It’s that time of year again. The time that millions of people around the world are packing up the suitcases, their presents and their pets and heading across the country to be home in time for Christmas.
Every year it’s the same exact thing. We pack our suitcases and load up the car, and as soon as work is over we start our journey North. And the second we get onto the freeway, we sit in traffic jam after traffic jam. We get tense, we get hungry, and we just want to get out of town.
Traveling for the holidays is the WORST. It’s extra busy. Everything seems extra expensive. And it’s extra stressful. But, over the past 10 years of traveling home for the holidays I’ve learned a trick or two to make my life (and Trev’s) a little bit easier.
So if you’re heading over the river and through the woods to Grandmother’s house this year, let me help you make your a trip a little less stressful. We don’t want you ending up like JTT.
Here are my…
10 Tips for Christmas Travel To Get You Home for The Holidays!
- Leave really early, or really late. No matter how you are traveling this year, leaving before prime travel times or after they are already over will save you so much hassle and heartache! Think about it. Literally millions of people are hopping on planes or in cars a week from tomorrow. And everyone is going to be trying to get where they need to be at the exact same times. I know for me, I am always ready to get going the second I get out of work. But we’ve learned that if we wait a little bit (I usually am the last out on days before holidays anyways) we avoid so much traffic! By leaving after 6 pm, we miss most of the traffic jams which makes for a much smoother trip. I promise, traveling outside of peak hours is 100% worth it. It just takes a little bit of extra planning.
- Take the Road Less Traveled. No… I’m not trying to be inspirational like a Robert Frost poem. People generally tend to take the most direct route from one place to the next. If you can find an alternate way to get there, do it! That could mean flying out of a smaller airport nearby, or taking a less used highway or backroads. The Road Less Traveled always has fewer people on it.
- Skip out on popular travel stops. For all you road trippers out there, don’t stop at the biggest, most convenient travel stop. These will always be busy, and will always take longer in the end. Drive a bit out of your way if you need to (see number 2) or stop an exit or two after the big one. You’ll be in and out of the drive through in no time, and you might even score cheaper gas.
- Dress comfy. I’ve tried to be the “fashionable traveler” multiple times over the years, and honestly, it’s never been worth it. Wear something comfy that you can be in for a lot of hours. I’d also suggest layers, especially if you’re traveling on a plane from one climate to another! My favorite travel outfits usually include leggings, sneakers, a sweater or sweatshirt and a blanket scarf. (I always wear a blanket scarf on a plane because I can cuddle up in it when I’m cold without having to pack an actual blanket.)
- Take snacks… just not salty ones. Salt makes you thirsty. And the more you drink the more you’ll have to stop and pee.
- Stock your devices. No matter where you are traveling this year, stock your phones, tablets and laptops with your favorite music, podcasts, movies and games just in case you can’t get wifi or service. And while you’re at it, bring a portable charger. If you’re not in the drivers seat, chances are your electronics will die at some point on your trip. If you don’t know if you’ll have easy access to a plug, be sure to grab a portable charger for the trip. That way you won’t be left bored on a long day of travel.
- Don’t Wrap Your Gifts. If you’re traveling on an airplane, don’t wrap your presents. They’ll likely have to unwrap them to get them through security. Wrap them when you get to your destination, save yourself the headache! (Plus, I guarantee at least one or two of your family members will be happy to help you!)
- Stay connected. When I think of Christmas I think of disconnecting from Social Media and my phone, and being present with those I love most. But for the trip there and back, I always stay connected. Since we drive, we’re constantly checking Google Maps to see traffic updates, using Gas Buddy to see where to stop for cheap gas and iExit to see what lays ahead. I do the same when I’m flying. Checking flight updates on my phone, checking into my flight ahead of time, or using Gate Guru to plan for a quick layover.
- Expect the Unexpected. Nothing ever goes as planned when you travel, especially on busy travel days. So be prepared to go with the flow and know that something probably won’t go according to plan.
- Remember… no matter how stressful your travel may get, your family, friends and all the cozy feelings of home ware waiting on the other side for you!
How far are you traveling this holiday season?! We’re all packed up and leaving as soon as I get off work in a few hours. I’m so excited I can barely stand it!
Have an absolutely wonderful holiday everyone! You’ll hear from me at some point next week 🙂