If you’ve ever traveled during the holiday season, you know that airports and bus terminals can be complete chaos. The airports are packed with people desperately trying to get home for the holidays, and security lines stretch endlessly through winding roped-off corridors. Whether you’re heading back home or trying to catch a flight to some sunny holiday getaway destinations, you’re bound to hit a couple snags when traveling during the busy holiday season. There will inevitably be weather delays, security snafus, and it’s bound to be a major pain in the ass. So, I thought I’d give you my top five tips for surviving holiday travel.
This post is part of my Radical Travel Podcast about Holiday Travel. Check out the whole podcast for info about Holiday Travel Tips, Strange Holiday Traditions, and what it’s like to celebrate the holidays around the world!
If you know anything about my travel style, you know I’m not much of a planner. I like to just show up in a city, ask around, and find out what’s good. But at peak travel times, it makes sense to plan ahead. So, tip number one? PLAN.
Pick your destination / book ahead for accommodation, transport, and excursions. Lots of places sell out or book up during the holidays, so it makes sense to plan ahead – and write that plan down, and keep it with you, so when you get into town and you’re catching a taxi to your hotel, you’ll have the address easily accessible.
2- Be Early and Be Ready to Wait
I’m notorious for showing up an hour before an international flight and scrambling through security and barely making it to the gate on time. But during the holidays, you’ll need to plan ahead – that whole thing about checking in 3 hours before an international flight is actually necessary during the holidays. Security lines, check in lines, and crowded terminals can make everything take way longer than expected. Regardless, you’ll prob end up waiting around at some point, so bring a magazine to read, stock up on audio books, download my entire Radical Travel Podcast collection, and refresh your iTunes library – you’ll need it.
3- Make a List, Check it Twice
If you’re traveling home for the holidays, you’ve likely got some Christmas gifts in tow, and you wouldn’t want to forget anything. Adding the chaos of Christmas to all the things you usually have to keep track of and remember to pack while traveling can become a real brain overload. So make a list! Sometimes I even make multiple lists – one for things to pack, one for things to do before I leave, one for things to do when I land. Here’s the catch – I rarely actually use the list. Just the act of writing it all down helps to organize it in your head and it will really help you keep everything straight.
4- Be Flexible
Something always goes wrong when you’re traveling – the bus is late, the plane is delayed due to weather, the hotel is over booked, you forget to bring all your underwear – whatever. You should expect these kinds of things, and be ready to deal with them – be flexible about it all – if you’re not, you’re going to make yourself crazy. And the holidays are crazy enough without you freaking out about the fact that you forgot to bring your toothbrush.
5- Remember to Have Fun
You’re going on vacation – or your traveling across the country to spend the holidays with your crazy family, which may not seem like a vacation. But it’s important to remember that whatever it is you’re doing, you’re traveling – and traveling is supposed to be fun! Enjoy it. Enjoy the chaos, and embraced the mishaps, and remind yourself that your not in the office. Your on holiday. And it’s Christmas!
That’s a serious tip, especially if you’re like me and you work from the road, sometimes it’s easy to forget that when you’re on vacation, you don’t have to work. On that note, I’m heading to the beach.