The holidays are officially upon us! With so much planning and stress to come, you need your trips to be organized so that you can focus your time where it’s really needed. We’ve compiled Tips for the Holiday Traveler to help you do just that!
When you’re planning your trip, the “how” of travel matters greatly. Are you taking a plane, train, or car? When flying, you’ll want to be sure you have read up on baggage fees for your airline and that your travel documentation is valid. If you’re flying domestic, that may just mean having a valid driver’s license or ID card. If you plan to go international, whether it be by plane, train OR car, be sure to have your passport ready! For train rides, check the train route. Many trains will make stops along the way to your destination. Knowing these ahead of time will be helpful for planning your ride and when to refuel.
Since holidays are busy travel times, create a travel itinerary and plan to arrive early! Airports recommend arriving two hours prior to departure for domestic flights and three hours early for international flights. During the holiday season, plan an extra hour on top of that. This will help you get through lines on time, find your gate, and get where you’re going comfortably. Amtrak recommends arriving at least 30 minutes before departure, but we recommend closer to 1 hour or more during the holidays. Account for more time if you have larger items that may need to be stored in a special train car! For those of you traveling by car, make sure to have at least one alternate route planned in case of unexpected delays and account for pit stops. Make sure you have a fully charged phone and have a portable or car charger on-hand in case of emergency.
picking your bags
Before you can even start packing, consider how long you’ll be gone and whether or not you’re bringing anything extra back with you. If you expect to return with the exact same items, take the smallest bag possible. This will help you save space (and cost if you expect baggage fees). If your trip includes gift exchanges or you plan to bring home trinkets, consider a larger bag. One of our favorite travel hacks is storing a weekender bag or backpack into our suitcase. By reserving the suitcase for your personal items, you can keep the gifts and trinkets safe with you in the carry-on. Be aware of all travel laws surrounding luggage items while packing gift items and repacking for your trip home.
If you’re traveling with family, consider consolidating luggage. For example, couples could share one suitcase instead of taking two. If you are traveling with children, consider have one big suitcase for them or individual backpacks that can be taken on the plane or train. There may not be restrictions when you travel in your own car, but think of it this way: Less luggage means less you have to carry, re-pack, and unpack later.
At least one week before your trip, create two packing lists. One list will be all the items you can pack right away. The second list will be the items you pack on the day of. That second list is more like a checklist of any last-minute items. When making your lists, be sure to only account for what you absolutely need. We recommend checking the weather for your destination before you start packing. Lay out all your outfits down to the skivvies, then pack them in. This will help you keep track and know that you have everything covered. Keep in mind that weather could change. So, if you plan clothes for sunny weather, it doesn’t hurt to throw in a light jacket and pair of long pants just in case. Going somewhere cold? Pack a few extra pairs of socks. Try to avoid over packing.
To maximize your space, try these packing techniques. First and foremost, shoes go at the bottom. You can use empty glasses cases to store smaller items in your shoes. Flat sandals can fit on the sides of the suitcase. The next layer should be your clothes. Try rolling each piece or you can roll the outfits together. Wrap your belt around a few rolled articles of clothing. Then, you can use a flat Tupperware container to store undergarments or socks for flat storage.
Since most airlines are swamped for the holidays, consider storing an extra set of clothes in your personal item or carry-on if you are checking a bigger bag. In the unfortunate event of delayed luggage, you’ll have a back-up until you receive the luggage. Also, consider your specific needs when planning for the day of travel. If you plan to sleep, buy your neck pillow beforehand to ensure you have one you love and avoid high airport costs. If you’re driving or riding in a car, pack your trusted Sevenfold Pillow instead. Do you listen to music and watch movies while you travel? Be sure to put headphones on your day-of list and maybe even pack a spare pair.
More to Consider
Okay, so you’ve planned how you’re traveling, you picked your bag(s), and you’re fully packed. What else should you do to prepare? No matter how you’re traveling, it’s a good idea to have all the details on hand. Make sure you have phone numbers for any hotels or Airbnb hosts, car rentals, or any other service being used during travel or upon arrival. Back-up plans are encouraged in case of delays, cancellations, etc. Try to come up with ways to keep yourself and family calm and entertained in case of long travel times or potentially chaotic environments. For car rides, plan car games or create a fun playlist to keep you engaged the whole trip. When creating a playlist, make sure it is downloaded onto your phone instead of being reliant on service or Wi-Fi. We also recommend packing snacks to save money along the way.
Consider shoes that are easy to slip on and off for plan rides. However you travel, your comfort is important so dress according. If you have somewhere to be or a special event to do immediately upon arrival, consider an outfit that can be easily converted. Let’s say you want to wear nice slacks or jeans and a button-up shirt for this event, store those items at the top of your suitcase so that you can change with speed and ease. You want to wear leggings? Pack a chunky sweater or a swing dress to slip on when you arrive. You can easily mask travel-hair with a stylish fedora, floppy hat, or stylish headband. Pack travel-sized dry shampoo, mouthwash, and deodorant to help you freshen up upon arrival, as well.
Whether you are traveling near or far, we wish you safe travels and happy holidays! Keep your eyes open for more tips, tricks, and specials coming soon.