Being home for the holidays is what makes it such a special time of the year. But it can be super stressful trying to get to your destination with crowded airports, unpredictable winter storms, and long flight delays. Here are seven tips for stress-free travel this holiday season:
1. Book your flights early
To get cheaper deals, set your travel plans as soon as possible -- the earlier, the better. You should also pick non-stop flights whenever you can to avoid being stuck in an airport if you miss a connecting flight. What's more, you should avoid traveling on the busiest days, which include the day before Thanksgiving and two days after Christmas. Fly on the actual holidays (if you can) to experience fewer crowds.
2. Be prepared
If you are taking a long-haul flight, be sure to download plenty of entertainment to your laptop, tablet, and smartphone. Also, pack earphones, backup batteries, and chargers.
3. Leave enough time
To beat delays, leave the house an hour earlier than you usually would. This will ensure a stress-free time getting to the airport, and you'll also have enough time to pick up some food for the journey.
4. Travel light
Try to ship gifts and non-essentials ahead of time, even if you are checking in bags. This will cut down on how much you have to lug around with you. Consider ordering gifts online and having them directly sent to the recipients' home addresses. If you have to carry gifts in your luggage, keep them unwrapped for TSA.
5. Mentally prepare for delays
Flight delays are so common during the holiday season. That's why you should mentally prepare yourself for the worst. In case you're stuck overnight, pack snacks, socks, underwear, extra clothes, and toiletries in your carry-on.
6. Stock up on snacks
Before heading to the airport, stock up on healthy snacks for the flight. Good options include protein bars, trail mix, dried fruit, cheese, hardboiled eggs, and carrots. This will ensure that your blood sugars never drop. Also, carry a water bottle that you can fill up once you go through security.
7. Make a list
Don't rely on your memory when it comes to packing. Be sure to make a detailed list of everything you need to do and pack before you leave. Keep the list by the front door so you can double-check as you're about to leave.
Traveling stress-free all comes down to a little planning
When it comes to traveling stress-free this holiday season, be sure to plan everything far in advance. Snag the best airline deals months before winter, create detailed packing and to-do lists, and mentally prepare for the unexpected. Doing these small things will help you enjoy the holidays more and get to your destination without worry.
- "10 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Travel," Mental Floss, November 16, 2018.
- "11 Tips for Reducing Holiday Travel Stress," Psychology Today, October 27, 2016.