Staying Sane During Holiday Travel

by Kahlia Meeuwsen, Lifestyle Columnist

Published in Lifestyle on 30th November, 2018

So many people have places to go for the holidays, and it can turn the trips back and forth into nightmares. However, there are ways to make it a little more comfortable for you and your family!


By following these tips, you'll have a better chance of staying sane while dealing with all of the delays, annoyances and difficulties that can come with holiday travel. Read over them, and don't forget to book your tickets early!

Prepare Prepare Prepare!

The more prepared you are, the better off you'll be. Make lists, consider everything you'll need and make sure it's all together well ahead of time.

Furthermore, make sure that the things you'll need during travel, like tickets, IDs, flight itineraries and anything else, are easy for you to get to as needed. You'll also want to be prepared with plenty of snacks and drinks and anything else you might need along the way.

Think About Your Gifts

If you're bringing your gifts with you, it's best to keep them small enough for whatever form of transportation you're taking. If you're driving, then you may have a little more freedom. However, with just about any other form of transportation, big gifts can become a huge hassle.

think about gifts

Another option you have is to mail the gifts to your destination ahead of time, that way you'll be able to trust that they're already where they need to be, and you won't have to worry about dragging them along on your journey. It can really take a lot of weight off your shoulders!

Try To Avoid The Busiest Days

Most of us are aware which days are going to be the busiest for traveling on. If you can, avoiding these days is a great idea. Try to leave early if you can take the extra time off, or even celebrate the holiday with your family before or after the actual calendar day.

Otherwise, you can also opt to travel on the holiday itself and you may find that travel is less busy. Most people want to be where they're going for the whole day, so you may find some respite in a plan that might be a little more inconvenient in other ways.

Keep Backup Plans

Make sure that you have a plan B, C, and even D. If there's one thing we've learned from holiday travel movies, it's that everything that can go wrong, will go wrong. It's best to hope for an easy trip, but be prepared just in case your plan A fails.

These backup plans can include different flight times, air lines or even forms of transportation. Think about what will be easiest to get to. For example, if you're planning to fly and that falls through, consider whether or not there may be a train station somewhere near the airport.

Choose The Inconvenient Flight Times

Typically, people don't want to make their trip in the middle of the night, or extremely early in the morning. Consequently, choosing these inconvenient times can actually make the trip easier because there will be fewer people trying to take the same flight.

While you may also not want to fly or travel at those times, you can make the process less painful if you plan well for it ahead of time. Adjust sleep schedules as much as possible, pack plenty of snacks or get some coffee if that will help you to be alert enough for the trip, or just get your sleep during the trip!

Leave Early

No matter what time your flight is at, you never know what kinds of issues can pop up. It's far better to be there too early than too late. That way, problems have a better chance of being resolved before you need to leave.

arrive in time flight

Even if nothing goes wrong, you'll have peace of mind in knowing that you're prepared, ready and sure to make your flight. Just make sure to bring along phones or handheld video games to keep everyone entertained while they wait to board the plane.

Check In Smart!

If you can avoid checking in at a counter, it's going to make the trip that much more convenient. While it might seem like a small thing, it's one more line that you can potentially avoid. Consequently, it's a great idea to print your tickets online, check in online and get baggage checked on the curb if possible.

Keep in mind that some airlines may be better at allowing these things than others. It also may not work for those traveling outside the country. However, it's a great relief when you can avoid the long lines at the counters.

Reserve Your Parking

Just parking at the airport can be a huge hassle, taking up time that you just don't have and sometimes becoming expensive. To avoid this last-minute issue, it's a good idea to reserve a parking spot ahead of time so that you can just pull in and be ready to go.

reserve your parking

If you can avoid driving and parking at the airport altogether, that's even better! Make sure to look over your options and the prices for them, including taxis, Uber or Lyft, or simply asking a friend to drop you off at the airport for your flight beforehand.

Don't Forget Rewards Points!

If you have points, now is the time to use them! Use them for whatever you can that will make your trip easier, whether it's an upgrade to a more comfortable seating, or even your whole flight! When you're doing this, make sure that you're getting the right value for those points.

When it works out, you can find that these points can save you quite a bit of money, or even a small amount of money that you dearly need for other things! Whatever can make the trip easier and less expensive is well worth the venture. At least check out your options!

Use Holiday Sales!

Whether it's for gifts or items you're going to need for your trip, going after the great sales that can pop up at stores is a great idea. Things like coats, new outfits and more can be obtained at much lower costs than they might have otherwise.

This aspect can take some planning ahead to keep track of when sales might be occurring. If you want to get very creative, you can even look ahead to when sales might be going on at stores in the area you'll be visiting and rely on that for some of the items you'll need while you're there.

Pack As Lightly As Possible

If you can avoid having to check luggage, it can go a long way towards making the trip easier. You won't need to worry as much about the care being taken with the luggage, or it getting lost. In addition, having the luggage with you means you can easily get things from it when needed.

pack as lightly as possible

There are a wide variety of smaller luggage options today that are designed to fit a great deal of clothing while being designed to fit to the carry on standards of most airports. Just add a lock to keep things safe and you'll be ready to go!

Ensure Phone Battery Life

Your phone can really become your lifeline while traveling. As a result, it's a good idea to make sure that you have it with you as well as a charger and even a battery bank. That way, you'll be able to keep it charged no matter where you are, and you'll have an easier time getting in contact with people as needed.

In addition to that, a well-charged phone is one that can function as entertainment while you're waiting in lines, for a flight, or even during the trip in some cases.


Driving might take longer, but it can also be much more comfortable than a flight, bus or train trip. You'll be in a space you're comfortable with and only around people you know well, if others come with you. In addition, you can make stops at your leisure.

You might even find that it's less expensive, depending on the mileage capabilities on your vehicle, and the price of gas versus the price of flights or other travel methods. A road trip can also be a fun bonding experience that allows you to avoid the stress of lines and other annoyances.

Stay Positive

Being quickly frustrated or angered can make the trip that much worse. Meanwhile, if you do your best to stay positive, be nice and try to understand when problems occur, things will go much more easily. In addition, you're going to feel a lot better about the events overall.

Remember that it is the holiday season, and many people are just trying to get where they need to go for the time spent with family. Furthermore, any children in your group will be able to see the best ways to handle problems, calmly and kindly, rather than being taught to behave negatively in these situations.

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