How to minimize the hassles of holiday travel

In just 3 short months we’ll be entering the holiday season and that means time for gift exchanges, family gatherings and holiday travel to visit those relatives we only see once a year. If your holiday plans include family traveling, you may be wondering how you’ll survive visiting the in-laws. Even keeping the peace during the long travel to your destination can be trying to anyone’s patience.

Keep these things in mind to leave behind the hassle of holiday travel with the family this year.

Plan, Plan, Plan for your Holiday Travel

Nothing beats having a well-thought-out plan, communicating it to everyone and sticking to it. When traveling with kids, elderly, your spouse or especially teenagers, there are a number of hurdles to overcome. From tantrums to boredom complaints, having a plan for every scenario will make your holiday trip easier.

Leave Lots of Extra Time

Depart from home far earlier in the day than you would at any other time of year. It doesn’t matter if you’re starting a road trip or heading to an airport or bus or railway station. Wouldn’t you rather not be panicked if you run into traffic congestion or long security lines? Hire an airport car service and relax, read or listen to music while you travel to your plane or train.  A professional car service knows the traffic and travel security situation, plans the best time to leave and has contingency plans for delays.

It’s Not Your Father’s Airport

Airports are no longer just a travel hub. Many airports are full-functional malls, with terrific art, shops, restaurants and even spas and yoga rooms. Arriving hours before a flight is a lot more pleasant when you know you can browse, savor a glass of wine, exercise or get a massage. Plan on having a meal, browse the stores and get some treats for the little ones.  This will make the airport a destination to look forward to, rather than an interruption of the trip.

Avoid Airline Ticket Counters

There is no need to wait in ticket counter lines any longer.  Print out boarding passes at home, pull them up on your smartphone or get them at an airport kiosk. If you have an e-ticket, carry a printout of your itinerary. And if you’re checking bags, use the skycaps at curbside (remember to tip them generously).

Pack Light for Air Travel

Unless you have a direct flight, each person should only pack a carry-on bag.  If there are items that you must have, such as holiday gifts, ship them in advance.  You can also shop online and have them delivered to your destination. Pack lightly, even if it means leaving an outfit or two at home. The sacrifice will save you time on both ends of the trip.  Additionally, if your flight is canceled, not having any checked luggage will simplify being assigned seats on another flight.

Bring Provisions

Plan for if your flight is delayed or you’re stuck in traffic. Take snacks, games, books, magazines, portable music or DVD players and other diversions to pass the time. If you are traveling with young kids, plan on having a different activity for every 30 minutes of the trip. If they have a comfort blanket, pillow or stuffed animal, make sure to bring it (even have an extra, in case one gets lost).  Always pack to keep it where it is easily accessible, such as an outside pocket of the carry-on bag.

Turn Your Phone Into a Travel Tool

Sign up with your airline to receive flight status updates on your phone.  If driving, upload your smartphone with mobile travel alert apps from state highway authorities. Car services, such as Drivers Unlimited will send email updates for where to meet your car upon arrival.  Before leaving home, make sure your phone is fully charged.  Check that it holds all the numbers you could possibly need, including family, friends, hotel, airline, rental car agency and credit card companies.  Make sure to bring chargers, and adapters if traveling outside the US. If you are going to have a full day of travel, you may want to bring extra batteries, or portable chargers, especially if traveling with tweens or teenagers.

Think Twice About Holiday Gifts

As we mentioned above, wherever possible, ship presents in advance or shop online and have them delivered to your destination. If you do take gifts along, don’t wrap them beforehand: Even if they’re in checked luggage, security personnel may need to open them for inspection.

Arrange Transportation at Your Destination

Many people reserve a car to take them to the airport, but may ask their host to pick them up.  While everyone may be agreeable to it when the trip is originally scheduled, the day of pickup can be very hectic.  If you are not planning on renting a car, schedule a car service to pick you up from the airport or train station.  This can prevent adding stress to your host while preparing the holiday meals.  Drivers Unlimited can easily arrange transportation at your destination airport, just ask when reserving your car for traveling to and from your home and the airport.

If you have family flying in to visit your home on the holidays, arrange a car service to pick them up from the airport. This first step can set the tone for an enjoyable and relaxing visit.

Last Minute No-No’s When Planning your Holiday Travel

While some last minute plans are hard to avoid, it’s best to book all necessary reservations far in advance. In addition to ensuring you don’t miss an important detail, you can shop around and find the best solution. If you’ve ever waited to book travel and accommodations for the holidays last minute then you know what a nightmare that can easily become.

Planning a trip with your family this holiday season? Get everyone where you need to be safely and in comfort. Contact Drivers Unlimited, a car service serving Connecticut and Westchester County. We offer safe, reliable airport transportation to take the hassle out of holiday travel.

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