If you’re traveling for the holidays, you’re not alone. According to recent estimates, 9.74 million Americans will travel by automobile alone during the holiday season this year. Holiday travel is a mainstay in our society that doesn’t even include the millions who will hop on a plane or train to get where they’re going.
While many people dread holiday travel, it’s important to remember that it doesn’t have to be as stressful as it seems. In fact, there are dozens of proactive steps you can take to ensure your travel is more relaxing and peaceful, and less dread-worthy than ever before. Here are a few of our favorite to get you started:
Download Free Travel Apps
As apps have gotten more popular, several large travel apps have emerged as leading the field. These apps can do everything from helping you predict traffic to allowing you to book flights, rental cars, and more easily and quickly. In some cases, travel apps can even detect price drops, flash sales, and error fares to allow you to save money. If you’re wondering about the best travel apps you should download, check out this list for a few helpful suggestions. A note about travel apps: don’t go crazy downloading everything that’s out there. Instead, download the apps that actually appeal to you and that line up with the way you commonly travel. This ensures they’ll remain useful and interesting, rather than overwhelming and stressful.
Travel Before Peak Travel Dates
A simple tip, this handy hint can save you hundreds when it comes time to travel. Peak travel days are more expensive, busier, and more stressful than their low-volume counterparts, and they’ll make for an enjoyable travel experience all around. With this in mind, adjust your dates to misspeak travel days. Even a day on either side of peak days can make a major difference. In addition to saving you money, adjusting your dates will also decrease your chance of running into missed flights or delayed connections.
Shop Around for the Best Price
As you’re booking your holiday travel, don’t jump at the first price you see. Instead, shop around to find a deal. Lots of outlets offer significant price cuts and discounts around the holiday travel season – you just have to know where to look. For best results, shop sites like Kayak for airfare deals, and subscribe to emails to get updates about flash sales and fare reductions. The aforementioned travel apps can also be helpful in this pursuit. To ensure you find the best deal, give yourself plenty of time to shop around before you actually have to book your ticket. This ensures you have ample time to compare deals and find the best one for you and your upcoming trip.
Are you the type of person who likes to roll into the airport as your flight is boarding? There’s no room to do this during the holiday season. Because holiday travel can be fraught with difficulty and big crowds, it’s imperative to leave as early as possible. Not only does this give you the time to ensure you’re able to resolve any travel snafus before they become major issues, but it also ensures you won’t miss your flight because of a too-long check-in line or a similar frustration.
Plan Your Connections Carefully
If you’re catching connections during your travel, be sure to plan them as carefully as possible. Too-tight connections can be a nightmare during peak holiday travel, and can easily lead to issues with the rest of your travel plans. With this in mind, be sure you’re giving yourself plenty of time and space during each of your connections, and that you’re not setting yourself up for failure by arranging a 10-minute connection with gates at opposite sides of the Denver airport.
Minimize the chances of lost luggage and delays by packing as lightly as possible. If you can avoid checking a bag, do it. Not only will this decrease your travel costs (for many airlines, at least), but it also helps ensure that you’ll be ready to hit the ground running when you arrive at your new place, and that you won’t have to waste time tracking down a lost suitcase when you land at your target destinations. Not great at packing light? Try laying everything out on your bed or floor before you put it in the suitcase. This allows you to visualize what you have and fill in gaps, while also weeding out duplicate pieces or unneeded outfits.
Keep Your Cool
The ultimate holiday travel tip? Keep your cool. Holiday travel is stressful, but the more you expect this, the more you can prepare for it. With this in mind, bring along things to help you relax, like a book, headphones to listen to your favorite podcast, or even an essential oil you find relaxing and grounding. Make a contingency plan for potential snafus like delays and cancellations, and ensure you have what you need to be comfortable if you’re stuck in an airport for awhile. Although nobody likes holiday travel problems, expecting and preparing for them is a great way to maintain your sanity when they happen.
Holiday Travel – the Smart Way
Don’t go blindly into your holiday travel this year. Instead, prepare for every facet of it by expecting difficulties, making contingency plans, packing light, shopping around for the best prices, and using travel apps to your advantage. While these are simple tips, they can have a major impact on how your holiday travel works and feels. When holiday travel is less stressful for you, it’s more fun for the whole family and less likely to derail your magical holiday feelings for good.
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