December 7th, 2012

Holiday Travel Season: 8 Sanity-Saving Tips

Holiday Travel Season: 8 Sanity-Saving Tips

Whether you’re taking a train, plane or car to see family and friends this holiday season, it can sometimes be tough to stay calm and stress-free as you get from A to B. Use these smart strategies to arrive with your holiday cheer firmly intact.

by:  Alex Baackes, executive editor,

Travel – it’s a word that normally conjures vibrant cities, beautiful beaches, and exotics adventures. Yet combine it with the phrase “holiday season,” and suddenly the images that come to mind are a little less flattering. Long security lines, cancelled flights, packed parking lots, icy highways and grumpy crowds aren’t very conducive to getting into the holiday spirit…but a well prepared traveler can still manage to arrive at their destination spreading cheer. Here’s how:

1. Be Extra Prepared – Holiday travel is often hampered by bad weather and traffic congestion from far too many people driving on the road. Leave plenty of time to get to the train, bus station or airport, and leave at least an hour early if you’re driving to your destination. Have a backup plan prepared by researching alternative ways to fly, drive or ride to your final holiday stop.

2. Make Gift Giving Easy – Simplify the holidays (and save cash!) by doing a Secret Santa gift exchange with your family, allowing you to pack one gift instead of many. And don’t get too ahead of yourself — bringing wrapped gifts through security can often cause long delays. If you’re bringing multiple gifts, think about shipping them ahead of time.

3. Stay Connected – Keep all your tickets and confirmations in one easy-to-access place and sign up to receive updates about delays and departure statuses. Make sure your friends and family members on the other end have copies of all your information as well.

4. Pack Lightly – Avoid checked baggage, as nothing will ruin your holiday celebrations like not having your traditional Christmas morning pajamas. Also, not checking baggage makes it much easier to switch flights in case of delays or cancellations.

5. Park Wisely – If possible, take public transportation or have a friend drop you at the airport or train station to avoid parking delays and fees. If it’s unavoidable, call ahead or check the airport website for parking availability.

6. Dress Smartly – Security lines are brutal around the holidays, so make things easier for yourself by wearing easily removable shoes and jackets and avoiding metallic belts and jewelry. Be sure to heed current TSA regulations, such as the 3oz. liquid rule and pick up a travel bottle set.

7. Be Comfortable – Don’t let holiday stress distract you from your usual travel routine of earplugs, eye mask, comfy socks, healthy snacks and reading material for long plane and train rides.

8. Pack Your Holiday Cheer – Remember that this is meant to be a joyful time of the year and be patient and kind with your fellow travelers. There’s nothing like a kind smile or an unsolicited compliment to brighten an otherwise overwhelming travel day.

Related Links:

Surviving a Long Haul Flight

Travel Anywhere with These Expert Packing Tips

5 Tips For Staying Healthy on The Road

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