The holiday season is in full swing, and Christmas is just a day away. Thousands upon thousands of people all across the country are putting their travel plans into action and heading out for where they plan on spending the next several days to celebrate. If you’re one of them, you’re probably well aware of what that means: travel is going to be busy.
With the roads and airports packed with people, it’s important to plan ahead so that you not only remain safe while getting where you need to go, but your trip is actually smoother and less stressful as well. Here are a few travel tidbits that can do just that.
Traveling By Road
While Christmas isn’t as busy of a road travel holiday as Thanksgiving, traffic certainly won’t be light. With so many other people also heading out of town by car, expect the highways to be busy. Here are a few things you can do to improve your road travel this holiday:
- Try to travel during non-peak hours: If your trip is shorter (just a few hours or so) try to cover the most distance during non-peak hours. Early hours of the morning can help you beat most of the rush, especially if you’re leaving a major metropolitan area. Likewise, late hours of the evening are good for those who have no problem staying awake into the latest hours of the night. Try to avoid leaving in mid to late morning or late afternoon, as the combination of commuters and holiday travelers makes traffic particularly heavy and frustrating.
- Pack a snack, or a meal: If you know you’re going to be on the road for a while, the last thing you want is your hunger or thirst distracting you from driving. Pack some easy-to-eat snacks for the road and some water bottles, fruit juices, or other favorite non-alcoholic beverages that you can easily consume. Keeping yourself energized and focused at the wheel is important, especially if you have a long distance to go.
- Plan your route ahead of time: Do you know where you’re going? While a GPS in most smartphones can help you get there, doing a bit of research ahead of time and knowing your route can ensure that the trip is safe and smooth. This is especially important because GPS units are not infallible—they can make mistakes and they can fail, leaving you stranded with no idea where to go if you haven’t looked ahead.
- Bring entertainment: If you’re traveling with children, you’re probably aware of just how devastating bored kids can be. This can not only grind heavily on your nerves but be a massive distraction behind the wheel. Keeping your kids entertained can not only make the trip more bearable and stress-free, but actually make it safer as well. Whether it’s some games, a video game system, their favorite movie, or something else, make sure your kids have suitable distraction from the time in the car.
Traveling By Air
Christmas is an extremely busy time for air travel, as many people use the opportunity to travel to see family and friends that are a considerable distance away. Airports everywhere are bracing for the incoming surge of passengers, which could include you as well.
- Arrive early: With the massive surge of air travelers this weekend, don’t be surprised if the airport is jam-packed. There will be lines just about everywhere, from the check-in desk to security to even the restroom. This means doing what you need to will take extra time, and the last thing you want to be doing is scrambling to make your flight.
- Expect delays: While airports are extremely efficient and skilled at keeping travel schedules on-time, things happen and delays are an unfortunate reality. While it’s still a good idea to arrive plenty early for your flight, don’t be surprised if you wind up delayed and unable to take off at your originally-scheduled time.
- Don’t forget your chargers: The last thing you want is to be stranded at an airport without power for your phone. Not only can your phone give you the ability to communicate and reach out for help if something serious comes up, but most airlines and airports have apps or websites that can continually feed you information and updates about your flight. This is the fastest way to receive information about things like gate changes, delays, changed departure times, and much more.
- Keep an eye on your children: A busy airport full of holiday travelers is an easy way for children to get lost or separated from their parents. You might be in a rush to make it through the airport to catch your flight, but always make sure your children are with you at all times. Hold their hand or carry them if they’re younger to make sure you don’t accidentally become separated.