Holiday travel can be both exciting and stressful. Whether you plan to fly or drive, there are some excellent tips to make it less stressful.
Firstly, plan for something to go wrong. Make sure you have the money and time available in case of weather or other delays. Always leave a day or two before you need to be home at the end of the trip. Delays happen. You will be more prepared if you need to spend time in limbo. Pay attention to the weather, where you are, and where you are going.
Next, be flexible with your travel days and times. Consider traveling on off-peak days to avoid crowds and higher prices. Flying or driving during non-peak hours can make your journey more enjoyable and less crowded. Arrive at the airport early to account for potential delays, long lines, and security checks. Use travel apps that can help you. Waze is great for driving, and each airline has an app to stay on top of flights.
Most travel tips say to book in advance. While that is good advice for popular locations and especially for rental cars, you can save money booking last minute, sometimes up to 25%. Either way, be sure to have a budget and stick to it. Be mindful of holiday-related price increases in some destinations. And I would strongly recommend travel insurance. Travel insurance is much easier to get reimbursement for if you get a weather delay than the airlines, which typically won’t reimburse for the weather.
Finally, pack light. Then, edit your bag and pack less. Bringing only carry-on luggage ensures that your bag will get to your destination with you. Even if you are driving, empty your car and only carry the essentials, including jumper cables, a spare tire, and a safety kit. I always download books, movies, and podcasts at home to listen to while traveling. Here are some things that you should bring every time:
- Water bottles: most airports now have fillers past security
- Power bank/ chargers
- Copy of your travel documents
- Laundry bag
With preparation, your holiday travel should be a breeze, but if you encounter a delay, at least you are prepared. Let friends or family know your travel plans, including your itinerary. The best advice is to remember to be adaptable and keep a sense of humor. Unexpected challenges can arise, but you can navigate them smoothly with good planning and a positive mindset. Safe travels!