Holiday travel is not easy. There are gifts to bring, luggage to schlep and kids to hurry along! Flights get delayed more often than we care to think, airports are crowded, and roads are wintry and snowy. So there, I just gave you quite a few reasons to be stressed out about. Don’t freak out just yet – I want to share 6 tips with you, that help me when I’m stressing out on my ‘Crazy Travels’. Hopefully these tips will help you minimize or bypass the headache (and sometimes heartache) of Holiday travel.

airport rush

Early Bird Booking

This may seem obvious to you, but you’d be surprised to know that many people are not aware of booking their Holiday vacation in advance (no, a week before is not considered in advance!). The closer you get to your travel date the more expensive airfares get, especially during the Holiday season.

Flexibility is another huge benefit to booking early. Whether you prefer the day flights or red eye flights, you’ll have a greater chance of finding the flights that work best for you at a decent price.

And it just happens that sometimes you can’t plan in advance (believe me I get you!). No worries, you can’t do any more than you can. But be sure to check out some of the other tips that will reduce your last minute traveling stress, even when you’re booking last minute.

Following are some other travel tips to consider when you are planning and booking your trip.

– Early morning flights are generally less often delayed than later flights.

– Try to stick to non-stop flights so you don’t have to go through the airport madness when you’re running to catch your connecting flight.

– Avoid traveling on the ‘crazy days’ – which is a day or two after/before Christmas / New Years. Better yet, if it fits with your schedule, travel on the actual Holiday. You’re less likely to hit the crowds, since most people have already reached their Holiday destinations.

Delays Happen… PLAN for It

Keep on telling yourself that your flight ‘might be delayed.’ Realistic expectations will help you minimize your stress and help you calmly figure out what Plan B might be. In case you’re stuck in the airport overnight, take some snacks with you, pack a change of clothes and if you’re traveling with kids remember to take along entertainment for them (this has nothing to do with your flight being delayed – bring distractions either way!). Helpful reminder; before setting out on your journey, be sure to have all the phone numbers you need in case you get stuck in some random city. Some useful numbers would include the numbers of family or friends in the connecting flight towns, car rentals and taxis.

Get Some Food!

I don’t know about you, but food definitely sets my mood! Lack of food can transform your trip from a pleasant trip to the in-laws (let’s get real, how pleasant can a trip to the in-laws be?!), to a nightmarish cranky never-ending journey.

Airlines are not very reliable on satisfying traveler’s hunger, so take snacks with you for some airport or on-board noshing. As a health freak, I will suggest you stick to high protein or high fiber foods so you don’t suffer from the perpetual travelers hunger. Nuts, dried fruits, cheese and protein bars make for great on board snacks.

Travel Light as a Feather

Travel light… No, I did not forget about all the presents you’ve got in every spare inch in your suitcase! Checking in your bags will definitely make your traveling a little lighter – you won’t have to worry about dragging yourself onto the airplane with all your luggage and gifts and find room for all your gifts.

Did you consider shipping your gifts ahead of time, with UPS or with the good old fashion snail mail? Or better yet, order your gifts online and have them shipped to your destination. Give yourself 2-3 weeks for your gift to ship. And if decide to carry your gifts with you on-board, keep your gifts unwrapped in case security needs to examine them.

Stock up on Entertainment

Before leaving on your vacation, fill up your iPads, laptops, and e-readers with media that you’ll enjoy on your trip. The familiarity of a favorite TV show or video game fights boredom and stress. This is especially important if you’re traveling with kids! You’ll be counting your lucky stars when your kids are distracted with all the media you stocked up before leaving home. Be sure to bring earphones, backup batteries, chargers and adapters if you’re traveling overseas.

 Stress is A Universal Thing

Remember that everyone is stressed out on Holiday Travel. It is hectic and crazy for all involved. This includes both airport staff and fellow travelers. Try to stay positive, take deep relaxing breaths, and try to smile! If you’re traveling with kids, remember that travel is pretty stressful for them as well. They get thrown off their daily routine; they probably lost some of their beauty sleep somewhere along the trip, so try to stay patient and tolerant with them. And keep in mind that getting upset with airport personnel doesn’t help as much as staying calm and keeping an upbeat attitude. 🙂

Happy Holiday Planning and Traveling!