The holidays are coming up, and that means family, food, presents, and travel. Lots of travel. If your family is spread throughout the country, then you may be doing a lot of travel for the holidays, which could be enjoyable or could be difficult. Here are a few tips to help you survive holiday travel with as few headaches as possible.

Car Travel

  • Make sure you have your car packed with the essentials before hitting the road. A trash container, hand sanitizer and wet wipes, snacks and drinks are all essential to make the road trip enjoyable, as well as games and books for the kids to keep them occupied.
  • It is also important to be equipped with an emergency kit, especially since you will be traveling during the winter. Your emergency kit should contain flashlights, candles, non-perishable snacks, water, blankets, and warm clothes such as gloves and socks.
  • Be flexible. Since you are traveling in the winter, you may need to delay or push ahead your departure time depending on snow storms. Check the weather both at your destination and everywhere along the route so you are prepared for what El Nino has in store.
  • Make sure your car is properly maintained. Check the tire pressure, oil level, and all of the fluids in your car to make sure they are ready to make the long trip.
  • Keep anything of value in your trunk or covered storage area where it is out of sight.
  • If you are traveling with pets, make sure you have everything they will need for the trip, as well as in an emergency, such as food, toys, water, leash, collar with tags, and possibly booties to keep their feet warm in case you get stuck in snow.
  • Some apps to help you out on the road are GasBuddy to find the cheapest gas and SitOrSquat to find the cleanest bathrooms.

Airplane Travel

  • Buy your tickets well enough in advance that they don’t cost an arm and a leg. Do some research into the best time to purchase airline tickets to avoid spending too much.
  • Do some research into carry-on sizes and weights for your specific airline and make sure you stay within those guidelines to avoid charges or having to check more bags.
  • Ship your gifts to your location, or give gift cards. Flying with gifts can be expensive due to checking more luggage or can be a hassle if security has to open already wrapped gifts.
  • Download the latest travel apps to stay up to date on what’s happening and keep everything you need in one place. Some good apps are Flight Status and GateGuru.
  • Pack light. If you can’t avoid checking a bag, make sure all of your important documents, medications, and must haves are in your carry on in case your luggage gets lost.
  • Take a pair of earplugs onto the plane with you, especially if you want to drown out that crying baby or talkative seat companion.
  • Plan for the unexpected. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to pack a book or tablet in your carryon to occupy your time if you get stuck due to weather.
  • Plan for heavy traffic and long security lines. It’s better to get to the airport extra early and be sitting at the gate wasting time than to be rushing through security trying to get to your gate in time so you don’t miss your flight. Plan ahead and be early.

Travel can be great or can be a headache during the holidays. Make sure it is a memory to remember for your family.