There are many different holidays throughout the year when friends and family travel to gather together and spend time with one another. However, a large majority of that holiday travel comes at the end of the year when people travel for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, New Year’s Eve, and more.
In fact, the end of the year is such a busy time for traveling that over 110 million people travel between December 23rd and January 1st. On top of that, over 50 million people travel each year for Thanksgiving. While it’s nice that there are so many people who want to spend time with their loved ones, it can lead to some major problems if you are also traveling. In this article, we’ll share 5 essential holiday travel tips.
Things To Keep In Mind When Traveling During the Holidays
- Drive if You Can – Many people prefer flying to driving due to its speed, ease, and the fact that you don’t have to worry about paying attention since someone else is in control. While flying as a passenger is easy, dealing with airports isn’t always quite as painless. The popularity of flying means that thousands of other people will also be doing it, which can lead to major headaches. If you can, skip the airports altogether and drive to your destination. This also gives you the flexibility of having your own transportation while there and being able to leave whenever you want.
- Book Your Trip Early – Whether you are planning to drive or fly to your destination, it’s crucial that you book your trip as early as possible. This will ensure that you secure a plane ticket and also save money before ticket prices rise closer to your departure date. If you are driving for over a day, you’ll also want to ensure you have your hotels booked since there will be millions of other drivers on the road at the same time. Booking early will give you peace of mind and help avoid having to scramble at the last minute.
- Use Your Perks – Traveling during the holidays can’t only be physically and mentally exhausting, but it can also be draining on your bank account. Whether you fly or drive, traveling is expensive, especially if you do so for multiple holidays at the end of the year. In order to save some of your hard-earned cash, be sure to use your perks to your advantage when traveling. This could be booking your flights with points, using free night rewards at hotels, upgrading your plane seats, avoiding airport crowds by relaxing in an airport lounge, or beating the security lines by signing up for TSA PreCheck ahead of time.
- Read the Rules and Policies Carefully – Whether you are booking flights or hotel reservations, make sure you read the rules and policies carefully. Cancellation policies are especially important to pay attention to so you know what your options are in case something changes. It’s also a good idea to closely examine baggage rules and limits for airlines if you are flying, as they have recently been cracking down on the number and size of bags that passengers are traveling with. For many airlines, even wearing a fanny pack will be counted as an additional carry-on if you can’t find a way to fit it in one of your other bags.
- Take Safety Precautions – While many parts of the world have essentially returned to normal, COVID-19 is still a threat, and so are other illnesses. With so many people traveling during the holidays, you’ll want to make sure to take the necessary safety precautions to ensure that you stay safe and healthy. This means making sure you are up-to-date on all your vaccinations, washing your hands often, attempting to stay socially distanced, and wearing a mask if you want to.
On top of health precautions, you should also prioritize your overall safety. Keep loved ones up to date by texting or calling them during your travels. Try to avoid any situations where you are alone, especially late at night. If you require any specific medication, make sure you have enough for your whole trip so you don’t run out, and consider bringing extra in case there are unexpected changes in plans or timing. Finally, make a plan for what to do in case an emergency does arise while traveling.
At Thompson-Markward Hall (TMH), we’re a nonprofit organization with a mission to promote the academic and professional success of young women. TMH is nestled in the heart of DC on Capitol Hill, just steps away from the Senate office building. We offer safe, affordable, and convenient housing for women who are working, attending school, or interning in our nation’s capital. Visit our website to learn more about our accommodations or fill out an application today so you can start enjoying all of the benefits of co-living in DC!