How to survive the winter holiday travel season.
First off, you've been in the worst of it. Once, you showed up three hours early to the airport and still almost missed your flight. The anxiety of that made you burrow into your turtleneck. Another time you had all your things ready for a road trip to see some family in the next state over but then some huge, horrible storm came sweeping through and so you had to cancel all your plans. You didn't unpack that suitcase for a month out of spite.
When there are so many people trying to do exactly what you're doing you want to be more prepared in case all those wait times add up to a missed flight or dashed travel plan. Here are some tips to get you through all the hullabaloo so you can keep your sanity and your travel plans in order.
1. Early bird gets the worm…and gets to see family.
Sure, there are some trips where you dread the moment you arrive. But this trip is a big one. Don't procrastinate. I get it, you like to feel the thrill of being almost too late. You love running through the airport like it's the end of a romantic comedy. The only thing funny about a missed flight is…there isn't anything funny about that.
2. Save time and pack a carry on.
Some of you are reading this having no clue how to pack light. You think packing light means packing one single thing.
- You think of your distant cousin who has been wearing the same sweatshirt for 15 years and think "oh he just shows up to the airport and he's ready to go. That's packing light"
- I see it like this, the lighter and more efficient you pack, the less time needed to wait in line. No baggage check means you save 15 minutes. No baggage claim, that saves you another 15-30 minutes.
- The amount of time you save trying to decide on what outfit to wear? Who knows, but we'll say 15 minutes.
3. Checklists for the whole family.
Think about what you need when you're going on a trip and make a list for each person you're travelling with. Each person needs different supplies. And if at the last moment you realize "oh shoot, we left Kevin the stuffed tiger at home" you'll have to turn around.
- For you (when you're not driving) you need headphones, a neck pillow, a comfy seat, and that's just about it.
- Your spouse has to bring a warm blanket, a fully charged tablet with a season of TV pre-downloaded, and of course, a pair of slippers.
- Your kids seem to change their mind about what's most important to bring and often times you overpack just in case. But no you don't need to try to fit the yo-yo collection when you need to pack a winter coat.
- Go over each checklist with each person the night before so there's no rush in the morning or the moments leading up to the departure.
4. Sleep is important.
This is obvious but it's something that we never do enough of. And then we're grumpy at the airport and can't find any reason to smile despite the fact that we're defying gravity to see people we love. Getting a fresh start can change the whole outcome of your travel plans.
5. Wear comfortable clothes.
It's not very often when you willingly sit in an uncomfortable chair for hours at a time. You'll naturally want to find some comfort somewhere and that's going to be in how you dress.
- Flannel shirts are perfect travel garb and will keep you warm. They're easy to remove if you start getting agitated.
- That being said, layers are incredible for travel. Wear a long underwear shirt or tee, a flannel, a sweater, and then a winter coat. The more you wear to the airport, the less you have to pack in your bag too.
- Yoga pants are the perfect choice for the athleisure type of traveler. If you want to keep the yoga pants in your luggage to save some space, opt for a pair of women's jeans.
- Men's jeans are form fitting and you won't have to change out of your clothes when you get to where you're going.
6. Rent a car with snow tires.
If you're driving to see family and you know your slip sliding sedan won't make it through snow, see if you can rent a car to get you safely through the other side of that snow storm.
7. Make ahead meals for traveling.
When you pre pack lunch for a trip you save yourself money and time spent waiting in line. If a flight gets delayed over an extended period of time at least you'll have packed one "free" meal rather than paying for two overpriced meals.
So as a follow up here are some extra tips for packing.
- Pack what you know you'll need.
- Combo outfits like a dress shirt and sweater can be worn together as well as individually. That makes 4 outfits for the luggage space of 2.
- Packable winter coats are lightweight and can fit in almost anywhere.
- For men: One pair of dark jeans, one pair of chinos. If you need a third pair to mix it up that should work.
- For women: leggings save on space if you plan on bringing jeans as well as chinos. If you bring a flannel shirt or a tunic you can get a few different looks out of each.
- Pajamas are optional, but if you're heading to a colder place bring along some long underwear or yoga pants.