Happy Travel Tuesday everyone! I was just thinking over the weekend that holidays are always fun times for travels. At least they can be fun, given the proper planning and attitude. I mean, it is prime people watching time! Over the years, and through much trial and error, I’ve found found a few tricks that always help me out. As we head into the busiest travel days of this holiday season, I thought I’d share a few of my favorites with you guys!
Stay connected. Luckily there are all sorts of travel apps available these days. From traffic alerts to flight trackers, there seems to be an app for tracking just about any method of transportation! Do some research before your trip to find the one(s) you’re most comfortable with.
On a similar note, make sure you have a list of pertinent phone numbers – hotels, airlines, family, etc. – so you can keep everyone on the other end updated on your progress as well!
Pack snacks and bring water. Hangry is real folks. And it’s a condition that hurts everyone. Pack a few fun snacks for the road for just-in-case situations. If you really want to be nice to your fellow passengers, consider the odor of the food you’re bringing along as well – not everyone is a fan of strange smells!
Likewise, be sure to stay hydrated. If you’re in a car this is straightforward enough, but airports are a bit more challenging thanks to security. I always bring an empty bottle with me and fill it up on the other side A lot of airports these days have special bottle refill stations at the water fountains just for this purpose. A little piece of advice, if you put your empty bottle in the tray outside of your bag, it’ll save TSA and you a lot of trouble when it goes through the machine!
Bring entertainment/headphones. Books, movies, music – pack whatever you need to keep yourself occupied for the duration. Sometimes it really helps the attitude to have a safe activity to retreat into. And don’t forget those headphones! Even if you don’t think you’ll need them, it’s better safe than sorry.
Vehicle maintenance. There are few things worse than having car troubles on a trip. While some things are simply unpredictable, having your vehicle serviced prior to the big road trip can at least give you some peace of mind.
Plan your route ahead of time. Then plan route alternatives, just in case. You never know what you’ll find out there on the open road, so it doesn’t hurt to know your options. I also keep a paper map in the car with me just in case I end up somewhere even Google maps can’t follow. (Yes, apparently that is still possible…)
Bring a phone charger. I always charge my phone before I leave, but if I encounter delays, etc. then it’s nice to know I can re-charge. If I’m driving I keep an adapter for my car and if I’m flying I make sure to keep the charger in my carry-on bag. I know this all sounds like a no brainer, but I had to learn it all the hard way!
Ship gifts/buy gift cards. Every year I seem to encounter this issue. I find these really neat gifts and this really pretty paper but then face the ship or unwrap at security situation. I usually succumb to the lure of the shiny paper just ship them all ahead, which also saves space and weight (double win – smile). Of course gift cards are always a fun/easy option. They travel well – either with me or through email – and who doesn’t love a pick-your-own opportunity?
Pack light. This is also something I struggle with every year. Since I’m usually leaving the desert for colder climates, it’s always hard for me to judge exactly what to pack; so I overcompensate. I have improved over time, but it’s been a process. That said, the benefits of being able to navigate my luggage myself and to even occasionally save on checked bag fees make that process totally worthwhile!
Arrive early. It’s worth missing a little sleep to save a lot of worry. If there’s a huge line, you have time and if there’s not, then you have Starbucks (smile).
Breathe/be nice. Possibly the most important piece of advice on this list – and somewhat of a mantra for myself this time of year. If you’ve planned ahead, there (hopefully) should be no reason to be in any big hurries. Try to pause, take a deep breath, and remember that we’re all in this together. Someone else’s lack of courtesy should be an encouragement to balance that out with kindness, not to battle it out to the lowest possible levels. In the end a few minutes here or there rarely makes a difference in the destination, but it can make a huge impact on someone else.
What are your travel tips for surviving holiday travel??