The Holidays are Here: How to Make the Most of Your Holiday Travels

The holiday season is upon us, which means it’s time to start planning travel to visit family and friends. Or maybe you’re looking to get away on a tropical vacation to escape the cold weather. No matter your holiday travel plans, advance preparation is key to having a smooth and enjoyable trip.

In this blog post, we’ll provide 25 tips to help make your holiday travels as stress-free as possible. From packing strategies to airport navigation to road trip entertainment ideas, we’ve got you covered with practical advice for all aspects of holiday travel.

Planning Tips

  1. Book flights early. Prices tend to skyrocket the closer you get to your travel dates as availability decreases. Booking as far in advance as possible – we’re talking 6-8 weeks if you can swing it – will help you secure the best fares before they sell out. Sign up for fare alerts so you’ll be notified if prices drop after booking.
  1. Be flexible with dates if you can. If your schedule allows even a little room, look at flying on off-peak days like Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, or New Years Eve. Airports are much less crowded on these days compared to the days before, meaning you can save big on airfare and avoid massive holiday crowds.
  1. Ship gifts and bulky items ahead. Avoid excessive baggage fees and ensure your loved ones receive their gifts on time by shipping them at least 2 weeks in advance via USPS, UPS or FedEx. Bonus: You won’t have to lug heavy gifts through the airport!
  1. Consider road trips for shorter distances. While driving may take longer, it gives you more flexibility and control to avoid busy airports. Make sure to plan for weather delays by leaving early and bringing supplies. The drive will be part of the holiday memories!
  1. Get trip insurance. Protect your travel investment against unexpected cancellations, delays or interruptions. (Remember the huge headache last Christmas during the Southwest database shutdown?) Opt for policies that provide coverage for winter storm disruptions, flight cancellations, and lost baggage. Give yourself peace of mind  knowing your trip is covered.

Packing Tips

  1. Start packing at least one week in advance. Gathering everything you need for your trip takes time. Making a packing list ensures you don’t forget any essentials.
  1. Strategically pack light. Stick to essentials only and utilize carry-on luggage instead of checking bags to speed through airports. 
  1. Pack a few surprise new items like a new book, travel journal, small lego set, or portable board game to give your kids something “new” to look forward to on the trip.
  1. Roll clothes vs. folding them. Rolling clothes maximizes space in your suitcase and prevents wrinkles.
  1. Use packing cubes/folders to organize. Separate your clothes, shoes, toiletries, etc. with packing cubes or folders so you can easily find what you need.
  1. Wear your bulkiest items while traveling. Save space in your luggage by wearing your boots, coat, etc. while in transit.
  1. Pack outfits, not just individual items. Coordinating full outfits saves time when getting dressed each day.
  1. Use dryer sheets in luggage. Dryer sheets keep clothes fresh and deter pests from getting into your bags.
  1. Pack prescription meds and OTC remedies. Bring plenty of essential medications, supplements, pain relievers, antacids, etc.
  1. Use ziplock bags. Resealable bags are great for organizing toiletries, keeping dirty laundry contained, and storing snacks.

Airport Tips

  1. Sign-up for TSA PreCheck or Global Entry. These programs allow expedited security screening when traveling domestically or internationally.
  1. Allow extra time throughout your trip. From airport security lines to traffic jams, delays around the holidays are inevitable. Build in some buffer room in your schedule to accommodate for travel headaches. Missing a flight is no way to kick off the holidays.
  1. Charge devices and bring portable chargers in case of delays. Don’t forget to download movies, shows, and games on tablets or phones in advance for entertainment during travel days.
  1. Bring your own empty water bottle to fill up post-security. Stay hydrated!
  1. Use airport maps and signage to easily navigate new terminals. Ask for help if lost.

Road Trip Tips

  1. Pack a picnic with non-perishable snacks, sandwiches, fruits and veggies.
  1. Create a road trip playlist or audio books to make the drive more fun.
  1. Schedule regular stops to use the restroom, stretch your legs and grab food. If you have little ones, may consider finding a park for them to burn off energy for a bit, having a sit down meal at restaurants with play places or attractions.
  1. Bring trash bags and cleaning wipes to keep the car tidy.
  1. Play car games like I Spy, License Plate Game or 20 Questions or the alphabet game to find signs starting with letters A-Z.

Whether you’re looking to plan a last-minute holiday vacation this year, or you’re ready to start planning for 2024, Fantasyworks Travel is ready to help you get started. Click below to answer a few questions and we’ll be in touch.

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