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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Last-Minute Holiday Travel Tips

The holidays are almost upon us and that means many people will be flying or driving to destinations to see friends and family. Luckily, all our immediate family lives in town, so we don't have to go anywhere to get our jolly on. We do skip the making of a big holiday dinner in favor of going to the local-ish casino buffet on Christmas day and we do a potluck for the get together on Christmas Eve, so we have a pretty laid back couple of days to look forward to.

last-minute tips for holiday travel

If you're traveling, you probably want a few tips to make sure you don't lose your mind, either on the way there or once you've arrived.

Pack light

Your family knows what you look like. Pack only the essentials and mix and match if you can. That way you don't have to pay baggage fees and potentially have your luggage get lost. Here's how to do it, even for winter

If you're trying to also pack gifts, I'd suggest small ones that aren't wrapped that you can wrap or bag when you arrive (paper and bags are easy to stash in the bottom of your carry-on or in a side pocket). TSA won't always let wrapped gifts through, and you'll be mad if you spent all your time on wrapping and they rip it open. If you don't mind paying, shipping them ahead works too, and is still probably cheaper than baggage fees. 

Bring a back-up bag

When coming back from the holidays, you're probably going to have more than you started with. Throw a back-up bag in your carry-on that you can then bring those back with you on the plane. I have several different ones that work to carry purchases I've made when traveling. I love this full-size bag (which will fit under the airplane seat) and also this bright tote bag. Both can be packed away and are sturdy enough to hold a large load of goodies.

Pack electronic and tangible entertainment

Whether that be books, magazines, card games or whatever. Bring a small selection of things that aren't digital, because you never know what can happen on your travels and batteries don't last forever. That said, don't forget your chargers and a small power strip. A portable back-up battery is also a lifesaver. 

Be chill

Count to 10. Go to your happy place. Get to the airport 3 hours early and have a drink at the bar. Whatever you need to do, but please don't take out your stress and crankiness on everyone else. These times are hard on everyone. The security and flight crew don't need to get yelled at for no reason. There's only such much within their control too, so chill out and sit down and try to ask yourself if it's really that important. Smile at others and maybe the holiday spirit will spread.

Also bring snacks

I get cranky and mean if I don't eat. It's not often, because I get to the airport early and eat there and am prepared for my flight. I always have snacks though, because you never know. Being hangry can be avoided, which is why I bring more food than shoes when I travel. Snag a bottle of water once you're through security too, because being dehydrated can lead to getting sick, and that sucks worse than being hungry.

Look for Lyft/Uber promo codes

If you've not used either of these car sharing services before, then you can probably sign up with a hefty promo added to your account. Make those I-gotta-get-out-of-this-house-and-away-from-family trips a little cheaper and less guilt inducing.

When you simply need to release your cabin fever, splurge on a city scavenger hunt like Stray Boots or Urban Adventure Quest. This is great for kids that have all that pent up energy too.

photo credit

Get a tune up

Are you driving to your destination? Millions of people are. If you'll be driving your own car, then make sure it's safe for the road before you go. Right now, many mechanics are running specials for road-worthiness. It's very important. 

The holidays can be stressful, but that doesn't mean you can't make the best of it. If you want to be even more prepared, download some of these great apps to your phone and then plan, plan, plan, but assume things may not go as you expect.

Are you all set for your holiday travels?

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