If there are any two terms that are synonymous this time of year, they’re “Stressful” and “Travel”. Lines are longer, but fuses are shorter—which can lead to some very unpleasant experiences surrounding what should be a joyful season. So since you probably can’t skip the travel all together, you can find plenty of ways to make the experience as pleasant, easy, and even enjoyable as possible—whether you’re traveling by plane or by car.
Plan your ride to the airport to avoid looking and paying for parking. Whether you’re close enough to consider a Lyft or you can cash in a favor from a friend, you won’t risk running late after endlessly circling the parking garage.
Travel early. Weather and scheduling delays are less likely earlier in the morning, and if they do happen, you’ll hopefully still have the rest of the day’s flights as options.
Be prepared to wait. And wait. And wait. Bring things to occupy yourself with and remember that everyone is trying to get somewhere—you’ll have a better experience if you keep a positive outlook and are prepared to “hurry up and wait”.
Plan your travel dates wisely. Its always best to leave early for Christmas or New Years in order to not get stuck in the rush. On the other hand, if you don’t mind traveling on holidays you’ll find cheaper tickets and shorter lines.
Pack carry ons to avoid waiting for (or losing) a checked bag. This can be hard if you’re taking a longer trip, but its always worth avoiding the risk and buying yourself some time.
For some extra comfort, grab an airport lounge day-pass with LoungeBuddy—enjoy all the amenities and benefits of membership and first class without the expense.
Outsource your planning. By far the best way to not stress about your holiday planning? Have your assistant do it! From researching and cross referencing travel options to communicating with rental companies, keep it out of sight and have peace of mind.
Get your car looked at before you go. No one wants their engine or tire pressure light to come on in the middle of a 10 hour road trip. Be safe and be prepared!
Load up on the snacks and make them fun! If there’s any time to get some of your favorite Trader Joes seasonals, it’s now. That being said, be sure to stay hydrated (and caffeinated).
Load up your phones. Download your music, audiobooks, and podcasts before you leave to save data and battery power.
Schedule wisely. Similar to flying, try to avoid peak travel days when more cars are on the road and accidents are likely to happen. It’s estimated that over 103 million Americans will travel by car this Christmas, and it’s proven that more accidents happen at this time of year due to increased travel, stress, fatigue, dangerous road conditions, and several other factors. No matter when you choose to go—stay alert and stay safe.
Keep an eye on the weather. While conditions can change in a blink of an eye, watch the forecast and radar to be sure you’re not heading for blizzards or monsoons. And if you do happen to find yourself caught up in something messy, take a detour and wait it out. You never know what unique pit stop you might find—that’s the charm of taking the long route after all!
No matter how you’re getting there this Christmas, keep calm, plan on, and make the most out of the time with family and getting to family.