6 Travel Tips for the Holidays

No matter how wonderful a vacation may be, once you arrive, traveling is always going to come with its share of headaches. Here are six tips to help minimize the aches and pains of your holiday vacation so you can get to the good parts.


1. Flights


While the best deals might not always come from booking six months or more in advance, watching flight prices early gives you one clear advantage: options. You’ll be in a prime position to watch for flash sales and special offers from whatever airline, whenever they crop up, greatly improving your chances of getting a great deal on your flight.


Holiday travel has two big strikes against its reliability: the weather, and the quantity of other travelers. Every connection you have to make increases the odds of some delay or another impacting your entire flight plan, which can cause tremendous headaches, long holdovers, and additional expenses. Spending a bit more money on direct flight tickets whenever possible is usually worth it to minimize the odds of these problems.


2. Have a dependable vehicle


When looking into traveling during the holidays make sure that your vehicle has been serviced, along with checked out by a mechanic professional. This would take care of any possible issues that could happen on the road or before you even leave to travel within the season. There is also the matter of electric vehicles being fully charged if that is an optional travel route or automobiles that use fossil fuels having a full tank of gas. While there are options for both while traveling, such as gas stations or electric charge spots at suppliers like Edmunds, it is just easier to go ahead and get them out of the way.


3. Consider less popular destinations


You might not be able to change where your family lives, but if your travel plans involve a vacation not dependent on visiting them, picking a destination that isn’t quite as well known can save you money and even improve your experience. A slightly smaller but similar area near your first choice will not only give you a better idea of the local culture for than the big touristy areas, but smaller crowds and less “tourist tax” on price tags can make for a more relaxing experience.


4. Mind your gifts


If the main focus of your trip does involve visiting family, you’ll want to consider how best to get any gifts you’re giving to your destination. If they’re small enough, you want to bring them in a carry-on bag rather than check them: losing a checked bag is even more likely than usual with the huge holiday traffic airports experience, and replacing gifts at the last minute can be tough. Be mindful if your gift includes food items, however, as many bottles and jars are forbidden. You also probably want to leave them unwrapped, as a suspicious security officer may have to open a gift himself to check it, undoing your labors.


If you don’t think your gifts will travel well, consider shipping them ahead of you to avoid the problem altogether.


5. Travel insurance


If your plans include a lot of non-refundable purchases and other expenses you won’t be able to get back if something falls through, travel insurance might be a worthwhile expense to consider earlier rather than later. Depending on your policy, you can be covered against all sorts of trip-impacting events, such delayed flights, injuries at your destination, or a last-minute sickness requiring you to cancel the trip altogether. What’s covered can vary widely, so if you decide to opt for travel insurance be sure to consider the policy protections you want carefully.


6. Make reservations


Whether it’s special attractions or fancy restaurants, call your most anticipated stops at your travel destination as early as you can to place reservations. You never know just how busy they’ll be whenever you arrive, and a reservation can prevent a fun vacation itinerary from being sent wildly off track.