Between the overabundance of family togetherness, relatives who overstay their welcome, and delayed flights, the holidays are stressful. But you can make your travels hassle-free by taking a few simple steps. Step back, take a deep breath, and dive into the holidays with these 8 Holiday Travel Tips for a Hassle-Free Vacation.
Holiday Travel Tips
1. Check for flight delays before you leave
Call your airline or check online before you leave the house to see if your flight is delayed or cancelled. If it’s cancelled, you might have a better chance of getting rebooked on the phone than in person — especially if you’re a frequent flier. Either way, it’s helpful to know what to expect when you arrive at the airport.
2. Get to the airport (extra) early
Even the smallest airports are incredibly busy during the holidays. Last year I almost missed a flight in my hometown because I assumed the airport would be less crowded that it was. Account for things that could go wrong on the way (traffic, late train or bus), leave the house early, and be prepared to wait in long lines once you arrive at the airport.
3. Bag your toiletries
Save time in line by putting your travel-size toiletries in a plastic baggie before you leave the house. Keep the bag in accessible spot so you won’t hold up the line while frantically digging through your suitcase in search of your deodorant and toothpaste. For a green toiletry option, Tom’s of Maine has some great environmentally-friendly travel-size products.
image source: jetalone
4. Wear shoes that slip on and off easily
We’ve all been in line behind that guy who wore lace-up boots that took 20 minutes to remove. Don’t be that guy. If you want to wear shoes with laces, loosen the laces while you’re waiting in line so you can slip your shoes off quickly when you get to the front of the line.
5. Know airport screening requirements
Airport security lines are slowed down even more during the holidays by inexperienced travelers. Being prepared by knowing requirements will help you get through security without a hitch. In the U.S., you can’t have liquid bottles that are larger than 3 oz, all liquids have to go in a plastic baggie, you must remove your shoes and coat, and you have to take your laptop out of its bag.
6. Pack snacks
Who wants to wait in line for 45 minutes to buy a bland, $10 sandwich? Bring snacks from home and you’ll save money and avoid hassle. For snack storage, a Wrap-n-mat is a fantastic alternative to the decidedly un-green plastic baggie.
7. Bring a water bottle
Avoid the $4 bottles of water and opt for a green alternative — your own reusable bottle. The folks at Hydrasip were kind enough to send me a Hydrasip stainless steel bottle, which has become my new favorite. I like the contoured shape that fits comfortably in my hand.
8. Pack light
The overhead bins are fuller than ever around the holidays, so be prepared to check a bag if you don’t pack light. Packing light is better for the environment and easier on your stress level. Plus, most airlines in the U.S. now charge for checked bags. Check out our Ultimate Guide to Packing Light for tips and tricks to lighten your load.
Happy holidays and safe travels!