As the end-of-year festivities approach, a staggering 47% of Britons are gearing up for holiday travel in 2022, despite the financial pinch and soaring travel costs. Eager to reunite with distant loved ones, people are preparing to hit the road and skies, undeterred by the challenges that come with the bustling holiday season.
To ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey, here are 10 expert tips that will transform your holiday travel experience, from strategic destination choices to savvy packing hacks.
1. Choose Your Destination Wisely
Tired of the clichéd holiday hotspots? Opt for less-explored destinations to escape the chaos and revel in tranquility. Steer clear of the crowd-magnets like Saint-Barthélemy and embrace the allure of offbeat locations. Moreover, consider indulging in vacation packages, especially during the holidays, as they often come bundled with irresistible deals covering travel, accommodation, car rentals, and sometimes even meals.
2. Outsmart the Crowds with Your Travel Plans
- Travel on Unpopular Days: Dodge the holiday rush by planning your travel on less popular days. By avoiding the Tuesday and Wednesday before Thanksgiving or the Sunday following, you not only save on expenses but also sidestep the dense crowds.
- Choose Alternate Airports: Opt for smaller, less crowded airports to ease your journey. Smaller airports may offer not only a smoother experience but also cost-effective travel options and parking.
- Travel Early or Late: Beat the holiday exodus by traveling on Christmas Day or New Year’s Eve. If that’s not feasible, opt for early morning or late-night travel to escape the rush.
- Consider Bus Travel: In a sea of airport chaos, bus stations can be a haven of tranquility. Consider taking the bus to your holiday destination, enjoying a peaceful journey with fewer delays and crowds.
- Give Yourself Buffer Days: Unforeseen delays are inevitable during the holiday season. Allocate buffer days between your planned arrival and the event to avoid stress and ensure you reach your destination on time.
3. Arrive Early and Stress-Free
- Traveling by Bus: If opting for bus travel, arriving early is key to avoiding stress and securing your preferred seat. Familiarize yourself with pick-up locations mentioned in your confirmation email and account details.
- Traveling by Plane: For air travel, arriving early not only minimizes waiting time but also allows you to breeze through security. Check in online to streamline the process and, if possible, avoid the hassle of waiting in line for bag tags.
4. Make Backup Plans
Prepare for the unexpected by crafting backup plans for every aspect of your journey. From travel itineraries to accommodations and activities, having multiple plans ensures you can adapt to any situation, keeping your holiday plans intact.
5. Pack Smart & Ship Your Gifts
- Dealing with Gifts: Travel light to avoid complications at customs. Ship gifts directly using services like Amazon’s gift-wrapping to ensure they await your arrival, eliminating the need for heavy suitcases or fragile gifts during transit.
- Light Packers Prevail: Travel with compact carry-on-sized bags to minimize delays and keep your belongings within sight.
6. Charge Devices and Download Ahead of Time
Prepare for entertainment on the go by downloading movies, TV shows, podcasts, or audiobooks in advance. Ensure your devices are fully charged, and carry a portable charger to stay powered up throughout your journey.
7. Be Prepared for Anything!
- BYOS (Bring Your Own Snacks) + BYOW (Water): Pack non-perishable snacks and ample water to avoid hunger pangs during long journeys. Be prepared for limited food options at rest stops, especially if you have specific dietary preferences.
- Embrace Mum Essentials: Channel your inner mum by packing essentials like hand sanitizer, tissues, pain relievers, mints, and immune boosters to stay healthy and comfortable during your travels.
8. Keep Calm and Smile
Approach your holiday trip with a zen mindset, anticipating potential challenges and crowds. Consider incorporating meditation apps or simple breathing exercises to stay relaxed and composed throughout the journey.
9. Remember, It’s the Holidays
- Check Opening Hours: Verify opening hours for tourist attractions and restaurants during the holidays, as they may differ from regular schedules.
- Reserve in Advance: If planning to dine out, especially during the holidays, make reservations well in advance to avoid disappointments due to crowded venues.
- Plan for Transportation: Account for potential changes in public transport schedules or longer taxi wait times, especially during festive celebrations. If driving, prioritize sobriety to ensure a safe journey.
10. Prepare for Peace of Mind
- Secure Your Home: If leaving your residence unattended, enlist friends or family to check in, switch on lights, and water plants. Alternatively, consider renting out your place to earn extra income while you’re away.
Embarking on holiday travels can be a joyous adventure with these insider tips. By strategically navigating the holiday hustle, you’ll not only arrive at your destination stress-free but also be ready to fully immerse yourself in the festive celebrations with loved ones. Happy travels!