Holiday Travel Tips – Christmas & New Year’s

published on November 29, 2019 by
Holiday Travel Tips

It’s the most wonderful (and hectic) time of the year! Here are some tips to help you travel smarter this holiday season…

Hopefully you all have your holiday vacations booked this late in the season, but if not: check out our Christmas and New Year’s rentals to book a last minute stay. Then hop back to this article for tips to travel smarter this year!

Lower your expectations.

The first step in having a wonderful holiday, is to change your expectations of it. Many of us plan our family visits and holiday vacations with visions of grandeur; the flight will be on time, my sisters won’t bicker, my parents will obey the “no religion or politics” rule, etc. If you lower your expectations of the trip and preemptively accept that you may encounter travel snags or family drama, then you will be less likely to be taken off guard by these occurrences when they arise.

Compare airports for better deals on flights and rental cars.

Booking holiday flights can be confusing and stressful. So, if you want to ensure you book the best option for your trip, then carve out an afternoon to research deals on flights and rental cars. Consider more than just prices—take convenience into consideration as well. You may be able to find a cheaper flight at an airport further from your destination, but make up the difference in the cost of a rental car. Avoiding large airports like LAX can help save hours of wait time, and they are typically less filled with crowded mayhem.

Avoid peak travel days and times.

Instead of travelling the week of Christmas, talk to your family about celebrating the week before this year. If that is not an option, then at least avoid traveling on Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays. Before you book, read this year’s stats about the best and worst holiday travel days. Choose flights with undesirable departure and landing times to avoid crowds; early morning and late night times are best. 

Holiday Travel Tips

Leave for the airport with at least an hour or two…or three to spare.

You should account for traffic delays, parking delays, check-in wait times, and TSA lines when mapping out your decampment time from home to the airport. Even more, you should probably tack on at least one additional hour to that estimate. Your motto should be: “What can go wrong at the airport, will go wrong at the airport”.

Book direct flights if possible to avoid delays.

If at all possible, find a direct flight to avoid layover delays and minimize the potential of lost luggage. If this is not possible, at least try to ensure you don’t have back-to-back flights. 

Reserve airport parking ahead of time.

You can reserve your parking spot at the airport ahead of time to ensure that you get a close space and find a good deal. Furthermore, have a friend drive you to the airport and avoid parking altogether!

Travel on Christmas day.

Not surprising, flight tickets are way cheaper on Christmas day and the airports are significantly less crowded. Convince your family to celebrate on Christmas Eve and fly home the next morning.

Do not travel with gifts, mail them instead.

One of the most noteworthy travel tips is to travel light. As such, refrain from packing heaps of presents in your luggage. Mail them ahead of time to your familys’ house, or have them delivered directly to them after purchasing online.

Travel Light

Pack as light as possible to avoid baggage issues and delays.

If at all possible, aim to only bring carry-on luggage. Not only will it save your sanity traveling through the hectic airport, but it will prevent your luggage from being lost in the holiday hustle and bustle. The holidays are the most common timeframe when airlines lose luggage.

Be prepared for things to go wrong.

Bring snacks and games for your kids in the event you have a flight delay and need to kill a few hours in the airport. Lower your expectations of a perfect trip, so that if something goes wrong you are able to keep a cool head and stay cheery for your family’s sake.

Make it a road trip and avoid flying altogether.

Seems like the best travel tip of all is to avoid flying completely and just drive instead. In many cases of contiguous state travel, the time saved flying isn’t more than a couple hours. Consider taking the family for a wintry road trip instead of subjecting yourselves to the mayhem of the airport during the holidays.

Christmas Road Trip

Have alternate routes planned if you drive.

If you do drive, bring a paper map in case your phone loses service, and map out an alternate route in case of construction or traffic jams. Even more, monitor the state’s road conditions for weather before you hit the pavement.

Pack an emergency cold-weather kit in your car.

Even if the weather sites predict blue skies, do not leave home without an emergency kit in your car. This is probably the most important part of a winter road trip. Pack food, blankets, boots, gloves, snow bibs, and hand-warmers for the whole family. Above all, don’t forget tire chains.

Don’t forget your phone charger.

Not that you needed another reminder, but don’t forget your phone charger!

Happy Holidays

Be kind to everyone, but especially service staff.

If something goes wrong at any step in your trip, remember to be kind and smile. Patience and kindness are your best bet at getting help. Also, remember that it is a holiday for service staff as well! They are taking time away from their loved ones to be of service to others, and a little sympathy will go a long way.

Happy Holidays from all of us here at RedWeek! Treasure your time with family, and travel safely throughout the season.

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