The holiday travel season is here! Traveling during the holiday season is both exciting and overwhelming. It’s such a fun time to see and experience new or favorite places, but it can also be a stressful time to travel. Airports are packed, roads are congested, tickets and accommodations are increased and people are often stressed and irritable. Take away some of the stress of traveling by being prepared this holiday season. Whether you’re traveling within the United States or going abroad– the following travel tips will help you enjoy your experience more. Here are some practical tips on how to travel during the holidays and make the most out of it.
20 Tips For Traveling During The Holidays
Monitoring Flight Deals
Traveling during the holidays can be super pricey. If you are planning a trip this holiday season save yourself some money by monitoring flight deals. The more flexible you can be with your travel plans the better. Maybe fly into a less popular alternate airport or travel at off-peak days and times. If you have points and miles take advantage and use them! Time your purchase. Often the best time to buy flights is apparently on Sundays and early in the morning (5am) when there are the most deals. Flights are usually the least expensive between 4 months and 3 weeks before the departure date. Booking within 3 weeks of the departure date is risky! Also set price alert on flights you are on the lookout for and you will get notified when the price drops.
Traveling During Off-Peak Days and Times
If you can be flexible when planning your holiday trip, it will pay off. Traveling during off-peak days and times will help save you some money. Typically booking your travel for departure on Tuesday or Wednesday is the least expensive option. Sundays are usually the most expensive day to travel so avoiding that will save you money. Although it’s not always the most fun time to be traveling the cheapest options for travel are usually early in the morning or late at night. Red eyes often go for much cheaper than midday flights. Avoiding peak travel days will help make your travel experience less hectic, expensive and overall more enjoyable!
Registering for TSA PreCheck
TSA PreCheck will cost you a little more ($78 for 5 years) but will make your traveling experience go so much more smoothly and quickly. You can even get PreCheck for free if you have certain qualifying credit cards. If you travel often, you will make that cost well worth it after 5 years. Skip those crazy, hectic holiday lines, wait times and breeze through TSA PreCheck instead. If you aren’t already qualified be sure to enroll with plenty of time before your travel date. It can take up to 60 days to get verified.
Packing Healthy Snacks
Packing snacks is always a good idea! Airports and roads during the holidays can oftentimes be incredibly busy. If you are rushing to catch a flight or stuck in traffic you might not have time to pull off the highway or wait in a long line for food. Packing some healthy snacks will ensure you get what you need to get through a busy travel day.
Bring Extra Clothing in Your Carry-ON
Unfortunately the busyness of airports during the holidays can lead to lost luggage and delayed flights. Be sure to pack a change of clothes in your carry-on and some essential toiletries so that if you are stuck at the airport for an extended period of time or forced to check into a hotel without your luggage, you have something clean and comfortable to put on.
Arriving At The Airport Early
I personally struggle with this, but when I do arrive early it always pays off. Even if the airport ends up being quieter while you’re traveling it always feels so much better to travel without being in a rush. Travel planning to get there with plenty of time to spare will ensure you won’t be running to your gate or missing your flight. That way you have time to wait in lines at security and get food if need be.
Know that one of the downfalls of traveling during the holidays is there is a higher chance that things may not go your way. Airports are understaffed and with so many bookings something is bound to go wrong for many. Have a backup plan in case your plans get delayed. Make the most of it and go with the flow.
Easier said than done and I by no means should be giving advice on this, but packing light always makes travel so much easier and less stressful. It illuminates the possibility of having an overweight bag or sore muscles from carrying a too heavy carry-on.
Make a Packing List
Making a packing list will help to make certain you don’t forget something important. Include everything on your list from clothes to shoes to toiletries and electronics. It will also help you avoid packing unnecessary items and stay focused on what you need for your trip.
Use Packing Cubes
Packing cubes are a great way to organize your items when packing. It also helps to consolidate and leave plenty of room for all your needs.
Traveling with little ones during the holiday season is incredibly challenging. All of the things you need to travel with little ones makes traveling difficult any time of year, but the added stress of holiday gifts adds a whole other level. If you are planning on celebrating Christmas and putting gifts under the tree, you can ship the gifts ahead of time. It dissolves the dilemma of dealing with the gifts while trying to travel and get through an airport. Don’t wrap gifts ahead of time and wrap them once you arrive!
Holiday Travel Essentials
We’ve all done it. You get to the airport and find your iPhone or kindle is low on battery and when you rifle through your bag you realize you’ve forgotten your charger. Although they often sell chargers in airports, they are ridiculously priced so make sure to remember to pack your own.
The stress, altitude and commotion of travel is enough to cause a headache. Be sure to have some Advil, Tylenol, or other pain aid on hand to help nip that headache before it worsens. Jess swears by the Equilibria Relief Balm and the Recovery Roll-On.
Flying at high elevations is the perfect recipe for dehydration and dryness. And there is nothing worse than dry lips or skin while traveling. Pack your favorite lip balm and travel sized lotion to ensure you will be ready when the dry skin strikes.
I personally always pack snacks when I travel. I get anxiety about not having enough food and there is something about a travel day that makes me ravenous. When the day is done, I can count about twice as many meals as I usually have. Especially during the holidays when airports are packed, lines are long and you could be rushing to get to your gate in time. You might not have time to grab food and it’s always handy to have a snack on hand in case of an emergency.
Packing a water bottle is always essential when traveling. Be sure to either pour out or drink the water before going through security lines though. There are so many spots to fill water bottles in airports now. It’s eco-friendly and it saves so much money on buying plastic water bottles.
These days hand sanitizer is a must when traveling. It’s great to have a travel size one in your bag ready to spray on before a meal or after touching an escalator, elevator, etc. There are so many germs going around this season, taking this one extra precautionary measure could save you from getting sick during the holidays.
I love my AirPods for so many reasons and always bring them when I travel. They are so small and come in their charging case which is super convenient. They also have the great noise cancelling feature, which is great for traveling and tuning out all the chatter and overwhelming noises around you. If you have a long flight, layover or other downtime, listening to music or a podcast is a great way to wind down and enjoy yourself. Jess loves the Bose noise cancelling headphones for travel.
Bringing along a couple masks is a great idea these days for traveling. This way if you end up next to someone coughing on the plane you can throw on your mask and feel a little less susceptible to getting sick. I used to get sick so often when traveling and having the option to wear a mask now to decrease the risk is super handy.
It is always nice to have the option of brushing your teeth or washing your face while traveling. And you never know when plans might change and you are left without luggage for a night or longer. Be sure to pack some essential toiletries so you are prepared no matter the scenario.
What are your best travel tips and tricks for the holiday season? Let us know in the comments below!
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