The holidays are almost here, and for many of us, that means travel! Whether you are traveling to be with out-of-state relatives or you are lucky enough to escape the cold and go somewhere warm, you want your travel to be as disaster-free as possible. Here are eight holiday travel tips that will help you keep your sanity this holiday season.
1. Plan Ahead
The earlier you begin planning, the better deals you will get and the less chance you will have of forgetting things. If you are flying, purchase your plane tickets, print them out, and put them in a travel folder. If you are driving, print out your directions, even if you have GPS on your phone. Purchase everything you need to help the trip go smoothly, such as snacks, coloring books, or car sickness medicine.
2. Time Your Trip Wisely
When calculating your departure time, don't forget to include travel conditions. If you are flying, you'll need to be at the airport with plenty of time to spare, and you never know when you will get a flat tire or be delayed due to snow. Choose a less-popular flight to avoid some of the rush and for cheaper prices. If you are driving, try to avoid going through major cities during rush hour.
3. Flying? Pack Light
Most airlines have luggage weight and size restrictions, and if you pack too much, you could end up paying extra. If you are flying this holiday season, be sure to pack as lightly as possible. You can always purchase small items such as shampoo, contact solution and food at your destination.
4. Driving? Bring Entertainment
On the other hand, if you are driving this holiday season, the rules change. If you've got a long trip ahead of you, you will want to be sure to pack plenty of games and activities to keep the kids entertained. Books, crayons, game systems and movies are all popular options, and be sure to check out this list of 10 Great Travel Games as well.
5. Pack Snacks and Drinks
While frequent stops are important to stretch your legs and take restroom breaks, you won't want to stop any more than you have to. Limit your stops and your roadside expenses by packing plenty of snacks and drinks. Choose things that travel well and that don't make a mess, such as pretzels, goldfish, apples, granola bars, carrot sticks and grapes. Be sure to keep a bag in the car for trash to make clean-up a breeze.
6. Don't Forget the Travel Safety Kit
While you hope your trip will go smoothly, there are no guarantees that it will. Be safe rather than sorry by packing a travel safety kit in your car. Contents should include an ice scraper, jumper cables, a first aid kit, a map, a tow rope, kitty litter in case you get stuck, blankets, a flashlight, matches or a lighter, and a portable radio.
7. Consider Shipping Your Gifts
If you are flying for Christmas, you won't want to carry all your gifts on board. Have them shipped instead. If you are purchasing them online, you can simply put the recipient's address instead of your own. Of course, you'll have to make sure you shop from a store that will send packages already gift wrapped. Otherwise, if you know other people in the city where you will be visiting, you may ask them to hold them for you until you get there.
8. Check Last Minute Deal Sites
While planning ahead is the best way to get great deals, it is very possible to find a great deal from sites like Trip Advisor even at the last minute. If you've procrastinated and still need to book a flight or find a hotel, don't just settle for whatever rates they offer. Check out a last minute deal site first. You never know what you might find! Be sure to catch up on my post on great ways to find travel deals for helpful tips too!
Are you traveling this holiday season? Are you driving or flying? What other tips will you be using to make your trip a success?