It’s that time of year again. Yes, time to solidify holiday travel plans and prepare ourselves to brave the airport lines, overbooked hotels, and congested thoroughfares.
Here are some tips to help make your holiday travel a bit less stressful if not enjoyable.
• Book early: Whether you’re flying internationally or just trying to secure a hotel room across town, make sure you research your options and book as soon as possible.
When booking flights, make sure you leave enough time for transfers (which make take longer due to increased holiday travel traffic).
• Travel late or early, not during peak hours: There is nothing more glorious than breezing through security at 6am, grabbing a cup of java, and stretching out in your own row on the airplane for your early morning flight. Though waking up early (or staying up late at night) might sound painful, the payoffs are pretty great.
• Pack light: Especially if you’re only leaving for a long weekend, try to pack everything you can in your carry-on. This way you can avoid losing your bag or having to wait for it at baggage claim.
• Think over your plan for holiday gifts in advance: Few things are worse than trying to figure out how to cram all of your gifts into your luggage. Consider shipping larger items to your destination in advance, or buy small no-fuss items like gift cards for your loved ones. Even better, consider donating to a charity in the name of your friends and family members.
• Reward yourself: Make time to do something for yourself during a hectic travel day, whether it’s a new book, a chair massage at the airport or a good meal (my favorite “reward” is a chocolate croissant at the French Meadow Bakery at Minneapolis/St. Paul International Airport). If you treat yourself kindly, you’ll be kinder to your fellow travelers and friends and family at your destination.