Long lines, airport delays, roadways crowded with impatient drivers … tis the season for holiday travel! After months apart, we’re all anxious to get home for the holidays (or maybe someplace more exotic!) so we can re-connect, relax and rejuvenate. However, sometimes the stress of traveling makes us question if it’s all worthwhile. It is! Below are 7 holiday travel tips to make the journey merry!

1. Be Flexible

If you’re traveling around Christmas or New Year’s, check the dates on which they fall. Try to avoid the days that will make for an extended break without missing work.

Everyone wants to take a long holiday, so it’s going to be busy at the airport. If you can be flexible in your travel days, you’ll have better luck maintaining your sanity.

2. Don’t Delay

Try for the earliest flight of the day. Lines are shorter and flights tend to be on time at the beginning of the day. If delays pop up, you have a better chance of getting on a different flight later in the day.

3. There’s An App For That

There are tons of apps designed to make your life simpler while traveling. SeatGuru will help you find the perfect airline seat. Skyscanner will help you find the cheapest dates to fly and alert you when prices change.

If you’re driving, GasBuddy will help you find the cheapest gas on your route. There are so many great options to ease the stress of travel right on your phone.

4. Pack Lightly

Don’t be a Del Griffith and drag a trunk on your trip. Whether traveling by plane, train, or automobile, pack lightly. Avoid checking bags if you can (eliminating the risk of a lost bag) or pack a carry-on with essentials like medication, change of clothes, and important documents.

If traveling with children, pack a bag with hand-held games, small toys, snacks, and books. This busy bag may be the difference between angelic behavior and a Frosty-sized meltdown!

5. Ship the Gifts

Here’s one of my holiday travel tips: ship the gifts! They take up lots of space, can be easily broken or the gift wrap ends up in shreds. If you are traveling by air, items can shift during flight or may be subject to search at security. It’s easier to send them on ahead if you can.

If you buy online, many retailers ship for free during the holidays. Better yet, buy gift cards and eliminate the hassle!

6. Remember the Chargers

Let’s face it. None of us can go 10 minutes without a device, let alone an entire trip. Avoid the inevitable withdrawal by packing all charging devices in one spot. If you want to be fancy, buy a little leather or fabric pouch ($10-$15ish on Amazon!).

If you want an easy hack, use binder clips or an old glasses case to keep cords organized. Even an old makeup organizer that folds up will do the trick.

7. Breathe S-L-O-W-L-Y

No matter how well you prepare for your holiday travel, you’ll probably have a few glitches along the way. The kids will throw tantrums, other drivers will irritate you, long lines, masks, and loud crowds will try your patience.

Take a deep breath, invest in some good earplugs, and try to enjoy the ride. The destination is always worth it!

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