How To Simplify Your Holiday Travels
Heading somewhere for the holidays? So is almost everyone I know. Traveling while the airports are packed, ticket prices are high, and weather conditions are risky can be a success or a very memorable failure. But for every reason you should avoid traveling during the holidays, there are plenty of reasons it’s worth it. Prepare for these 10 roadblocks while traveling this winter with a few tips the pros have picked up along the way.
Always use price comparison apps to book your reservations. To start, switch your browser to private or incognito mode. This way flight, hotel and rental car websites don’t hike up their prices after they see you’ve been looking. There are plenty of reservation sites to choose from. I prefer Skiplagged, Priceline and Google Flights: Priceline for hotels and rental cars, then I bounce between Skiplagged and Google Flights to compare airlines. It’s a good idea to check your airline’s baggage fee policy too so you can account for those costs as well. If you plan to drive, find the cheapest gas along your route using GasBuddy. No more scouting for the lowest number from the highway. If you’re a consistent road trip taker I recommend looking into a gas card.
Believe it or not, people actually pack for a trip without checking the weather. Don’t be that guy or gal. Aside from preparing for the right climate, there are a few other things to keep in mind while packing. First, layers are key. Especially during plane rides. Going from the hot terminal, to the hot plane that suddenly gets freezing when you take off, back into the terminal, and etc. Wearing layers will ease the discomfort. Don’t pack anything you’ve never worn, or that you know wrinkles easily. I try to stick to one or two color schemes so that majority of my clothes match. You’ll find getting dressed a lot easier when most of your tops can be worn with most of your bottoms, especially on the last day of your trip. Another space saving tip for the ladies is to stock up on makeup and other product samples to bring on trips. Yes you’ll save space, but more importantly weight. Plus after the trip you’ll have even more space going home!
If you can’t afford to lose it, emotionally or financially, leave it behind. And lastly, separate the most important stuff between two bags. Don’t keep all your money in one place, and store an extra outfit in your carry on in case your checked luggage gets lost.
If you don’t have a hotspot, draining your data is easy to do while traveling. Use the WiFi Map app to reserve your gigs by connected to free wifi when it’s available. Other ways to save your data can be downloading podcasts, audiobooks and music before the trip. The purple podcast app build into every iPhone is fully loaded with all sorts of podcasts and music mixtapes. For downloading music, I use ListenToYouTube. It converts YouTube videos into MP3 files and drops them directly into my iTunes library.
Be sure to pack a sleep kit for the journey to and from. I suggest using an inflatable pillow and either a small wool blanket or down comforter. They are both lightweight but keep you warm. For anyone driving, check out the SitOrSquat restroom finder to locate clean bathrooms along your route.
Wake up early so each day is a full one, and make the most of your complimentary breakfasts. I can't explain why, but hotels offer a fancier complimentary breakfast close to the holidays. Maybe the cooking spirit continues in hospitality but be sure to at least check out what your hotel offers. Regardless of the season, free breakfast is worth scouting.
When traveling I always keep a journal. This may sound too sentimental for some, but even just a list of everything you did that day would suffice. Sometimes looking back, several years later, it’s hard to remember the details. Just a line or two in your own words can help jog the memory. Eat at small, family-owned restaurants to understand the local lifestyle and culture. Anyone big into fancy restaurants should try eating at the nicest spots during lunch, the lunch menus tend to be cheaper. Whenever I go on a trip I always check out the city-specific Groupon page where I’m at. A few weeks ago I went to Tennessee and used the Things To Do In Nashville page. I didn’t buy a single meal that wasn’t at least 50 percent off.
Have a list of steps you have established as your check out routine. This will prevent you from leaving anything behind, and is a great trick to show anyone who may be traveling with you. Be sure to stop at a grocery store on the way to the airport. Gas stations and airport stands are always a rip off.
Always check in on your airline’s app before arriving to the airport. Even if you’re checking bags, it will speed up the process.
Traveling during the holidays doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Especially with a solid plan, backup plan and a list of fool-proof tips from seasoned travelers.
This post is written by Veronica Baas, a recent Colorado State University graduate living in Scottsdale, AZ pursuing more advanced coding skills. She has spent her life traveling as a pilot's daughter an lived in the UK as part of a study abroad program. For more of Veronica head to her personal blog.