This time of the year is always hectic, especially when you add traveling into the mix. Between standstill traffic on the roadways, packed airports, crying kids and canceled flights – it can put a damper on your holiday spirit.
To avoid all the craziness, we put together some tips and tricks to get you to your holiday destination safe and sound. Remember, it's always important to do your research, plan ahead and be prepared for the unexpected!
Don’t travel during high peak times. Sitting in bumper-to-bumper traffic is no fun. If you want to avoid this, leave earlier (or later) than everyone else. The few days before Christmas and the day after New Year's Day are all peak travel days. However, if you do end up traveling on these days, plan for more cars on the road and add to your driving time. The same advice goes for airports if you want to avoid long check-in lines and crowds. If you have to fly during peak travel days, add some patience to your travel gear so you are prepared for whatever experience awaits at your local airport.
Check your flight information often. If you show up to the airport without having checked the status of your flight, you may be in for a rude awakening. During this time of the year, weather changes frequently and can delay or cancel flights unexpectedly. To stay on top of things, follow your airline on social media, check-in online 24 hours ahead of your flight, download the airline's smartphone app or call the airline before you leave your house!
Pack light. If you're flying, minimize added fees by limiting your baggage to carry-on items only. This way you'll also avoid the baggage check-in lines all together. A good packing tip is to plan your days ahead while packing. For example, if you're leaving for four days, you really only need 4-5 outfits (plus, you'll be wearing one already!). There are also packing techniques you can try that will give you more space in your carry-on. We also suggest you ship larger gifts to your destination instead of packing them. Or keep the gifts simple by buying gift cards for your family members!
Carry an emergency road kit. This is essential for long road trips. During the winter, the roads can be filled with ice and snow… and these conditions can take a toll on your car. Because of the potential for inclement weather and extra cars on the road, you'll want to be ready for anything. To ensure a safe drive with your family, read our winter auto safety checklist and consider taking some of those items along with you.
Pack food and drinks for the road. Doing this means less stops and happier passengers. Bring along nonperishable food like beef jerky or granola bars. If you have a cooler, pack easy meals like sandwiches and yogurt. If you're flying, solid foods like potato chips or apples are allowed through security, but skip the drinks.
Bring items to entertain the kids (and yourself). We all know long car rides and layovers at the airport are tiresome. If you have a DVD player in your car, bring movies that will keep kids entertained for a while, or let them play games on a tablet with each other. If you want more fun ideas, purchase some road trip games that everyone can enjoy. Plus – there's always the classics: "I Spy" or "20 Questions." If you're driving solo, have your favorite playlist or podcast downloaded and ready to go! You'll be surprised how quickly time will fly. If you're stuck at the airport, you have a little more flexibility. Check out our list of fun ideas you can do there to help pass the time!
Most importantly, don't forget to bring a positive attitude! It will certainly make the traveling process a lot smoother, and remember - there's always a solution to everything. Have fun and save travels!
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