TSA suggests to ship wrapped gifts or wait until you reach your destination to wrap them, as they might have to unwrap a present to inspect it. Ship gifts ahead of time or bring the gift that can’t go wrong with a gift card to their favorite store or website.
Travel on off-peak days
The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year and can also cause you the biggest meltdown of the year. A better option is to leave early on Thanksgiving Day and avoid the record traffic the night before. Same goes with flying: if you fly on the actual holiday itself you’ll be avoiding the long lines and hoards of travelers.
Travel early or late in the day
Flight statistics show that planes traveling earlier in the day have a better on-time performance. Plus if your flight is cancelled, you will have the option of taking a flight later in the day. Also, there will be fewer lines at security. Best time to hit the road? When every one else is asleep — early morning or late at night. You can always take a nap when you arrive at your destination or Like me on the ride there (if you aren’t the driver, of course).
Plan for the unexpected
Have only a half hour before connecting to another flight? Traveling to NY, during snow season? Think ahead and plan accordingly. Leave extra time before flights to deal with security, extra time between connections and, for road trips, pack tire chains for snowy conditions, flashlights, and of course, a few band-aids never hurt either.
The overly friendly person next to you on the plane, the cancelled flights, the luggage that fell off in the middle of the highway? All of it will make for great stories over dinner when you finally make it to your destination. After all, holiday travel stress is just as much of a tradition as pumpkin pie and regifting.
Let’s Talk: What are some of your travel tips for the holiday? Do you travel at the holiday?