Holiday Travel Tips for the Busiest Season of the Year

christmas tree in an airport with a plane behind it

The holiday season is fast approaching, and if you don’t already have your travel plans all set, it’s time to get booking. Whether you're jetting off to a faraway destination or embarking on a road trip closer to home, staying in the holiday spirit while traveling can be a breeze with the right preparations.

We've compiled a holiday travel guide with tips to ensure your journey is filled with joy, comfort, and a touch of adventure.

How do you stay in the holiday spirit while traveling?

Follow these holiday travel tips

1. Realistic Expectations

Setting realistic expectations is the first step to a stress-free holiday travel experience. If you hope for the best and prepare for the unexpected, then you're setting yourself up to have a more pleasurable experience altogether. That way, if something does happen during your holiday travel, you'll be more prepared for it.

Consider investing in travel protection that can help with unforeseen circumstances, like flight delays or cancellations due to adverse weather.

It's also essential to be transparent about budgets and cost-sharing with your travel partners to avoid any financial surprises during your trip.

busy airports with a long line

2. Flexibility in Departure

When it comes to choosing your departure airport, be flexible. There are often alternate airports within a two- or three-hour drive from your location. For example, if you're in New Orleans, consider Mobile or Baton Rouge, or if you're in Columbus, Ohio, explore Cincinnati or Dayton. While a three-hour road trip might not be your first choice, it can be a lifesaver when weather conditions are unfavorable.

Also read: The Worst Airports for Flight Delays

3. Comfort Is Key

Long journeys can take a toll on your comfort, so be prepared. Pack a neck pillow and a lightweight blanket in your carry-on if you have space. Don't forget to check the latest carry-on baggage measurements for your airline. Noise-canceling headphones can be a game-changer for a peaceful travel experience.

Why not add a dash of comfort to your holidays?

4. Entertainment on the Go

While most planes offer in-flight entertainment, it's a good idea to download a holiday playlist, movie, or book to keep yourself entertained. If you're traveling with children, ensure they have their favorite content downloaded as well. Stay immersed in your journey with your favorite music or movies, and consider packing those noise-canceling headphones.

Also see: The Best Travel Apps for Your Next Vacation

mother and son in awe of christmas lights around them

5. Treats for the Road

Get into the sharing spirit this holiday season by bringing along some festive snacks for you and your family. Make sure you have enough to last the entire trip, especially if you have little ones. Chewing gum during takeoff and landing can help relieve ear pressure. Don't forget to stay hydrated and pack a refillable water bottle.

6. Plan Ahead

A well-thought-out plan can make your holiday travel experience a breeze. Know your destination, allocate ample time for your journey, and aim for a stress-free travel experience. Always have a backup plan in case the unexpected happens. This is especially crucial during the holiday season when delays and disruptions can occur.

  • Share responsibilities such as childcare, cooking, and planning activities among your travel companions.

  • Appoint one person to handle major tasks like booking flights, cruises, or accommodations.

  • Familiarize yourself with TSA rules, especially if you're carrying gifts on the plane.

  • Check for flight delays and weather conditions before heading to the airport.

  • Consider purchasing travel protection with flight delay compensation.

Also see: 6 Fantastic Destinations for Christmas and Holiday Season Travel

family sledding

7. Avoid Regional Carriers

When booking flights, be cautious of regional carriers, often referred to as "codeshare partners." These smaller carriers with smaller planes can be more prone to flight cancellations. If you must fly with a regional carrier, opt for the first flight of the day to minimize the risk of delays.

Also read: The Worst Airlines for Flight Delays in the U.S. and the World

8. Prepare for Contingencies

Sometimes, travel plans don't go as smoothly as we'd like. Be prepared to spend the night at the airport if necessary. Pack your carry-on with essentials to make your stay more comfortable, including an inflatable pillow, lightweight blanket, toiletries, and a change of clothes. Consider investing in access to an airline lounge for added comfort during delays.

9. Health and Safety First

In today's world, health and safety are paramount. Ensure you have essential items like masks, hand sanitizer, and travel-sized medications on hand. Don't forget tissues, eye drops, and any prescription medications you may need. Prioritize your well-being throughout your journey, especially since the holiday season overlaps with flu and virus season.

Also read: The Surprising Connection Between Travel and Health

illustration of medication bottles

10. Holiday Reservations

If you're traveling during the holidays, plan your dining reservations in advance. Keep in mind that holiday menus may differ from regular offerings.

11. Winterizing

If you’re driving from somewhere warm to somewhere cold (think Palm Springs to Lake Tahoe), make sure the vehicle has all the cold-weather stuff you’re going to need – scrapers, chains, a shovel. Inspect the car’s windshield wipers looking for peeling rubber, insist on a vehicle with all-weather tires, and make sure the heat and defrosters work.

Explore the World’s Coolest Winter Snow and Ice Festivals

couple eating street food during the holidays

12. Cultural Holiday Etiquette

When celebrating holidays in another country, respect local customs, dress modestly, learn basic greetings, be cautious with gestures, embrace local traditions when invited, and respect religious practices. These steps ensure cultural sensitivity and a more enriching travel experience.

13. Consider Travel Insurance

No matter where your holiday travels take you, consider investing in travel protection. Research available options and choose a plan that meets your specific needs, from a reputable travel protection provider, such as Generali Global Assistance.

By following these holiday travel tips, you'll be well-prepared to embark on your journey with confidence, spreading the holiday spirit wherever you go. May your holidays be filled with joy and memorable moments!


Travel protection can help keep up your holiday spirits
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