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tips for traveling during the holiday season

Traveling during the holidays can be hectic, no matter if you’re only going across town or trying to get across the country. Everyone is traveling to be closer with family and it can cause stressful delays during a time that should be relaxing and reflective.

To help make traveling a little easier, we’ve put together a few tips for traveling during the holidays.

Avoid Peak Travel Times

The holidays fall on the same day for everyone, that’s a given, but the days you travel don’t have to be the same as everyone else.

If possible, leave a day or two earlier and head home a day or two later. You’ll have the benefit of feeling less rushed to get to your destination and you’ll most likely experience smaller crowds when at the airport or while on the road.

When flying, choosing to travel on off-peak days also has the potential to save you some money. Flights day of, or a few days before and after the holidays, are often sold at a premium when compared to the rest of the year. If you can be a little flexible on your departure and arrival days you can take advantage of lower prices.

Leave Early (or Late)

Even if you are able to book an early flight or avoid the rush on the roads, it still helps to leave early. Other’s may have the same idea, so while it will be less crowded than usual, you’ll still want to be prepared for some delays.

If you’re heading to the airport give yourself a little extra time to make sure you don’t get stuck in security. If you’re driving, get the coffee machine ready and get on the road earlier in the morning.

On the other hand, there is also the option to leave much later than everyone else. If you’re willing to catch a red eye or drive home long after the sun has set, you’ll usually only see a handful of others on your travels.

Pack Light

Lugging around large bags slows everything down. If it’s a road trip you’ll have to carefully pack the trunk like a game of Tetris, pile it on your lap, and when you finally reach your destination, wheel it all inside.

When it comes to air travel, all of that luggage will have to be checked in. The check-in desks usually have a line on most days of the year and on the holidays the wait can be longer than your actual flight.

Skip the lines and the hassle of cramming your trunk full of luggage by packing as light as possible. This can be done by only bringing the essentials, and only as many items as you need to get you through the trip. There’s also the option of bringing clothes made of odor-resistant materials, like merino wool, that allow you to wear them a few days in a row without washing. Depending on what you have planned for activities, this could be a good option.

If you still have trouble packing everything into a smaller bag, compressible pouches will help you get it all in. These compression bags can get filled up with all your essentials, then as you zip it shut, it removes any extra air and slims down to a more manageable size.

One final consideration for packing light is if your destination allows you to use a washing machine. Then you could pack only half of what you planned on taking as you could wash it during the middle of your trip and have fresh, clean clothes for the rest of your stay.

Bring Entertainment

Whether or not you’re delayed, it’s always nice when the time passes a little more quickly. To make this happen, bring something to entertain you and your family. Books are always a travel staple and it’s easy to get lost in a story after only just a few pages. Traveling is the perfect time to finally read the book that’s been sitting on your shelf or catch up on the latest best sellers.

If you’re looking for something to watch, most smartphones allow you to stream movies or shows easily. You can even download audio content ahead of time and listen to the latest podcasts or a book on tape.

If you want to leave the electronics at home, travel sized games are a fun option and can get everyone involved. There’s a lot you can play with only a deck of cards, or you can pick up a classic like tic-tac-toe, checkers, or pictionary in an easily packable size. With portable games you also won’t have to worry about the battery running out, meaning the fun can go on for as long as you need it to!

Get Ready to Hit the Road

We hope these ideas will make your holiday travel a little less stressful. The holidays are a time to enjoy being around family and friends, so when you get to your destination this year refreshed and relaxed, you can appreciate that time even more.

Have a few travel tips of your own? Leave them in the comments below!

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