Let’s face it: Traveling around the holidays can be rough. Prices go up and routes get crowded. To add to this, the holidays fall smack dab in the middle of winter, when weather delays abound. Between large numbers of travelers and weather induced delays, holiday travel can be chaotic to say the least. But with a few careful steps, you can make the experience much less painful.

The first step to having an enjoyable experience traveling around the holidays, whether by air or by car, is to accept that things are not going to go smoothly. Planes will be grounded by storms, airlines will overbook their flights, and, if you’re not careful, you will be driven crazy by the crowds and delays. Accept it, and plan accordingly.

If you’re flying to your destination, show up to the airport with at least half an hour more wiggle room than you’d normally allot. Expect the lines to be long — and not just for check-in. Expect security lines and food lines to be longer than usual. That means that if your connections are tight, pack food. You won’t be able to get that bagel you always snag on your through Denver. Additionally, you should probably just leave the giant roller bag full of extra pajamas at home. Packing light will save you the headache of having to stand in line to check your bags and get you out of the airport that much faster at our destination.

The same basic ideas apply if you’ll be traveling by car. Expect heavier-than-usual traffic and the accompanying delays. Apps like Google Maps and Waze can help mitigate traffic jams, but they are only as effective as the number of people who are using them. If your plans involve a peak travel day, consider avoiding major thoroughfares and stick to side roads. 

The holidays abound with wonderful – and difficult – things. This year, plan ahead and make your holiday season just a little more wonderful.

by: Charles Jackson,
AFEUSA President

Charles Jackson President AFEUSA