4 tips to make holiday travel less stressful (hint: plan early)

November 6, 2014

Travelling during the holidays can be tiring, but it doesn't have to be a nightmare. Here are four ways to make it less stressful.

4 tips to make holiday travel less stressful (hint: plan early)

1. Plan early


If you're flying, book 45 to 60 days in advance.

  • Failing to book early will leave you paying premium prices.
  • Even if it costs more, opt for direct flights. You do not want to take the chance getting stuck for hours at a layover destination. Also, if you can, avoid flying on the day of a holiday.
  • If you must travel on the holiday, try to book on the first flight of the day. Delays do not normally affect those flights. If they do, you are more likely to get placed on the next available flight.
  • If you're flying with your child, research any additional documents you may need to prove you have permission to travel with him or her. This is especially true for divorced parents travelling out of the country.


Driving may be a better option if your destination is within a reasonable distance. This is also helpful if you have young children and need to bring a lot of extra gear.

2. Call ahead

It's always good to speak with your family or host ahead of time so each of you knows exactly what to expect when you arrive.

  • For example, if you're travelling with young children, you might warn them to make sure costly breakables are out of reach of little hands.
  • Or, if your child is a picky eater or has special dietary needs, it is polite to let your host know and offer to shop for what they need when you arrive.
  • Find out if your host has house rules like not eating in the living room and make sure your children are aware of these rules before you go. It will help to avoid disagreements while you are there.

3. Bring it on

Make sure any essentials you or your children need are in your carry-on bag.

  • Suggestions include insurance cards, current photo ID, sanitizing wipes, portable battery charger, change of clothes for small children and light snacks.

4. Get to the airport early

Arrive three hours before your flight takes off to give you plenty of time to get through security.

  • This also lets you have a relaxed meal and visit the restrooms before your flight begins to board.
  • Stay informed about your departure gate and boarding time to make sure there are no unexpected changes that could make you miss your flight.
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