Wherever you're heading during the holiday season, it’s likely that everyone else is traveling in the same direction. But don't let invasive security scanners, terrible drivers and long lines at airports get you down. On the eighth day of Christmas, we're giving you tips to survive the holiday travel season without a Frosty the Snowman-sized meltdown!
Flight statistics show that planes traveling earlier in the day have a better on-time performance. If you find yourself stuck with a cancelled flight, the best option is to take a flight later in the day or earlier in the morning to avoid those harrowing lines at security. If you're travelling via car, the best time to hit the road is when everyone else is asleep - early morning or late at night. You can always take a nap when you arrive at your destination or on the ride there (if you aren’t the driver, of course).
The overly friendly person next to you on the plane, the cancelled flights, the luggage that fell off in the middle of the highway? All of it will make for great stories over dinner when you finally make it to your destination. If things start to go haywire, the best thing to do is to breathe and make the most of each situation. After all, holiday travel stress is just as much of a tradition as turkey and shrimps on the Bar-b!
Akin to Christmas being cancelled, it would be a disaster if you couldn’t take a selfie in a Santa hat or Insta that shot of a flaming Christmas pud! So make sure to pack all chargers for any electrical equipment you plan to take with you, including phones, laptops and the right adaptor for your destination. You also can’t go wrong with a universal adaptor, that way you’ll be able to check those important work emails while you’re off spreading Christmas cheer. A handy tip if you are travelling by plane to your destination is to remember to pack your phone charger in your hand luggage. That way if your luggage is lost, at least you are able to access the internet or loved ones without the worry of your phone going flat!
Keep children entertained on board and prepare an activity pack to keep their idle thumbs busy during the journey. Colouring books, stickers, a portable DVD player, smart phone games and apps are all good options. If these fail, then there’s always the (light-hearted) threat of a lump of coal from Santa to make them sit up and pay attention.
Be polite. It may seem simple, but the heavier travel gets and the more problems occur. 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. You are more likely to get put to the top of waiting list, upgraded and put on alternative flights while other passengers sit and scream at the person behind the counter.
When you fly during the holidays, it's always best to pack everything you can in clear plastic bags, so nothing will fall out and security can check it quicker.
But what about Christmas presents for the family? If you can, don't wrap them beforehand.
Wrapped packages are automatically suspicious, and if you're traveling internationally then security is guaranteed to strip the wrapping paper off.
If you won't have a chance to wrap the presents on-site, you can always send them ahead. Depending on how heavy your purchases were, it may actually be cheaper to send Christmas gifts through the mail!
Pack snacks- and lots of them. There is nothing worse than sitting in traffic, delayed in an airport or even on a long flight with a grumbling belly. We have all been in that situation when the flight stewardesses begins to offer overpriced $10 mini snacks: Pringles, cheese and cracker trays, sandwich boxes, pretzels, candy, etc.; basically choosing between a gluten treat, a sugar rush, or a sliver of an apple so small you would question whether anything was consumed!
Stock up on easy healthy treats such as veggie sticks, granola bars, protein balls to keep you going no matter what the situation.
Another holiday travel tip is that driving at night means avoiding traffic and having sleeping kids in the backseat. If you can handle night travel, set up as schedule with a driving buddy who'll keep you awake and alert and who can switch places if needed.
If you prefer to travel during the day, you can still cut down on time by planning out your stops in advance. Whether it's as general as the town you'll take a break in or the restaurant where your family will have lunch, plotting out your holiday trip will make it seem faster and keep you to a schedule.