Whether you’re going over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house, flying off to a beach vacation or heading for the hills to ski, if you’re be traveling this season, here are 9 holiday travel tips you should keep in mind.
- Plan Ahead: Unless you’re a last-minute travel deals guru, don’t wait until the last minute to book a hotel room or a flight or get your train or bus tickets. Tickets at peak times tend to sell out early or become expensive as the date of travel draws near. If you’re driving, review all your routes to select the one with the least amount of traffic or avoids major construction projects.
- Pick Your Time Wisely: Try to avoid the busiest dates—the day before Thanksgiving and the two days before and after Christmas and New Year’s. If you can fly on the actual holidays, you’re more likely to have smaller crowds.
- Bring Entertainment: Download movies, cartoons, audio books, whatever your family prefers onto your electronics. Bring earphones (perhaps the noise-canceling kind), backup batteries and chargers.
- Travel Light: Consider shipping gifts and non-essentials ahead of time. If you do fly with gifts, keep them unwrapped or in gift bags in case TSA wants to see them.
- Stay Healthy: Unfortunately, accidents happen and unforeseen illnesses strike, but there are things you can do before you leave to minimize chances of catching the common cold or flu. Before you go, make sure the whole family has had a flu vaccine. Wash your hands often and carry antibacterial hand gel. Consider a travel pillow to be more comfortable for all those hours in the plane or car.
- Dress Right: Wear lots of light layers so you can take things off or put them on to accommodate different temperatures in the terminal, rest stop and so on.
- Get On The Road To Safety: If you’ll be traveling by car, be sure the brakes, battery, fluids and tires are all in good order. Take a first-aid kit, flashlight, blankets, flares, jumper cables and an ice scraper. If you have a membership with AAA or if your insurance company offers roadside assistance, be sure to have your membership cards with you.
- Know Your Numbers: Keep the phone numbers of your airline, hotel, car- rental company and other travel vendors handy so you can call quickly in case of an issue. If you’ll be passing through a state that has electronic tolls, make sure your digital passes are up-to-date so you don’t incur penalties.
- Bring Healthful Snacks and Beverages: Pack something nutritious so you won’t be as tempted to buy the high-fat, sugar-packed snacks and beverages at gas stations, airports, bus or train stations. Pack individual re-usable water bottles for the entire family (extra water in case of an emergency). If you’re flying take empty water bottles through security and refill then. And plenty of good-for-you food, such as high-fiber crackers, nuts and fresh fruit. How about a veggie and dip combo? If you’re looking for something that won’t spoil en route, TSA-approved freeze fried Crispy Fruit from Crispy Green is a good source of fresh fruit nutrients and fiber. It comes in seven flavors: apple, Asian pear, banana, cantaloupe, mango, pineapple and tangerine in individual portioned bags, preserving the freshness and minimizing spillage risks.
Traveling can be stressful, especially if you’re maxed out on truck-stop cappuccinos and candy, and you’ve got a carload of sick kids. Next time, try a few of these holiday travel tips, and it might make a difference. You might just enjoy the ride.