Holiday Travel Tips: How to Stay Stress-Free this Holiday Season

October 28, 2019

After moving, traveling during the holiday season is among the most stressful events we’ll encounter in our lifetime.

To keep yourself calm, cool, and collected, keep these 10 holiday travel tips in mind for your upcoming vacation!

Holiday Travel Tips

1. Breathe!

Before you even think about what flights to book or presents to pack, take a moment and breathe.

In… out… and repeat.

It’s no secret that holiday travel is difficult. But, getting all worked up won’t solve anything. Do your best to keep a level head, a clear mind, and a positive outlook. After all, you’re going on a vacation!

2. Prepare for Everything

Okay, to be fair, it’s impossible to plan for every possible travel scenario. But, you can mentally prepare yourself! If you’re not in the right headspace when traveling, even the tiniest hiccup can send your itinerary spiraling into despair.

Instead, do your best to prepare for everything from airport snacks to back-up transportation plans. As you go through the holiday travel planning process, think of possible scenarios and how you can plan for each.

With that said, don’t focus on large, impossible events, but rather small, manageable scenarios like a lost phone charger or misplaced bag. The more prepared you are for your travels, the better it’ll be in the long run.

holiday travel tips

3. Book Early

Quite possibly the most important of our holiday travel tips is to book early.

Booking your travel plans early allows you to take advantage of seasonal promotions, guarantees your spot, and permits you to kick back and relax once the holidays arrive.

From your hotel room to your destination activities, having everything planned and booked in advance will provide you with peace of mind leading into the holiday season. Say goodbye to last-minute booking and hello to total holiday relaxation!

4. Search for Holiday Promotions and Vacation Packages

Who doesn’t want to save money when traveling over the holidays? You’re already spending money on gifts, why spend more on travel when you don’t have to?

Keep an eye out for holiday promotions and vacation packages that allow you to save money and book the hotel, flights, and activities that suit your vacation plans.

When you book your holiday vacation with Tripster, you’ll have a wealth of promotions at your fingertips! From ticket discounts to full vacation packages (not including transportation), there are several ways to save. One of the most popular options is to bundle your hotel room reservations and attraction/activity tickets for additional discounts! Try it out and see how much you can save on travel this holiday season.

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5. Avoid Traveling on Peak Days

One of the most lucrative (and stress-reducing) holiday travel tips is to avoid traveling on peak days. The day before and after a major holiday, such as Christmas, experience some of the highest traffic rates leading to long lines at the airport and back-ups on highways.

If possible, give yourself some buffer room and travel before or after peak days of the holiday season. Your sanity will thank you!

Plus, traveling on “off-peak” days will enable you to purchase flights at a lower rate. Be as flexible as possible with your transportation plans to receive the best possible price. For instance, flying in the early morning or late at night with an economy ticket will be far more affordable than a mid-day flight on a peak travel day!

Holiday Travel Tips

6. Navigate the Airport with Ease

One of the trickiest aspects of holiday travel is the airport. Long lines, ever-changing regulations, and delays can all lead to confusion, irritation, and missed flights if you’re not on top of your game. As part of our list of holiday travel tips, be sure to also follow our airport tips:

Arrive as Early as Possible

During the year, you might poke fun at your parents for wanting to get to the airport far too early. However, during the holiday season, follow this advice!

From checking a bag to dealing with the security line, the airport will be jam-packed during the holidays. Arrive as early as you can to ensure you have plenty of time to deal with the crowds and get to your gate with time to spare.

Check-in Online

We have technology now! Unless there’s a problem with your reservation or you have a question, there’s no need to stand in the never-ending ticket lines.

Download your airline’s app, check-in online, and head straight for the security check when you arrive at the airport. If you’re checking a bag, your airline of choice may also allow you to print the tags ahead of time, too.

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Use TSA Pre-Check

If you travel a lot, TSA Pre-Check comes in handy, especially during the holidays. Consider applying for Pre-Check if you’re planning to fly during a major holiday.

Dress and Pack for the Security Line

We all know those people in the security line wearing every possible type of jewelry, belt, clunky shoes, etc. Do not be this person. 

Instead, wear comfortable attire and shoes that easily slip off and breeze right through security.

Also, remember to pack your carry-on properly for the security check. This means:

  • Having your tickets and ID/Passport ready to go.
  • Having laptops and other electronics easily accessible to remove.
  • No liquids above 3ml.
  • No full water bottles.
  • All pills/personal hygiene items in a clear Ziploc bag.

If you’re not sure about a certain item, check TSA’s website before packing your bag.

Pack Light

Unless you’re going overseas or for an extended vacation, reconsider packing a bag. Pack light enough that you only need a carry-on.

And, if the airline employees at the gate ask if anyone is interested in gate-checking a bag, hop at the opportunity! It’s a free bag check and you know it’s going directly to your final destination.

Avoid Connecting Flights

To reduce your overall stress and any chance of a missed flight, try to find direct flights to your vacation destination. If this is not possible, make sure you have plenty of time in between flights in case of weather delays or other situations.

Skip Flying with Gifts

You might think it’s odd that we’re telling you to skip the gifts on a list of holiday travel tips. But, with how chaotic airports and transportation are over the holiday season, it’s best to either ship your gifts to your hotel/destination or purchase smaller gifts like gift cards.

The last thing you want is an expensive gift to be broken at baggage claim or worse—lost!

7. Pack Strategically

Sure, you’ll need to think about strategically packing your bag for a flight or other mode of transportation. But what about the contents inside?

When packing for a holiday vacation, consider the following:

  • The weather at your destination
  • The activities on your vacation itinerary
  • The overall weight of your luggage
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Try to pack as light as possible, but with your itinerary in mind. For instance, if you’re visiting Orlando over Christmas, you’ll certainly need a sweatshirt or two and a pair of pants, but leave the massive winter jacket behind! There’s no need for it in the hot Florida sun.

8. Get Ready for Traffic

Spoiler alert! There’s going to be traffic no matter when you travel.

Certain times of the day/season will have lighter traffic than others, but overall, you can’t avoid it.

With this in mind, plan ahead and leave early for your intended destination. If you’re planning on flying out of a major airport like New York City’s JFK Airport or Los Angeles International Airport, leave even earlier than you’d think. Traffic builds and builds and builds until it causes major delays for travelers!

Keep traffic in mind while exploring your vacation destination, too. If relying on ride-share services or public transportation, traffic can cause significant delays for these modes of transportation as well.

9. Maximize Your Time on Vacation

Most holiday travel tips focus on the planning aspect of a vacation. But what about once you’re on your trip?

One of our most important tips is to maximize your time while on vacation. Plan to spend the majority of your day exploring your destination, having fun, and experiencing something new. Whether that means lounging on the beach all morning and afternoon or roaming the streets of the city, have an itinerary that makes the most of your time in a new location.

10. Stay Flexible

While it’s important to jam-pack your days with vacation fun, it’s also vital that you remain flexible. From traffic to holiday closures, various factors can derail your itinerary in the blink of an eye.

Stay positive and flexible with your holiday vacation plans. After all, it’s the holiday season, there’s no reason to get upset!

Enjoy Your Vacation With Our 10 Holiday Travel Tips

Put our holiday travel tips to the test by booking your vacation with Tripster today. From Toronto to Hawaii and everywhere in between, Tripster has the hotels, activities, and show tickets you want for your holiday vacation.

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