Traveling during Thanksgiving can be full of hang-ups, cancellations, and people losing patience in the wake of surprise. Idioms like “Expect the unexpected,” “Plan for the worst, hope for the best,” and “Take a chill pill” quickly lose their value when confronted by overnight delays, snowstorms, and an entire city shut down. Here are 5 tips for preparing for travel hang-ups during the holiday season.
1. Pack Light
This rule is always good to follow, especially during the hectic holiday season. There is no need to lug a giant suitcase around on crowded buses, trains and navigating busy streets. If holiday presents are a concern, mail whatever you have ahead of time so they will already be at your destination. For those worried about repeating their outfit on a trip, mixing and matching pieces is the best way to create an illusion of fresh attire. Instead of trying to take everything with you, play a game and see how little you can bring. You know you’ve won the game when everything fits into a small backpack, allowing you to travel with ease.
2. Leave Early
Experienced travelers know that waiting until the last minute to leave for the airport generally works. During the holidays however, waiting too late can result in irritable behavior as check in and security lines wrap around the airport… twice. In a pinch, paying for curbside check-in can help quicken the process but there’s nothing worse then running up to the gate just as the plane leaves. Head to the airport a few hours before your flight and if you end up with time to kill then spend it relaxing and watching other people running to catch their flights.
3. Check Facebook During Delays
Stuck in the Denver, Chicago or Seattle’s Snowmagedon? Chances are, someone you know is too. By posting your situation or checking others’ through social media you may find a friend to share a hotel room, a beer and a pizza with.
4. Keep the Necessities Close
Rather then think it’s unfortunate that your luggage is lost you need to think that it’s a miracle if your luggage arrives when you do. Keep a toothbrush, medications, cell phone charger, important items, and your warm jacket with you. You just never know when you will have an airport slumber party and if you do, you want to at least have nice breath.
5. Be Brave and Be Bold
Traveling is all about having new adventures and experiences. While going home for the holidays feels less adventurous then heading to South East Asia, it still provides the chance to enjoy the journey and escape the everyday.
If confronted with a roadblock to home, such as Seattle’s bus service being shutdown by a snowstorm, it’s a call to adventure. Snowpocalypse 2010 nearly obstructed my Holiday trip; rather then give up I hit the streets in an effort to get from Ballard to the downtown light rail before midnight.
An encounter with a rogue Seattle bus driver, a Pomeranian named “Chocolate” and an entire cast of characters, I had a crazy seven hour journey to the airport before my actual trip even began. Think about your trip home as if you were Clark Griswold and confront every challenge and obstacle with ingenuity, patience, and lots of laughter. No matter how crazy the journey home is during the holidays, the craziest part always happens once you get there.