By Cynthia Ewer
Will you visit family or take a Christmas holiday?
Between tight security, cramped airports and busy highways, holiday-season travel can be a big source of Christmas stress.
Whether you're flying or driving, being prepared means you'll be better able to roll with the inevitable punches.
Try these tips to keep the “happy” in holiday travel:
Be An Early Bird
Make travel plans early. Particularly during the busy Christmas season, early birds have more choice of transportation options, and usually pay a better price than the holdouts.
Can you be flexible about seasonal travel plans? During a holiday period, the best day to fly may be on the holiday itself, when traffic is light. Busiest days are generally the day before Thanksgiving, the Sunday before Christmas, and Christmas Eve.
Bad weather, oversold flights or highway closures can all wreak havoc on carefully-laid travel plans. Fight back by staying informed of travel conditions. Check online travel sites or install smartphone apps to alert you to changes in travel arrangements. The earlier you know about travel issues, the easier it will be to find alternatives.
The distractions of the season can get in the way of efficient packing. To stay focused, create a packing checklist for each family member, noting all items of clothing and personal care needed for travel.
Try this free printable packing checklist from OrganizedHome.Com, or create your own list on blank lined paper. Bonus: store the lists in empty suitcases for quick reference for the next trip.
Traveling With Gifts
Airline security checkpoints are no place to try to re-wrap a Christmas gift. If you must fly with presents, wait until your destination to wrap them, or place gifts in easy-to-inspect gift bags. Better: ship gifts ahead of time, or arrange for direct delivery to your final destination.