Taking Christmas on the Road – Tips for Holiday Travel

Chicago Airport

Chicago Airport

Whether you’re flying or driving this Christmas, if you’re not prepared you might lose your Christmas spirit and turn into a Scrooge. Traffic and airline delays can leave you waiting for hours, so make sure you have everything you need to handle these issues. Airports will be busy, so pack light and organize your things well so you can sail through security. Highways will be bustling too, so make sure you have a map or an electronic navigation system so you can reroute your plans if necessary.

Airport in Sacramento, CA

Luggage Sculpture, Sacramento

Packing Essentials

You’ll breeze through the airport if you don’t have to check your luggage. Traveling with only a carry-on lets you go straight to your gate and helps you avoid crowds and long lines when you arrive at your destination. If you are bringing gifts to your destination, consider shipping them before you get there. You can order gifts online and have them shipped directly to the place where you’ll be spending Christmas morning. Some sites can even send them gift-wrapped.  Definitely shipping gifts with a package service like Fed Ex or UPS will be less expensive than the exorbitant fees airlines charge for checked baggage.

How do you keep your checked bags light? Organization. If you’re bringing a jacket or heavy sweater, wear it instead of packing it. Pack larger pieces of clothing first and then tuck smaller items like socks around them. Remember to keep your liquids separate and seal them in a quart-sized plastic bag for the security check. You might want to just purchase liquids at your destination to avoid the hassle altogether.

Even though you need to pack light, you should keep the items you absolutely need with you. When traveling with young kids, don’t skimp on the diapers. If you get stuck in the airport overnight, that is not something you want to run out of.

Nomad Lunch.bag

Nomad lunch bag from valira.com

Don’t Forget

Whether you’re traveling with children or not, make sure you are prepared in case you’re stranded for a while. No one can keep up the Christmas spirit if they’re hungry, so keep snacks on hand. You can bring food through security, so bring your kids’ favorite snacks from home. Having something familiar will keep them comfortable and happier.

Make sure you bring enough to keep yourself and the kids entertained as well.  Stock up on new toys, books and games. Pull one out every time someone gets antsy, and you’ll beat their boredom. Younger kids can happily pass the time with a few stickers or a coloring book, while older kids might enjoy a video game or a new magazine. Don’t just bring one new toy, either. If your plane gets stuck on the tarmac or you get stuck in traffic while driving, you may need to pull a few miracles out of your bag of tricks to prevent a meltdown.

Know Where You’re Going

Nokia viNe Tutorial - Hit Options and select Positioning SettingsFamiliarize yourself with your route, whether you’re taking the car or an airplane.  Download a GPS app on your smartphone and practice using it before you go.  If you hit an unexpected detour while driving, you’ll be able to navigate the quickest workaround. If your flight is delayed and you’re rushed during your layover, you’ll be more likely to make it to your next flight if you’re familiar with the airport (check layout maps online before you leave). Feeling rushed is even more stressful if you’re also feeling lost.

Traveling during Christmas doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Although it can be hectic and you can anticipate delays, you’ll be better equipped to handle the unexpected if you are prepared. There is a fine line between traveling light and traveling with everything you need to keep you and your family calm and happy. Make sure you have the essentials and you’ll arrive at your destination merrily.

Mary Thomas is an avid traveler blogger, who has experienced the holidays in many areas of the world. Mary uses http://www.christmassongs.net as a great source for Christmas Song Lyrics for traditional and contemporary hymns, songs and carols.

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