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7 Deadly Sins of Traveling During the Holidays

The holidays are one the most stressful and chaotic times to travel. It seems like you’re waiting in line and battling crowds no matter where you go. While we can’t promise you’ll avoid crowds or lines, we can help make your holiday travels less stressful.

Your vacation will be as smooth as possible if you avoid committing these seven deadly sins of traveling during the holidays. Let’s get started!

Why Do People Travel During the Holidays?

Traveling is an excellent way to celebrate the holidays. They are the busiest times for traveling because people want to make memories with their families.

Grade schools and universities take time off, and families book flights, hotels, cruises, and rental cars while crisscrossing the country. Many businesses have reduced hours or flexibility regarding working remotely.

How Do I Prepare for Holiday Travel?

You want to prepare for holiday travel as far in advance as possible. This means planning time off from work and booking flights early so you avoid traveling on the season’s busiest days. The closer you get to the holidays, the more chaotic it will be at airports and on the highways.

In addition, you’ll want to ensure you pack everything. You don’t want to wait until the last minute to pack, as you’ll likely be dealing with holiday parties and other events.

Waiting until the last minute to pack during a chaotic season is an ideal way to forget essential items. You don’t want to hope you have socks and underwear waiting under the Christmas tree, so you don’t have to buy them.

Pro Tip: Have you ever committed any of these 7 Deadly Sins of Interstate Driving? Find out before you head home for the holidays.

Boy leaning out car window while it is snowing.
There may be no place like home for the holidays, but traveling home can be challenging!

7 Deadly Sins of Traveling During the Holidays

Traveling during the holidays can be a bit hectic. However, it doesn’t have to be if you play your cards right. People who travel peacefully during the holidays typically avoid these seven deadly sins. Let’s take a look!

1. Forgetting to Renew Your Passport

If you’re planning to travel internationally, it’s best to ensure you know when your passport expires. It can take months to renew your passport, and you don’t want or need the stress of a time crunch.

Look at your passport now to ensure you will not have any issues. Please don’t assume you know when it expires or that you still have plenty of time to do it. If necessary, make it a priority to renew your passport as soon as possible.

2. Not Monitoring Your Flight for Delays or Cancellations

Flight delays or cancellations can happen with or without notice. It’s a good idea to constantly monitor the status of flights for you or your friends and family, especially if the airport is a considerable distance away. 

You don’t want to drive an hour or two to the airport and discover that the airline delayed or canceled your flight. Knowing your flight status as soon as possible can give you time to switch airlines or flights and still arrive on time.

Man annoyed waiting at airport.
Unfortunately, many factors can cause a flight delay or cancelation. Plan ahead for the worst case scenario just in case!

3. Arriving at the Airport Within an Hour of Your Flight

While you may hate arriving incredibly early at the airport only to wait at the gate, it’s the best thing to do during the holidays. Lines at ticket counters and security checkpoints can be unpredictable. You could wait in line for minutes or a couple of hours. 

You don’t want the line at security to cause you any stress. Traveling is already tense enough, but coming close to missing your flight can be anxiety-inducing. Once the airlines close the door at the gate, you’ll be out of luck and need to book a different flight.

4. Driving During Rush Hour

If you are driving through major cities during your travels, you’ll want to plan your route. Try to avoid driving during the morning and evening commutes, the busiest time on the road. If you travel through the cities early in the morning or late at night before or after rush hour, you can save yourself a tremendous amount of stress.

This may mean planning to stop for the night outside of a city. This way, you can hit the road early in the morning and be through the town before everyone starts heading to work. It’s the best way to avoid the headache of traffic congestion.

5. Over Packing

One deadly sin that many travelers commit is overpacking. This can be very easy to do as you don’t want to risk forgetting anything. Even if you pack only the essentials, you may have some presents you want to bring with you.

Take advantage of online shopping and have any presents sent directly to wherever you’re traveling. Ensure you time it right when ordering them, so they arrive before the holidays. If you’re ordering through Amazon, mark that it is a present at checkout so you can avoid ruining the surprise.

Woman sitting on top of suitcase trying to close it to go home for the holidays
Only pack the essentials when prepping to go home for the holidays.

6. Last Minute Planning

Doing anything last minute is a terrible idea. If you want to make dinner reservations or buy tickets to an event late, there’s a good chance they will sell out. Plan how you’ll spend your time and put it in motion. Buy tickets, make reservations, and communicate the plan to those you’ll spend time with during the holidays.

You want to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding how you’ll spend your time and where you’ll be. You don’t want any last-minute surprises or miscommunications to cause stress during the holidays. It may help to create an online calendar you can share with your loved ones to avoid conflicts.

7. Not Practicing Patience

While the holidays are supposed to be the happiest time of the year, they can also be the most stressful. We tend to be gracious when giving presents to people, but we forget that patience is one of the best presents we can give those around us. 

Be as flexible as possible because things aren’t always going to go according to plan. People handle stress differently, and they don’t always respond how you prefer. Bite your tongue if you have to. Offer grace and patience instead of ruining the rest of the holidays for you and your family.

Pro Tip: Make sure you know these 10 Unwritten Rules for Highway Driving before you start cruising.

Is Traveling During the Holidays Worth It?

Spending time with your loved ones is worth the hassle of traveling during the holidays. Luckily, if you avoid committing these seven deadly sins, you can help ensure you have a smoother holiday season. Offer patience to your loved ones and those you encounter while traveling, especially those who are working. The holidays can be challenging for everyone, but it’s an excellent opportunity to show that there are genuinely lovely people.

Have you or your loved ones committed any of these holiday travel sins? Tell us in the comments!

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