Tick tock goes the clock! The holiday season is officially here and it’s something that all professionals love and kind of loathe at the same time. For one thing, we love reconnecting with family and friends, enjoying delicious food & drink, and relaxing. And although this time of the year provides us a break from our busy lives, the holidays can also bring on a vast amount of stress, traffic, and well, more traffic.
It’s easy to find ourselves frowning at the holidays instead of smiling, especially when traveling. Whether you live in a major city, are headed towards one, we’ve compiled a few traveling tips to help you keep your sanity during the busiest time of the year.
Tip #1: Do your research. Sometimes that straight shot highway or direct flight can be the longest and most stressful way to your destination. Check and see if there some scenic routes or connecting flights you could take instead. This method may not be the quickest, however, it may be less stressful and less crowded. Who can argue with that?
Tip #2: Embrace traveling apps. Organize your travel itinerary with the help of some apps. Flight Status gives you real-time updates on delays, baggage numbers and more, while GateGuru provides approximate waiting times while in security, as well as other great tips to navigate through unfamiliar airports. Are you travelling by car instead of flying? Use GasBuddy or SitOrSquat to locate cheapest gas pumps and clean restrooms!
Tip #3: Travel light…and smart. With long security lines, traffic jams, and connecting flights, pack light in a carry on so you don’t have to worry about checking a bag and having it get lost. Also, make sure to include some “time killers” as we like to call them, such as headphones, leisure books, magazines, and more. If you’re into electronics, don’t forget your chargers! It might even be a good idea to invest in on-the-go chargers so you’re always prepared for that dangerous “red zone” of battery.
Tip #4: Snacks a la carte. Some airports are equipped with delicious restaurant options, while others unfortunately, are not. Don’t let yourself get hangry (angry because you’re hungry), and make sure to pack a small bag of trail mix or snack of your choice. You never know if your flight will be delayed, or if you’ll even have time to stop and grab something to eat. This way, you’ll at least have some quick snacks ready. Trust us, you and your grumbling stomach will be happy.
Tip #5: Choosing the right days. Know what days are good for traveling. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year, and the biggest meltdown day of the year. A better option is to leave early on Thanksgiving Day and avoid the traffic the night before. Same thing goes for flights. Flying on the holiday itself gives you a better chance of avoiding the long lines and sea of travelers.
Tip #6: Timing is everything. Statistics have shown that planes traveling earlier in the morning are more likely to be on time and have less delay. That way, if your flight does happen to run late or get cancelled, you can always schedule for a later flight that same day. The best time to drive is also early in the morning, or later at night when everyone is sleeping. Just make sure you’re not sleep deprived yourself!
Tip #7: Plan for the unexpected. As the saying goes, “you can plan for a perfect picnic, but you can’t plan the weather.” The same idea applies to traveling. You never know what the weather is going to be like. If you have to make connecting flights, or drive to a far away town, take into consideration the weather, getting a flat tire, etc. Plan for the worst, but always expect the best. We bet you’re happy that you packed that trail mix now, huh?
Tip #8: Breathe. Keep in mind that the long security lines, traffic jams on the 110 freeway, and the excess hustle and bustle during this time of year is just as much of a tradition as reconnecting with family/friends and your pumpkin pie. Whatever happens, remember to take deep breaths. It may not seem all that great in the moment, but your experiences could end up being stories to laugh about later.