Today is December 11th and that means we are in the throes of the holiday hustle. For many of you, this includes travelling to see friends and family. Whether by road or in the air, the holidays are amongst the busiest times of year to travel. The chaos of travelling can put a damper on the season and cause us to forget why we’re leaving home in the first place- to gather in merriment with loved ones! With that in mind, here are some tips to help keep us all in the spirit of good cheer!
Plan for the higher volume as best as you can. Whether travelling by air or on the road, the week leading up to Christmas will see an increase in traffic overall. In general, travel is lighter midweek and becomes more congested from Thursday to Sunday. This year Christmas falls on a Tuesday, so expect Friday the 21st through Monday the 24th to be heavy traffic days. You may consider travelling on Christmas day itself as the people who braved the crowds the previous days will – hopefully- already have arrived at their destination by then. The rush will pick back up on Wednesday the 26th through Thursday the 27th. Even if you must travel on the heavier travel days, there are some things you can do to help ease the stress.
Ship gifts rather than carrying them. Free up weight from your checked bags by shipping them ahead of time. Especially consider shipping items such as jams and jellies, sauces, maple syrup, and beer, wine and liquor, as these liquids will fall under prohibited items and cause problems getting through security. If you must carry a gift with you, TSA asks that you don’t wrap gifts before going through security. Or you could gift something light, that doesn't take up much space, and provides your loved ones with great health benefits, like Doctor Plotka's toothbrushes!
Check-in ahead of time, up to 24 hours before through your airline. You can also add checked bags at the same time.
Track your flight from your phone, using an app like FlightAware or one from the airline itself, or even by following their twitter account.
Tell someone. If you’re leaving the country, notify your bank and/or credit card providers ahead of time. Don’t forget to tell your phone provider as well. This will likely save you headaches and added costs that could easily be avoided.
Exchange currency through your bank or wait until you’re in country. Places that target tourists (like in the airport) will cost more.
Have your vehicle checked for road worthiness. Be sure that tires are in good condition and properly inflated- both for safety and better gas mileage. Of course, ensure safety by inspecting the brakes and lights. Make sure the scheduled maintenance is up to date to avoid any roadside mishaps.
Check carseats. Your best bet is to go to the local fire or police station and have someone who is certified to inspect the seat's settings. At the very least, check that the seat is adjusted according to the manufacturer’s safety guidelines. Remember, keeping the seat rear facing for as long as possible is best.
Avoid delays in the morning by filling up the gas tank and packing the car the night before.
Handy Travel Apps:
Packpoint helps you create a packing list based on destination and weather.
- Keep an eye on the weather with WeatherBug.
Waze will help find less congested routes. Consider going backroads and enjoy the scenery!
GasBuddy helps to find a nearby gas station and sort based on prices.
- Create a holiday playlist on Spotify!
Enjoy one of these great Holiday movies from a list that I have personally curated to accompany you on that plane ride or road trip. (As long as you aren’t the one driving, of course!) You can’t go wrong with any of these crowd faves, and they are a perfect excuse to gather around with friends and family!
- Planes, Trains, and Automobiles
- National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation
- 8 Crazy Nights
- Home Alone
- A Rugrats Chanukah
- Nightmare Before Christmas
- It’s a Wonderful Life
- A Christmas Story
- The Polar Express
Travelling for the holidays can seem like a necessary evil. But with a little preparation, it doesn’t need to take away from the Holiday Spirit!
Oh, and before you go, don’t forget to grab a few of Doctor Plotka’s Folding Travel Brushes to take with you! Click here! They also make great stocking stuffers!
-Tim Mavroules, Mouth Watchers