Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Tips For Traveling Over Christmas

Plain and simple, you're gonna wanna to lose your shit.  Just looking at the image above gives me anxiety.  But hey, there's no place like home for the holidays right, so we pack our bags, we prepare the best we can, and we hope in the end there are no casualties.  

Every other year D and I head to the east coast to spend Christmas with D's family.  With the crowds and the unpredictable weather (especially this year!) you never know what you're gonna get.  Over the years I've learned a few things that help make holiday travel a little less stressful, here goes.

1. Fly direct and first class if you can. I know this isn't always possible depending on your destination or your budget, but whenever it is, spend the extra money.  Travel horror stories always include tales of long layovers or missed connections.  D and I don't exchange Christmas presents, instead we treat ourselves to a direct flight.  Unfortunately first class was out of the question this year, but there's always hope.  Did you guys know that if first class isn't sold out at the time of check in, you can generally upgrade for around $150 a person?  That's money well spent on long flights.

 2. Stock up on your drugs.  If you take any meds, call in your refills now.  I can't tell you how many times I've gone to pack and realized I was almost out of a medication.  The last thing you want to do the night before a big trip is wait in a long line at your local drug store (there will be plenty of time for long lines at the airport). 

 3. Make sure you phone is charged.  Part of keeping you sanity means keeping yourself entertained.  You don't want is to be stranded at the airport for hours without end with a dead phone do you?

 4. Get there extra early.  I know you're probably thinking that the last thing you want to do is to get to the airport extra early, but I promise it's not.  The last thing you want to do is miss your flight!  It happened to D and I a few trips back.  We ended up stuck in Baltimore because the lines to get through security were so long, arriving an hour before our flight just didn't cut it.  Besides, remember if you want a chance to upgrade to first class, you've got to get there before someone beats you to the punch. 

5. Know the rules.  Don't be one of those people holding up the lines to get through security.  Even worse, don't have your favorite perfume or lotion in your handbag because chances are, you'll have to toss them.  I learned the hard way and lost my $50 face moisturizer on a trip up to Northern California.  If you haven't flown in awhile, be sure to check out TSA's website
6. Have a drink.  Yep, I said it.  Once you get through security go have a cocktail (I don't care if it's 7a.m. think mimosa).  It will help take the edge off and will keep you from flipping out on the child kicking the back of your seat.  If you're really feeling crazy, have another once you board the plane, maybe you'll get lucky and will fall asleep.

7. Buy your favorite magazine.  Keeping yourself entertained, remember.

8. Bring a snack.  Airport food is gross, not to mention expensive.  Bring some pretzels and a bag of your favorite candy.  I don't know about you guys, but things go downhill real fast when I get hungry.

9. Dress in layers.   Did you know that most airlines don't provide pillows or blankets anymore (budget cuts).  If you get cold, you're on your own so dress in layers so that you have options.  Comfort is key.

10. Stand out from the crowd.  I've had a cobalt Samsonite hard shell suitcase for at least 8 years now.  The thing is indestructible and so easy to spot rolling down the conveyor belt.  If you don't have bold blue luggage that's ok, just be sure to do something to help your bag stand out from the crowd (attach a flashy luggage tag or tie a big red bow to it). 

And just one more thing before I go.  More of a request than a tip really, but something that I think would make holiday travel a bit calmer for all of us.  Parents with small children, can you PLEASE fly with your children during the day and not at night after both you and I have been working all day?  Despite your best intentions, your child is not going to sleep.  They're going to cry and scream and throw fits because it's late, they're in a strange place, they're tired and you're stressed.  Do us all a favor, yourselves included, and please take a morning or afternoon flight.  That's it and thank you!

So guys, I'd love to hear your tps and tricks for surviving holiday travel.  What do you do to keep sane?



  1. The luggage set my dad gave me for high school graduation is bright orange. At the time I thought they were so ugly, but I've been grateful for the color on many trips since then! And YES to knowing the rules as you go through lines. Non-veteran travelers always surprise me with how slow they are going through security.

    1. I want to yell "move with purpose people" every time I'm waiting in line to get through security, it's brutal. Another plus to flying first class (usually you can go through a separate and much shorter line!) Have a great night Rachael.


  2. I'm not traveling anywhere but I will still take your advice and have a drink! ;P

    1. Good for you! I'll be joining you in about 30 minutes :)

  3. Great tips! I fly a lot and especially love the advice about small children! Nothing worse than being crammed on a plane with screaming children. :)


    1. I had the flight from hell about 8 years ago and I still haven't let it go. Jet Blue from Orange County to JFK on a red eye Thursday night. Poor D got stuck next to a very large man in a wife beater, I had a crying child behind me. There wasn't enough gin and tonic on the plane to make it better. I'm pretty sure we got into NY around 5:00a.m, picked up a car and drove though mad rush hour traffic to NJ. I drank a bottle of champagne (by myself) when we got to the hotel.

      Have a good night A.

  4. Definitely the most important thing is knowing the rules. Skip over all the hoopla and get directly in. Love this!
    xo TJ


  5. great tips :) I'm glad I don't have to fly anywhere this season!