The holiday season, from about mid-November to early January, is the busiest time for travel, and undoubtedly the most stressful. Everyone is trying to get home and see loved ones for whatever bit of time they can sneak away, and high traffic, bad weather, and snarky attitudes combine for travel difficulties. There are a few ways that you can help yourself out and make for smooth travels! All it takes is a bit thought and pre-planning, and you will be far better off- this is learned from years of travel…
1. Confirm Your Ticket Two Weeks Before
Whether you are on a plane, train, or bus, ensure that your ticket is still booked and good to go for your trip. Log in or call the company to make sure that there is a spot for you and that everything is as it should be. If for some reason it isn’t, you may end up having to pay to fix something but it’s better to do that a few weeks before you leave rather than a few hours or even when you are at the airport- you can always put in a claim to get your money back after you are home again. Yes, weather or some other act out of your hands may throw a wrench into your plans anyhow (see: WestJet should be called WorstJet), but providing that doesn’t happen, an extra few minutes checking can save you hours of grief!
2. Ensure You Have What You Need
Need a cocktail outfit for a party or a night at the ballet? Presents for family? Toiletries for travel? These are all things that can end up being far more expensive (and stressful) if you have to find or buy those last minute. I always start grabbing make up wipes, travel sized bottles, and make up that I need in early December so that I’m not running around two days before leaving trying to make sure that I have whatever it is. Keep a list in your phone (or whatever you use for notes on the go), and check to make that you have the item when you are home next. Two weeks before I leave on a big trip I start throwing things that I need in my suitcase so that I don’t forget it; a week before I do a solid round-up to buy anything still left. Save yourself grief and get organised early!
3. Pack Smart
I’ve done in-depth posts on packing (see here and here), but ensure that you are organised when you pack- keep a list of what you have in case something gets lost (including size, colour, and store), and keep anything that you absolutely need with you. I tend to mail presents ahead of time to make sure that things arrive on time, and it’s much easier to track it when you have an actual tracking number from a mailer, rather than somebody from an airline hopefully finding your lost luggage.
4. Charge Your Electronics
I think that we can all agree that some airports and stations are better than others when it comes to places to charge your electronics. However, being that person sitting on the floor, using a random plug meant for cleaning equipment and sitting in everybody’s way is the surest way to earn bad travel karma. Charge everything before you leave the house, and try to avoid sitting on your phone in the car before you even get to the airport. I have a powerbank that can charge my phone five times or my tablet three times, a fantastic $30 investment that has made my travel infinitely easier. Also, once you have charged your electronics in an airport, vacate the plug- someone else can certainly use it, you don’t need to hoard it. And finally, keep something on you to entertain yourself that doesn’t require power- a book, magazine, or even a notebook for writing and doodling can go a long way!
What is your number one travel tip?