Whether you are heading home to see friends and family or taking a much-needed vacation, traveling during the holidays often takes the joy right out of the season.
From weather delays and canceled flights at the airport to bumper-to-bumper traffic on the road, the stress may cause you to make a beeline for the spiked eggnog the minute you arrive at your destination.
And let's not forget the money you have to spend to get from point A to point B during the holiday season — holiday travel deals are almost impossible to find unless you are willing to spend hours upon hours doing comparison shopping between airlines, hotels, and car rental companies.
If all of this nerve-wracking travel talk has you thinking about canceling your plans, stay with us for just a few minutes. We've put together 19 travel hacks that will help you keep the stress to a minimum so you don't have to miss out on the holiday fun this year.
1. Travel On The Day Of The Holiday
If you're traveling to celebrate Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Eve with friends or family, you can often score a better deal on the holiday itself instead of the days prior — and the airport, train station, or highway may be a little less congested as well.
2. Download Your Airline's App
American Airlines AppAA.com
Get the latest information about your flight right at your fingertips. Most airlines have their own app for the iPhone or Android mobile devices, so why not carry a little peace of mind in your hand? Some apps allow you to check in right from your phone and most will give you instant updates on delays and — dare we say it? — cancellations.
3. Get A Flu Shot
Get a flu shotPixabay
Unless you're totally against vaccinations, getting a flu shot two weeks before you travel is a good idea. Who wants to get sick on the holidays and, moreover, is there anything worse than sitting next to a person who is feverish and coughing during a four-hour flight? Don't be that person. Go get a flu shot.
4. BYOE — Bring Your Own Entertainment
The stress could have you thinking "BYOB," but most airlines don't allow you to bring a giant flask on board (but you can buy booze on most flights if a cup of airline water isn't cutting it). Alcohol aside, it's important to bring something to keep you occupied if you are taking to the friendly skies during the holidays. Download some movies, games, music, or a book on your tablet or smartphone — don't forget your headphones to drown out the noise on board.
5. Bring A Hoodie, Even If You're Not Going To Wear It
Even if you're traveling someplace warm for the holidays, bring a hooded sweatshirt. Check out the graphic above for easy instructions on how to make a pillow out of a hoodie. It will come in handy for a long flight or if you get stuck in the airport due to a cancellation or layover.