If the holidays are synonymous with anything other than spending time with relatives, it’s the travel required to to physically get to said loved ones. Whether you’re celebrating Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year’s, save yourself some stress and get prepared with these holiday travel tips for a relaxing break.
1. Avoid the busiest travel days.
A huge way you can cut down on the stress of holiday traveling is by avoiding the busiest travel days — that is, the day or days when most people are in transit for a specific holiday. For Thanksgiving, the busiest day to travel is November 25th, December 2rd is the busiest travel day for Christmas, and December 30th is the most popular travel day for New Year’s festivities. On the flip side, the best days to travel for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s are November 30th, December 27th, and January 1st, respectively. If your plans are flexible, you can also consider flying on the actual holidays since most people don’t travel on the holiday itself.
2. Get your tickets early.
While the ‘3:00pm on a Tuesday two weeks before your flight’ rule works for most of the year as the cheapest time to buy tickets, when it comes to holiday travel, there’s no better way to save yourself some money than by booking your flight early. Some airlines even offer to compensate you if you buy your ticket early and the price later drops.
3. Don’t fly midday.
For less congested flights, try booking your flight either really early or really late in the day. Look at it this way: you don’t want to be traveling during the times that everyone else wants to be traveling. While traveling midday might be convenient scheduling wise, if you want to avoid crowds — and a higher chance of delays — book your flights for early morning or late at night when there are less people and a lesser chance that your flight will be pushed back.
4. Have everything ready the night before.
Aside from your toothbrush and whatever else you need to get ready in the morning, have everything you need to take with you packed and ready to go the night before you depart. There’s nothing worse than the panic you feel when you’re running late and can’t find your phone/wallet/keys, so by having everything you need all together can help cut down on last-minute stress. You’ll also want to make sure you have a full tank of gas (or at least plenty to get you to the airport) the night before to limit the amount of stops you need to make in the morning when you set out.
5. Take some deep breaths.
Even if you travel on one of the less busy days, traveling during such a popular time of year is bound to come with some setbacks and obstacles. Keep reminding yourself that ‘you can’t control the situation, you can only control how you respond’ to keep your head and stay calm under frustrating and inconvenient circumstances.