Holiday Travel Hacks

Passengers are waiting to board an airplane.“Over the river, and through the wood, to grandmother’s house we go…” You may know these words. They’re from a mid-1800s poem and song celebrating a mystical and magical horse-drawn sleigh ride over snowy country fields for a family holiday gathering. Suffice it to say, holiday travel in the 21st century has gotten a little more complicated and is anything but magical and mystical. It can lead to a major headache. Here are some tips to ease holiday travel stress.

  • Go with the flow. You have no control over gridlocked traffic, jammed airports, weather delays and the unexpected. But you can control your reactions. Stay calm and accept that unusual things may happen.
  • Explain to your children all the steps and processes ahead of time – airport security lines, the boarding process and waiting on the runway. Let your kids know what to expect. The fewer surprises the better.
  • Plan ahead and allow for extra time. Realize that this isn’t your average, run-of-the-mill jaunt taken at any other time of the year. Give yourself a cushion of time for delays and the unexpected. Leave early.
  • Use all available technology tools. Check flight status and get alerts. Watch traffic maps. Use airport parking updates.
  • Have a back-up plan with alternative transportation.
  • If flying, check your bags so there’ll be no lugging extra bags and fighting for overhead space. Be minimalist. Only take what you need on board in small carry-on baggage.
  • Eat. Keep everyone fed. Bring snacks and drinks. Airlines have them but they can’t always appeal to dietary restrictions or picky eaters. Bring a few of everyone’s favorites. Keep in mind that drinks will have to be purchased at the airport after you’ve gone through security checkpoints.
  • Bring lots of entertainment to keep all parties amused for the duration of your travels. This could be the perfect time to start a new book or buy a new coloring book. They make them for adults now!
  • If driving, stop often for bathroom breaks. Stretch, walk around and get some fresh air.
  • Have a clothing plan. Layering helps, as plane and car temperatures can vary between cold or hot. Bring a change of clothes if you’re going to a climate with a vast temperature difference. Extra clothes to make a quick change are necessary if there’s a spill or mishap. Restrooms and rest stops are convenient places to change clothes quickly.

Following these tips may not make your trip as magical and mystical as an old-time sleigh ride, but it may help make the modern excursion a lot easier.