For the first time in many years, I am actually staying home for Christmas. Having traveled all over the world over the holidays, including numerous trips to Illinois to visit relatives and even a trip to Zambia one year, I thought I’d share a few tips on how to get through that holiday travel.
Allow extra time. The holidays are one of the busiest travel seasons of the year, which means that there will be more people on the roads and more people at the airport. All those extra cars and people mean traffic jams and long lines. Be sure to take those into consideration leaving extra time to get through.
Ship gifts ahead. If flying, consider shipping the gifts ahead of time. An extra bag just for gifts will make it more difficult to get through the airport when it’s crowded with holiday travelers. Plus, while TSA does allow wrapped gifts in both carryon and checked bags, if they need to inspect something inside the package, it will need to be unwrapped. It’s better to leave them unwrapped and even best if they’re already at your destination waiting for you to put them under the tree.
Gas up the night before. If you’re driving, whether it’s to relatives or to the airport, save travel time by gassing up the night before. You won’t have to worry whether there’s an open gas station or lines at the pump. Getting somewhere on time can be stressful enough so save yourself a little stress.
Use travel apps on your smartphone. If you’re flying, a great app is MyTSA. It is updated with what can/can’t go through security at the airport and fellow travelers can post security wait times so you know how long the lines are ahead of time. If you’re driving, use apps like GasBuddy to find cheap gas or Google Maps to locate restaurants en route.
Pack some extra patience. Understand that everyone is trying to get somewhere to see family and friends and long lines and jam-packed roads are not likely to bring out any wonderful holiday spirit. Do your best to be patient and spread some holiday cheer.