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Fa la la long lines!  Whether you are visiting loved ones or setting off on an end-of-the-year adventure, traveling over the holidays can be a fun way to celebrate and bond with your family.  The holidays are one of the busiest travel seasons, but the bustling crowds don’t have to turn you into the Grinch, especially with these holiday travel tips. With some advanced planning and a positive attitude, you can take on any curveball that comes your way.

Make sure you read about how you can support local makers this holiday season.

3 Genius Holiday Travel Tips To Keep You Sane

The holidays are one of the busiest travel seasons, but the bustling crowds don’t have to turn you into the Grinch with these holiday travel tips.

Planning Ahead

Check out travel apps – The era of travel agencies is behind us.  Nowadays, a quick download of a travel app can save you loads of time and money when it comes to booking flights, hotels, and everything in between!

Bring an extra bag – For receiving gifts, pack an empty duffel bag to carry your bounty home. Try to get by with only bringing a carry-on on the way there, so you only need to check one bag of presents on your way home!

Wear your heavy clothing – Whether you’re hitting the slopes or visiting relatives in the Windy City, you might have some clunky cold weather clothes to pack.  To save room in your suitcase by wearing your heavy sweaters and overcoats to the airport.

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How to Handle Gifts

Send ahead of time – Packing gifts is cumbersome and takes up valuable space in your suitcase.  Avoid checking extra bags by shipping gifts ahead of time.  That way, you will skip the hassle and your presents will be there when you arrive!

Wrap when you get there – If you do plan on traveling with your gifts, pack or purchase wrapping when you arrive.  Your luggage will travel much easier through security screening, and you won’t run the risk of squashing any bags or bows.  

Leaving the House

Check in online – Most airlines now let you check in ahead of time on their website.  Checking in online not only saves you time when you get to the airport, but in a world of last-minute cancellations, it can secure your seat!  Pro-tip: set an alarm on your smartphone to remind you when check-in begins.

Leave earlier than you think you need to – This one may seem obvious, but it’s easy to run late for early morning flights or with last-minute packing.  So leave early!  So early that it feels silly.  During the season of jam-packed lobbies and long lines, it’s best to play it safe and arrive with ample time.  Even if you end up spending a lot of time waiting in the airport, you’ll be through security and can unwind on the other side!

Charge your devices before you leave – With lots of downtime and layovers, the outlets in airports are sure to be hot commodities!  Before you leave your house, make sure your devices are fully charged.  You’ll want to communicate with friends and family members for pick-ups and drop-offs.  

3 Genius Holiday Travel Tips To Keep You Sane

At the Airport

Bring snacks – A no-brainer!  The holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year for airports.  Long lines and unexpected layovers can make for a lot of downtime and cranky little ones.  Avoid “hangriness” and expensive airport food by packing snacks at ahead of time at home!

Hand sanitizer is your friend – The holiday season often coincides with flu season, so wash your hands – and wash them often!  To avoid long lines in crowded bathrooms, pick up a bottle of hand sanitizer for your carry-on.

Maintain a positive attitude – Traveling is tiring!  It’s easy to get worked up running around the airport and corralling small children.  Take a deep breath, be nice to your seat neighbors, and know that it will all work out in the end!

Enjoy these holiday travel tips! Happy holidays and safe travels!

Jane Jozefowicz
Jane Jozefowicz
Jane Jozefowicz is a rising sophomore at the University of Chicago, where she studies Linguistics and Computer Science. Jane plays trombone and lacrosse and is the biggest animal lover you'll meet!