Each year during the busy Christmas season, consumers spend billions of dollars on their travels. Everyone is off to see their family and eat a turkey. Others are looking to escape the bitter cold weather by seeking out warmth and sunshine. It’s going to be a great time either way.
Whatever you’re doing, you know your travel schedule will be a very difficult one during the second half of December. With a little bit of planning, prudent packing and some rest, it doesn’t have to be a stressful time for you and your family. You can simply gather around the Christmas tree and enjoy a nice glass of eggnog.
Indeed, you may have a screaming baby sit right next to you on the plane or someone who keeps kicking the back of your seat. But the preparation you did prior to your flight won’t diminish your high spirits. It will just be another story to tell at the dinner table.
Here are 10 tips to make your travel schedule easy for the holiday season:
Budget, Relax, Prepare
The average person spends about $600 to $800 every year on their travels during Christmas. This is indeed a spicy meatball, and a hefty number when you’re struggling to pay your other bills.
Before you take a holiday, you should establish a budget beforehand to determine how much money you can spend for the next week or so. The next step is to find the right tickets. By checking websites like FlightNetwork you can locate the right deals. Next, set up a schedule, pack your bags lightly and ensure you know where you’re going when you arrive to the airport.
Finally, relax. Don’t stress out. Don’t yell. Don’t be frustrated. Just be grateful you have some time off to see your family or to have a vacation.
Don’t Overload Your Luggage
A common mistake travelers make is overloading their luggage. This is one of the worst things you can do. The better option is to pack light and only things you need, like underwear, a change of clothes, toiletries and so on. Do you really need four pairs of shoes and 10 different pairs of pants? Nope.
Travel During Off-Peak Days
The best time to travel is on an off-peak day. Not only are airports less busy, flights have a greater success rate of arriving on time. If you can, make sure your flight is on an off-peak day. Yes, it’s true: the worst days to travel are Christmas Eve & Day and New Year’s Day.
…And Travel Early or Late
Moreover, be sure to travel early in the day (anytime between 5 a.m. and 8 a.m.) or late in the day (anytime after 9 p.m.). This is the time usually reserved for businessmen, and they won’t make as much a ruckus as a family of six with two kids crying and one child giving their parents attitude.
Bring Snacks and Entertainment
When you’re hungry you become irritable. When you’re bored, you become hostile. The trick to avoid both of these is to always bring snacks (nuts, fruit, pretzels, etc.) and some entertainment (a book, crossword puzzle, tablet, etc.). This is especially true if you have children. You’ll also make bad decisions when you’re famished.
Check Security Protocols Before Your Flight
It’s not so much flying or waiting for your flight that takes so long. It’s the security checkpoint that seems to take longer than your entire vacation. Prior to packing, be sure to find out what security protocols you should follow to make the entire ordeal as quick as possible and as painless as possible.
Here are a few tips (courtesy of The Huffington Post):
Place all of your liquids in 100 mL containers in see-through resealable plastic bags.
Have a spare bag and do not pay for one at the airport.
Pack your laptop and other electrical equipment in an accessible place for inspection.
Always smile; don’t show your resentment to airport security officers.
Remember to Carry Your Chargers & Adapters
Always have your cellphone charge and power adapters packed in your bags and ready to use. You don’t want to be stranded and incommunicado. By having a charger, you know you’ll be safe when your mobile device’s battery dies.
Workout Before Your Travels
Are you going on a flight that is more than four hours long? Well, the best way to remedy such a long flight is to exercise before you head to the airport. You should workout as hard as you can so that when you get on the plane your nerves will be calm and it’ll be easier to fall asleep. Go for a run, lift weights, do yoga. Something is a whole lot better than nothing.
Always be Polite and Remain Calm
We hate to say it but this is something that all of us need to work on desperately: being polite at the airport. Whether it’s at the ticket counter, security queues or on the airplane itself, you should always be polite. You’ll get things you want by being kind. The entire experience will be less stressful by practicing polite behavior.
Here is what NBC News writes regarding this matter:
“Be polite. It may seem simple, but the heavier travel gets and the more problems occur, the more the airline employees hate their jobs. In the worst of situations, take time to say please and thank you. Go even further by saying ‘I appreciate this so much’ or show empathy with an irritated airline worker by saying ‘I do not know how you guys can take your jobs on days like these.’ They spend all day hearing about passengers’ problems and they appreciate people who understand it is painful for them also. I have gotten put to the top of waiting lists, upgraded and put on alternative flights while other passengers sit and scream at the person behind the counter.”
Oh, and one more thing: always remain calm at all times!
Thanksgiving or Christmas are times to be happy, jubilant and celebratory. We shouldn’t be irked, angry or stressed during this time of the year. No one will ever argue the fact that traveling in the United States, Canada or the United Kingdom is a simple and fun endeavor. But you can always improve it by being ready, prepped and in charge.