14 Great Holiday Travel Tips
Get the Good Deals
Travel has been turned upside down and all around over the last year and a half with bans, mandates, and unpredictable changes. As travel comes back, there are deals to help encourage travelers to take the vacations they missed over the last year and a half. You’ll find deals online with Expedia, Orbitz, Kayak, to name a few. Many travel websites have great holiday packages and discounts for flights, lodging, and activities. Now is an excellent time to book trips.
Avoid busy travel days
Typically, Sundays, Mondays, and Fridays can be busy travel days. During the holidays, busy travel days are the ones surrounding the holiday. A good tip for traveling during the holidays is avoiding traveling one or two days before and after the holiday. Travel on the actual holiday can be less crowded. An early flight on Christmas morning will be less crowded than Christmas Eve. If possible, extend your stay by an extra day, arriving and departing. Planning for busy travel days applies to both airlines and road trips.
Two most important things to pack
The two most important things to pack during the holidays are patience and flexibility because with more people traveling, tempers quickly flare. Delays and unexpected changes are part of holiday travel, but keeping your cool makes it less stressful. Budget extra time for delays, road closures, bad weather, and anything else that could go wrong. Plan to arrive at the airport a couple of hours early just in case there are any problems and for long security lines. For road trips, make sure to check the weather reports and road conditions. Purchasing travel insurance helps take some of the stings out of delays and cancellations.
Check out the weather reports for your destination and pack appropriate clothing for the climate. It’s so easy to only think of the weather at home. Avoid overpacking, especially when flying with a carry-on bag, will avoid long baggage check-in and baggage claim lines. Pack light for car trips as well.
Packing Holiday Gifts
It’s much easier topic holiday gifts when traveling by car. Bringing gifts on fights will increase your luggage, baggage fees, and more concern about keeping gifts presentable. Consider gift cards, ship things ahead of time, or purchase gifts when you arrive. Wrap them when you arrive. How sad would it be if TSA unwrapped your gift at security?
Be a good holiday guest
The holidays are all about togetherness and enjoying your time with family and friends. Good manners and consideration of your host’s home are vital to being a good holiday guest. Be respectful of the rules of the house, even when you’re visiting family.
Be a good holiday host
We’ve been waiting to get together again. Keep things simple. Make a list of your guest’s favorite things, and make sure you make your home comfortable and inviting. No one wants to feel they are imposing or making things hard for the host.
Taking pets along
We are traveling with our pets more and more. Before you bring your fur baby along on a holiday trip, check to make sure the accommodation is pet friendly, any fees associated with your pet coming along. What are the pet rules, i.e., no pets on furniture, dogs on leash, etc.? If you’re staying with family, ask if bringing your pet is a good idea. Does your host have allergies, other pets, or prefer not to have pets in their home.
Bringing your holiday treats
Are you planning to bring your specialty treat? Something the family has requested you make? Pack food items with dry ice to ensure they stay at the correct temperature to preserve freshness. If you’re flying, check any liquid food items. Liquids include jellies and jams, sauces, and gravies. Avoid possible stains on your clothing by packing food items in a separate suitcase than your clothing, just in case something leaks.
Staying healthy and safe
Traveling during a pandemic comes with the need to keep yourself, your family members, and the communities you visit healthy. Consider the pandemic health recommendations – wearing a mask, standing distance, and washing hands. Travel has always involved being around crowds; now add a pandemic, and consideration for staying healthy should be a high priority.
The requirements vary depending on city and state mandates. In some places, mandates and protocols require proof of vaccination to have dinner at restaurants. Mask may be required to enter a store. Pack masks for everyone.
Drive or fly?
Airfares are pretty high. Booking early means saving money. Gas is higher and higher each day. Budgeting for transportation is more important than in previous years. Driving for large families is most likely the best budget saver.
Hotels or Short Term Rentals
Short Term Rentals offer savings for families wanting to spend the holidays together day and night. More and more short-term rentals offer the same great amenities that hotels have always provided.
Look for car rental deals. You can find them online with sites like Kayak and Expedia.
When booking with these sites, do not purchase insurance online; wait until you’re picking up your car to buy any insurance.
Check out the car inside and out. Do a walk around and take photos of any dents, etc.
Online booking sites
Sites like Expedia, Kayak, Booking.com offer packages with significant savings. You can combine air, car, and hotel to save.