My Top Tips For Traveling During The Holidays

I can’t think of a single holiday season where I didn’t spend time traveling.

Whether it was to Texas for Thanksgiving or Philly for Christmas – even in my younger years as a family we were constantly on the go during the holidays.

So, naturally, I have loads of experience traveling during what’s most likely the most chaotic time of year for travel.

I’ve also experienced pretty much any and all travel catastrophes you can imagine — delayed flights, canceled flights, ridiculously long layovers, missed connections, and flights landing prematurely due to mechanical issues (eek!).

Even when driving I’ve run out of gas, had engine problems, dead batteries, and got epically lost even with the help of a GPS.

But somehow {a Christmas miracle perhaps}, through it all I’ve managed to maintain a level of calm {at least on the outside 😀 }, think on my feet, and humbly laugh at life’s little hurdles.

There’s just something about traveling during the holidays where no matter how much you plan something inevitably goes wrong – and more often than not it’s something completely out of your control.

So with it being less than a week from Christmas, and with many of us, myself included, getting ready to travel to see family & friends; I thought it may be helpful to share some of my top tips for traveling during the holidays.

Both as a guide to keeping a level head as you dive into the chaos and a gentle reminder to give yourself and others some grace during one of the busiest times of year.

My Top Tips For Traveling During The Holidays

1. Plan ahead

This probably sounds like a no-brainer, but I can’t emphasize it enough – especially during the holidays. Have a plan A, B, and for good measure a C. It’s amazing how well you can handle tricky situations when you’ve thought them through beforehand.

2. But also go with the flow…

I know, only two tips in and I’m already hitting you with a contradiction. Yes, you want to plan ahead and have a back up plan to your back up plan – but things happen unexpectedly all the time.

– You accidentally set your alarm for PM instead of AM.

– You forget your ID and don’t realize it until you’re standing at security.

-You go to check-in and realize you’re at the wrong airport.

{If you’re wondering, yes – these have all happened to me}

Fact is, life is full of contradictions and no matter how solid your plan is things inevitably – for lack of a better term – f*ck up.

And that’s when it’s time to put a smile on your face and roll with the punches.

3. Stay hydrated & nourished

Let’s be real – problems that aren’t that serious can become exponentially more traumatic if you’re hangry.

I used to never eat when traveling, especially in car rides because I had a tendency for getting car sick.

But I’ve learned even just something small, like a piece of fruit and granola bar, is better than nothing. Because if something goes wrong – which we’ve discussed will most likely happen – I’m better equipped to go with the flow and figure out how to resolve the issue with food in my system than not.

I know I seem very bubbly & positive on the blog, but my husband can attest that if I’m stressed and haven’t eaten in awhile I’m none of the above.

We all get moody if we haven’t eaten, then add on top of that the crowds, stress, & anxiety, of holiday travel, with something going wrong….it’s the perfect recipe for a full-blown meltdown.

So do yourself {and really, those around you} a favor and keep both drinks and snacks on hand.

4. Charge & update all electronic devices

Another somewhat obvious tip, but I’m notorious for having low batteries on my phone, camera, tablet, you name it. If it runs on battery somehow it’s always at 20% or less when I’m traveling.

Which isn’t the end of the world if you have a short travel time, but for longer hauls it could be the defining difference between maintaining your sanity or not.

So plug everything in the night before, keep your plugs with you in your carryon, and even consider getting the portable battery chargers for times when you don’t have access to electric sockets.

5. Laugh & embrace the chaos

I think the most important tip for surviving travel during the holidays is realizing you’re not alone.

Look around and you’ll see everyone is just as stressed, harried, and ready to be home already as you are.

If you accept rather than fight against the fact that it’s going to be busy, with loads of people running around, delays, and just general madness that is holiday travel then you’ll already have a leg up on any catastrophe that may arise.

I’m always amazed at how far a simple smile and acknowledgement that this is crazy for everyone involved can take me.

As frustrating as some situations can be a little laugh can quickly dissipate any sour moods.

And if all else fails, just remember how blessed you are to have family and friends that you can travel to and visit for the holidays – because there are many in this world who don’t have the same privilege.

So suck it up and tell your mom to have a big glass of wine waiting for you when you finally get in.

And cheers to the motherfreakin’ holidays 😉

I’d love to hear from you – do you have any tips for traveling during the holidays?

Please share in the comments!

As always – thanks for reading, commenting, and sharing this post.

<3 <3

Photo via A well traveled woman