Making the Most of Holiday Travel

It’s the holiday season, which means lots of people will be traveling to visit relatives and friends. Sometimes these drives can be pleasant, but other times traffic and long distances make them feel unbearable. Here are some tips I’ve come up with to make your travel experience as positive as possible:

1.) Consider your transportation. 

Planes, trains, and automobiles are all options depending upon how much money you’re able to spend. While driving might seem to be the cheapest option, don’t forget to consider the cost of gas and how inclement weather might impact your travel. In my opinion, trains are ideal because they enable everyone to relax and you never have to sit in traffic. At the same time, you get to see the landscape of the area you’re traveling through rather than just clouds. There’s also more room to stretch your legs than on a plane, and you don’t have to breathe warm, recycled air. Don’t get me wrong, I love flying! But flying during the holidays, especially with children, does not seem like an awesome experience.

2.) Dress comfortably.

If you enjoy doing your makeup and hair, and overall looking like a million bucks, then definitely do that before you embark. Contrastingly, if you like wearing footie pajamas, then tear it up. It’s pretty common sense, but your travel experience changes completely if you’re wearing something you don’t feel comfortable in.

3.) Bring a friend! 

For families traveling together, you’ve got this one down. If you’re a college student traveling home for the holidays, though, it can be kind of lonely! Check to see if any of your friends live on your route. If you’re feeling really adventurous, you could post an ad in your school’s newsletter looking for a travel buddy. You could even ask them to pay for gas and/or bring snacks, and make a new friend in the process. Traveling goes by far more quickly when you have someone to talk to and laugh with.

4.) Entertainment is key. 

Entertainment is a crucial part of traveling, especially if you’re traveling alone. Whether you make an amazing Spotify playlist that you sing along to during your drive, or you pack a book you’ve been meaning to read during your six-hour flight, entertainment will save your brain from melting from boredom. If you’re not driving, consider downloading some apps (like games, crossword puzzles and word searches, and even fun scavenger-hunt type apps like Pokémon Go). If you are driving, consider downloading an audiobook or a comedy special from Netflix to listen to.

5.) Pack wisely.

I’m a big advocate for always over-packing a little. When packing, you should consider:

a.) Obviously, what clothing, shoes, accessories, and health/beauty products you’ll need for your trip
b.) If you’re bringing gifts, and how to best transport them
c.) What special items and considerations you’ll need to make if you’re traveling with small children and/or pets
d.) What snacks and drinks you’ll need to fuel up during your trip (it’s cheaper to buy these items ahead of time than to pay gas station or airport kiosk prices when you’re desperate)
e.) What you’ll do if, say, your car breaks down or inclement weather prevents you from getting to your destination (i.e., Do you have a first aid kid? Do you have warm clothing in case you have to sit in your car and wait for a tow truck? Do you have cash on you in order to pay for a tow truck in the middle of nowhere?)

6.) Remember why you’re doing this.

The holidays, at their core, are about love. No matter what you celebrate, the holidays are a time for people to come together and express how much they care for each other. It helps to try and remember that when people cut you off in traffic, or when you spend 20 minutes doing laps around the mall parking lot looking for a space.

Happy Holidays and safe travels! 

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