No one looks forward to traveling during the holidays–it’s like death and taxes. The only guarantee in holiday travel is that it will entail the three c’s: crowds, chaos, and cranky.
I’ve put together a few helpful tasks and ideas that have helped me navigate the above during my odysseys home to spend the most wonderful time of the year with the most wonderful people I know. So with one of the most busy travel weeks underway, I hope you will find these travel tips helpful–here we go!
Don’t wrap your presents
If you’re packing your presents in your carry-on, don’t have them wrapped. Security may need to test your gourmet sea salts with their fancy chemicals (this indeed happened to me), and you don’t want them to have to rip through all your pretty wrap jobs.
But, wrap your presents if you check them
This is the easiest and cheapest option if you have a lot of gifts. Box them up all wrapped and check them through!
Better yet, ship all your presents
If you can afford it, ship it! Sometimes it’s cheaper to check them all as a second bag, but if you have really valuable gifts it could be worth it to ship them. Use that amazon prime account to it’s fullest potential and ship everything directly to your destination. You can even ship some wrapping paper if you have time to wrap once you get there, and you don’t want to impose on your holiday host.
Make security easy (for you and everyone else)
You should always try to do these, but here are some tips to get you through airport security like a champ so you don’t hold up the line:
- Keep your quart sized bag of liquids easily accessible so you can quickly pull them out of your suitcase and put them on the conveyor belt. You know these need to be put in a bin, so plan ahead! (it really bugs me–and I’m sure others!–when someone can’t find their bag of liquids, or forgets to take them out of their bag altogether and TSA has to stop the line)
- Loosen your shoe laces or unzip your boots when you get close to the front of the line for easy removal…or just wear slip on shoes!
- Keep any jewelry minimal (very minimal)
- Make sure you empty your pockets before you even step foot inside the airpot
- You can also be extra thorough and check tsa.gov before you start packing so you know what you can and cannot take through security! You may be trying to pack some unusual things for the holidays that you haven’t packed before (like snow globes–are those a liquid? Or Christmas crackers–explosives?), but TSA will have an answer!
Buffer your arrival and departure time
The holiday traffic (whether you’re just driving to the airport, or driving to your destination) will be horrible–yeah, mom is always right! It’s just part of the season. Give yourself ample time to get to and from the airport, get through security, and get to your gate without having to run!
Just like traffic, travel delays are part of the season. Make sure your laptop, phone, iPAD, kindle, etc. are all charged before you get to the airport so you can use them to pass the time while you wait at your gate. This will be a godsend when your flight is delayed and the only thing keeping you from blowing your head off is the book you’re devouring on your iPhone. Also, bringing a portable charger is key because then you won’t feel the need to conserve your battery to last you through the whole flight (if it ever takes off!). Bonus? You won’t have to compete for those coveted seats right next to the outlet.
Devour “that one book”
Have you been dying to read that New York Times bestseller from three years ago? Save it for the hellish day of holiday travel. Like I said above, sometimes the only thing keeping me from stressing out and missing my family when my flight keeps getting delayed is a really, really good book–and I save all the really, really good books for when I travel. And now even Netflix has their offline download available! Did you miss the Gilmore Girl’s reboot, A Year in the Life? Download it before you get to the airport and tune in to block out that horrible voice overhead breaking all of the hearts sitting at your gate with delay updates. Although, maybe keep one ear bud out–you don’t want to miss your flight!
Pack some patience
Prepare for lines, lots of waiting, traffic (on the road and on the tarmac), cranky passengers and more. There is nothing you can do to change all this, it’s the nature of holiday travel! All you can do is prepare for the hiccups and keep your attitude positive. Remember what this season is really all about, the season of giving and being with family!
I hope these travel tips help you get through the airport smoothly and help you distract yourself from the crazy stress of traveling during the holiday season!
How about you? Do you often travel during the holidays? What do you do to get through it smoothly!?