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More Holiday Travel Tips

December 11th, 2012 - 1:18 PM

Holidays are always the busiest time of the year, especially right after Thanksgiving and especially if you’re planning a move. Between the shopping, wrapping and decorating, you might be forgetting the most important part to plan—the traveling! I have some great holiday travel tips for you! This is the one time it’s okay to peek, so take a look!

Holiday Travel Tips for Flying

Christmas Day is on a Tuesday this year, so that means the peak travel days will be the Monday before and the Wednesday after. If you plan on flying, get to grandma’s house early, like on the Saturday or Sunday before Christmas Day and leave the Thursday or Friday after. You’ll pay less for your flight than someone who travels on those peak days. If you’re okay with traveling on Christmas Day (while everyone else is watching the parade), you might find fares to be cheaper.

  • Book sooner rather than later. The fares are only going to increase as the holidays approach, so booking early will ensure that you and your family get a spot on the plane together. You can actually get some last minute holiday travel deals, but you need to be flexible with dates and flight times. Be sure to plan your connections carefully, too. During the winter months, it may be best to get a direct flight or make your flight path hit airports with warmer clients.

  • Get to the airport early. You never know what could happen. If you get to the airport early, you can successfully combat any delays that might occur and still make it to your flight on time! There’s nothing worse than not making your flight and having to wait for another one. Get there early to check your bags, pass through security, and find your gate. If it’s possible, have a friend drop you off at the airport because holiday travel means full parking lots, packed shuttles, and long shuttle lines.

  • Know how to pack. If you’re flying with gifts in your carry-on luggage, do not wrap them. I repeat, do not wrap them. TSA has the right to open any packaged item, wrapped or not, so if it’s wrapped up nice and neatly, it might not stay that way. Make sure that you can buy wrapping paper at your destination, or pack wrapping paper, bows, tape and gift tags in your suitcase. You can always send gifts to your destination through the mail and have them waiting on you when you arrive. P.S. You can take pies and cakes through the airport security.

  • Be Appreciative. It’s going to be chaotic, not just for travelers, but for pilots, stewardesses, and all airport employees. Show that you care by saying “please” and “thank you” every chance you get. Your “thank you” might just make someone’s day less stressful.

  • Be prepared to be entertained. If you do experience a layover, make the most of it by filling your mobile devices with games, books, songs, apps, and anything else you can think of to keep you (and the kids) busy. Always bring a battery charger, too. Most airports have plenty of plugs so you can keep your devices charged.

Holiday Travel Tips for Driving

You might be thinking that driving can’t be nearly as difficult as flying over the holidays, but unless you have a sleigh and eight reindeer, it could be tougher than it appears. Follow these tips to ensure safe, fun holiday travel.

  • Double check. Make sure the car is in good working order. This means checking the oil, tire pressure, brakes, fluid levels, and headlights.

  • Pack an emergency kit. Bring a first aid kit, flashlight, blankets, drinking water, plenty of snacks, toilet paper, flares, and jumper cables. If something happens, you’ll be prepared.

  • Plan out the trip. The roads will be packed the day before Christmas, the day of Christmas, and the day after. I suggest traveling a couple of days before Christmas Day and returning a couple of days after Christmas, or just staying at your destination till after New Year’s.

  • Cover up your valuables. If you stop for gas, a meal, or even a hotel stay, make sure your gifts and other personal belongings are hidden well in the car. Don’t put on bows until after you’ve arrived at your destination, that way you won’t be afraid of squashing the well-wrapped gift!

  • Keep the kids entertained. Use laptops, portable DVD players, iPads, or other devices to show movies and videos. When they’re not watching their favorite movie in the car, play some fun travel games, talk about favorite past holidays, and sing! If the kids are entertained, they won’t be asking “Are we there yet?” 

  • Keep yourself entertained. Listen to your favorite Christmas songs, or if you are the passenger you can read a book, or catch up on the episodes you missed from your favorite TV show!

  • Eyes on the road. We all know that there will be plenty of crazy road-raging holiday drivers on the road. Be forgiving when they are reckless. If they are being too careless, it’s okay to call the highway patrol to report them. I remember traveling over the holidays as a kid and there was a semi-truck swerving all over the road. We stayed behind it and my dad called the authorities. It pulled over to the side of the road minutes later. Stay safe on the road by using turning signals to pass and giving other drivers plenty of room before you pass them. And of course, keep your eyes on the road, even when the kids are acting up.

Do you have any holiday travel tips to add to the list? Let us know by commenting below!