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7 Tips for Avoiding Hellish Holiday Travel

7 Tips for Avoiding Hellish Holiday Travel Photo

Photo by TravelPartner

Posted on November 18, 2010 in Travel Tips

Come November and December, it seems like nearly every member of our IgoUgo family is planning a holiday trip. Or four. (Grandma’s house, Thanksgiving dinner, home with the parents, a quickie getaway, etc…) If you’re planning to be on the road or in the sky with millions of other travelers like we are, we’ve compiled some tips that will make sure you arrive with holiday cheer intact. So peep our list and check it twice.

  1. Make an Electronic Packing List. Amy Travels shared this idea with the IgoUgo community in her journal about last-minute getaways – but we think it especially applies to hectic holiday travel. She says a digital packing list “eliminates the need to make a new list for each trip and the chance that you’ll forget something. I maintain separate lists for the different kinds of trips I take.” Want help getting started? Try, an online packing list generator that lets you customize and save lists--and even reminds you to take out the garbage before you go.

  2. Time Your Trip. Airports and highways turn into zoos on the days immediately before and after major holidays. If you can, stagger your trip at least two days out from the busiest travel day. Another strategy? Travel on the day of--when most people have already arrived, and are out of your way.

  3. Send Gifts Ahead. If you’re planning to bring holiday gifts or host presents to your destination, simplify your packing by mailing them ahead of time – rather than sandwiching your family around them in the car, or getting delayed on the airlines with your extra packages. (By the way, if you’re flying, don’t wrap gifts – airline security might need access to them, and they’ll be too rushed to carefully undo your handiwork.)

  4. Bring an Empty Water Bottle. We love this tip from parramore, who notes that some airlines no longer offer free water or soda on-board (and besides, holiday travel often equals long delays--with no beverage service forthcoming!). She says, in her Top 5 Holiday Travel Tips, “bring an empty water bottle through security and then fill it up at a water fountain near your gate. Congrats. You just saved yourself $4.” Apply this one to roadtrips too, and fill up at a water fountain rather than shelling out for bottled H2O at gas stations.

  5. Photo by SFPhotocraft

  6. Traveling with Pets? Research Your Options. Whether you’re transporting Fido or Fluffy in the car or by plane, a good carrier is a must. If you’re going by plane, make sure the carrier meets airline approval. We loved blog-frequenter Wildcat Dianne’s story – and advice – from transporting her sister’s cats by air across the US. Among her tips: Compare prices between airlines, get a certificate of heath for the animals in case the airline requires it, and make sure the carrier is identified (just like your regular luggage!) with the animal’s name and owner’s address and phone number. For extra assurance on your pet’s in-air travel experience, try booking with Pet Airways, which specializes in flying with four-legged friends.

  7. Traveling with Kids? Pack a Survival Kit. Kids present their own list of challenges while on a trip, and holiday travel can easily intensify that (the crowding! the rushing around!) Our best advice? Whether you’re on the road or in a plane, anticipate being entirely self-sufficient. Pack smart: Prep an easily-accessible or carry-on bag with anything you’ll need to manage hunger, thirst, boredom, spills, sickness, fear, tiredness, and even medical emergencies. Trust us, it’s much easier to whip out the inhaler you stashed away for your toddler than to ask other harried people for help.

  8. Build in Extra Time. Lots of it. No matter how you’re traveling. Tons of travelers equal tons of potential delays. And after all, it’s more fun to arrive in time to help stuff the turkey or the stockings than to be late for the party. Happy holidays, and happy travels!

More Holidays--and Holiday Travel--on IgoUgo
Find Holiday Flights
Six Quick Thanksgiving Getaways
Will Travel for Turkey? Try These Ideas

Posted by SpecialK3883 (Kelly L. Phillips)


Comment by NomadSue on November 20, 2010

Very useful tips, especially the first one (electronic packing list).


Comment by emolife on May 19, 2011

These are great tips becuz when traveling at like christmas time that time is of the essents

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