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17 Savvy Holiday Travel Tips You Don’t Already Know

17 Savvy Holiday Travel Tips You Don’t Already Know

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Are you traveling this holiday season and feeling overwhelmed? Keep scrolling for the top holiday travel tips that will cut the stress!
This list of holiday travel tips was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

The holidays are fast approaching, and if you’re not the one hosting your holiday celebration, it means it’s time to hit the road!

The holidays are one of my favorite times of the whole year! I love being able to see family who live far away and come together in celebration.

However, traveling can be a bit tricky around the holidays.

To avoid the chaos of holiday travel, here are some of our best holiday travel tips that you may not already know. These are serious game changers that can really transform your whole travel experience.

Hitting the road? Check out these game-changing holiday travel tips by Marcie in Mommyland.

Best Holiday Travel Tips for Families

1. Use apps to make your travel easier

At the very least, make sure you download your flight’s app. This can help you with everything from flight schedules to booking help, should you need it.

Don’t rely on your data or airport WiFi to be reliable enough to get these downloaded at the last minute. Other notable apps you should download include hotel apps, rideshare apps, and YELP.

2. Beach destinations are less crowded

During the colder months, beach destinations tend to be less crowded and a little bit more accessible to the general public.

One of the holiday travel tips you should take note is going to beach destinations because they have fewer crowds.
Check out a beach for winter break!

Take advantage of this and plan your holidays at the beach with your loved ones! This can be a great way for everyone to get away, avoid the holiday crowds, and enjoy some fun in the sun.

3. Pack Your Essentials

The holiday travel season can be pretty hectic, and there’s a chance you might forget to pack something. Create a list of things to bring and pack your essentials accordingly.

Holiday travel tips always include how to pack and what packing mistakes to avoid.
Packing smartly can save you a lot of stress when traveling with kids.

Consider how many days you’ll be out for your holiday trip and what type of clothing you need to bring.

Organize everything that you need to bring by dividing it into which items you can store in a suitcase and which items you can place in a carry-on bag.

Read more about fantastic packing hacks to avoid these packing mistakes when traveling on your next trip.

4. Ship your gifts

Nothing is easier than showing up at your destination with all the gifts already in one piece.

If you’re flying, this could mean extra checked bags and panic wrapping when you arrive. If you’re driving, this could mean that you have to be extra careful with those fragile gifts and be extra careful about tearing gift wraps.

It’s so much easier to buy gifts in person or ship your gifts ahead of your destination.

5. Pack your pumpkin pie

Did you know that many food items are safe to travel and can even pass through the TSA? This is a game-changer for holidays!

Want some unique holiday travel tips? How about packing your favorite pumpkin pie with you?
Decide whether or not to pack your holiday potluck items.

If you’re worried you won’t have time to prepare your favorite holiday recipe when you get there, check to see if it’s TSA-approved and bring it with you on the plane.

For car rides, you can use travel containers or a cooler to bring your favorite dishes to your loved ones.

6. Avoid connections

Nonstop flights are your best bet when it comes to holiday travel. Having to stop from place to place increases the chances of delays, lost luggage, and problems until you reach your final destination.

Unless you have no other option, see if you can get flights that avoid connections or have fewer connections as much as possible.

7. Consider holiday travel packages

Whether you’re looking at Costco or other places for travel packages, take advantage of these for holiday travel.

Money-saving holiday travel tips include travel packages for the entire family.
There are lots of Christmas travel packages.

You may be able to score big discounts on these packages because many people skip right over them! This can also include entertainment for your whole group and a place to stay.

8. Have a backup plan

No matter how far or where you are going for the holidays, it’s best to devise a backup plan just in case things don’t go how you expect them to.

Whether it’s your hotel stay or your travel dates, be flexible and come up with a few backup plans in case things don’t go the way you planned. This way, if something goes wrong, you are ready with plans B and C.

9. Choose destinations where rental cars are not needed

Rental cars are expensive during the holiday season because everyone needs a way to get to their in-laws or around town during the holidays.

Take note of transportation holiday travel tips because it can save you a lot of money.
NYC is a great place to visit without renting a car.

Instead of relying on a rental car, see if you can choose a place where you don’t need rental cars. Rideshare services or destinations where you can walk from place to place will save you a lot of money!

10. There are Black Friday and Cyber Monday travel deals

Many people don’t know that there are deals to be had on holiday travel.

While everyone else is shopping for TVs and hot ticket items in the store, see what you can find on flights! You may be able to find great prices on flights for the following year or other future travel deals for yourself on another trip.

Whether it’s flights or cruises, you will be shocked at how many travel locations are hosting a whole bunch of great deals!

11. Clear your cache when booking flights

When researching flights, clear your cache to ensure you are getting a fair price. Many airlines and hotels track your activity and can raise the flight prices when you return to the website later.

They hope you will book immediately when you see the prices go up because you are afraid of missing out on a good deal.

12. Avoid airline counters whenever possible

Checking in your flights could be such a hassle because of the long queue. Others often opt to arrive early at the airport to be served first.

Fortunately, there are so many ways to ensure you don’t need to speak with a live person to get on your flight or print your tickets. The more kiosks and counters you can avoid, the less likely you’ll have to stand in line waiting.

Holiday travel tips always include being smart with airport lines, like checking in ahead and avoiding long queues at the airport.
You can check your flight information from your laptop or cell phone.

You can check in for your flights online and print off your tickets at home. You can even check your bags curbside.

You may not be able to do this for every flight, but it’s still worth it if you can do it for even one way on your trip.

13. Book your accommodations and travel early

You may be thinking that the longer you wait, the better deal you will get. However, the reality is that this doesn’t work with holiday travel.

Instead of getting a better deal, you’ll end up stuck with whatever flight you can find and whatever hotels aren’t already booked up, especially nearing Christmas day.

Book these ahead of time so you won’t have to worry about them, and you’ll be all set for travel.

14. Don’t forget about rewards

If you have rewards cards such as flights, hotels, or upgrades, use this as your time to use them!

Save money with these holiday travel tips using your credit card and rewards that come with it.
Make sure to keep track of your airline miles and travel points.

Most rewards from loyalty programs have an expiration date, and holiday travel is the best time to use them, so you don’t lose them!

You can also use credit card cash-back rewards and other perks to ensure you get the best value for your money when you travel.

15. Don’t eat your budget

Going out to eat can be very expensive when you travel. This is a poor way to eat away your budget, literally.

Instead, try to go to places that locals enjoy and save some money while you’re dining out.

While you may be planning on having a turkey dinner with your family on Thanksgiving, this won’t help when you need lunch the day before.

Plan on budgeting some money for food, but don’t eat yourself out of your whole trip.

16. Take public transit

If you’re going to a big city or a place where public transportation is normally used, such as Chicago or New York City, learn how to utilize it! You will save huge money on your travel expenses and be able to travel like a local.

One of the best holiday travel tips is using public transit because it saves you a huge amount of money.
Public transportation can save you time and money.

Ride-sharing services in these places tend to be very expensive, so going with public transit can save you a lot of money.

17. Keep Your Health in Check

Nobody wants to get sick when traveling for the holiday season. It’s important to stay healthy during the holidays while traveling.

You want to make sure that you’re 100% healthy on your holiday adventure by eating healthy foods before your flight. I love to drink tea before my next flight because it keeps me warm and healthy.

Don't forget to add pampering and self-care in your list of holiday travel tips.
Take some time to relax in a cozy corner to destress while traveling.

I also pack plenty of disinfecting wipes with me so I can clean off surfaces on the plane and in the hotel to ensure everything is clean, especially for my kids. A hand sanitizer also comes in handy.

Lastly, I know traveling can be a stressful experience, especially for moms out there.

One of the holiday travel tips I can give you is to give yourself time to relax in escape lounges, use meditation apps to stay sane during the busiest days of your travel and pamper yourself a little.

Read more: Self-Care Tips for Moms After Family Travel with Kids

Best Travel Tips for the Holiday Season FAQs

How far in advance should I plan holiday travel?

Give yourself quite a bit of extra time to travel during the holidays. As holiday travel is always more difficult, you’ll want to take your time and not put yourself or your loved ones at risk.

If you’re trying to book a flight, you need to book as soon as possible to ensure that you’ll actually be able to get a flight. While some last-minute flights might still be available, it can be incredibly stressful waiting up until then without a plan! 

Should I buy holiday travel insurance?

It’s never a bad idea to buy travel insurance for your trip. If you are booking your trip months in advance, you never know what is going to change that will change your travel needs. Having insurance is a simple way to rest easily and ensure that your holiday travel won’t be derailed. (or at least if it does get derailed, you’ll get reimbursed for the money that you’ve spent.) 

When it comes to travel safety tips for the holidays, travel insurance is always a good idea. 

What are the cheapest days to fly?

When it comes to holiday travel, flights tend to be cheaper for bookings on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. This isn’t guaranteed, but it seems to be true for holiday travel in 2022. Costs and trends naturally vary, so be sure to keep an eye on your own dates.

If you can book a flight during the week, you’ll more than likely get a cheaper flight for your holiday travels. Don’t forget to compare prices, and have flexible travel times as well. This will open your travel window a bit more and give you the best possible pricing for all your travel needs.

Holiday Travel Tips Wrap-Up

End-of-year holiday travel is busy and one of the most expensive times to travel.

If you are planning to spend the holidays out of town with friends and family this year, make sure that you use these travel tips to help you avoid the hassle and start traveling like a pro! This will make visiting any destination more enjoyable and reduce the stress of holiday travel.

Looking for more holiday content? Check out some magical Christmas destinations, how to get cheap flights around Christmas, fun winter break activities, Christmas bucket list for families, best winter destinations in the US, and how to pack for winter travel!

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