Christmas is meant to be a time to put your feet up and relax, but travelling during the holidays can sometimes make you dread the festive season.
Whether you are driving, taking a train or flying, this time of year is incredibly busy and it can be easy for things to go wrong if you are rushed or do not prepare.
Geoff Whitmore, a travelling journalist and expert, has shared his best tips for stress-free Christmas travelling so you can get to your loved ones as efficiently as possible this festive period.
He wrote: “Traveling during a busy season, such as summer or around winter breaks, can add more pressure.
“If you are travelling this holiday season, there are several tips to keep in mind to help make your journey as smooth as possible.”
Read more: ‘I’m a flight attendant and these are the unbearable things passengers do at Christmas’
Be prepared in advance and arrive early
It is common sense to always leave early to travel no matter the occasion, but during Christmas is it even more essential as airports, train stations, and roads will be extremely busy. Plan your travel well in advance, pack days in advance and have a list of everything you need checked off the morning you are to leave.
Geoff wrote: “Travel is subject to delays, regardless of whether you travel by car, train, or plane. There can be technical issues (like we saw with Southwest Airlines at the beginning of the year), bad weather, or a delay from one part of the country that creates a domino effect.”
Sign up for alerts
Having a travel app for whatever your transportation is will help keep you updated on the latest traffic and weather information. It can help you stay informed about delays at the last possible moment, so be sure to download a road, train, or airport app or sign up for text or email alerts.
Geoff added: “I’ve had the unfortunate experience of being on an international flight and finding out via a text alert that my connecting flight was cancelled. Because I knew this before we landed, I was able to get a jump on moving my flights before it was too late.”
If possible, avoid travelling during the peak dates over Christmas, as not only will it be busier but it will likely be much more expensive, so try to avoid travelling the few days leading up to Christmas if you can. Also try to think outside the box when booking, as going to the biggest airport or train station in your area will likely be much more packed.
Geoff explained: “When booking flights, take some time to check the surrounding airports in your intended destination. Sometimes, you’ll find special deals at smaller airports. It is also worth checking if flying one-way instead of roundtrip is cheaper.
Travel with only carry-on luggage
Take time to consider packing and try to pack lightly if you can. This is not always possible if you are bringing Christmas presents, but if you can have them delivered through post or order online it will make travelling much more convenient, especially for those travelling by plane.
Geoff wrote: “Traveling with only one carry-on bag isn’t possible for everyone, but if you can swing it, you can forgo long check-in lines and head straight to security. You also won’t have to wait around for your bags to arrive.”