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Holiday Travel Hacks

Travel Tips - Holiday Travel Hacks Blog

Holiday time means travel. For a lot of people, particularly families, the holidays may be the only time of year they travel, so let’s just say they aren’t exactly experts at getting from point A to B. (With half the things they have to pack, who can blame them?) I have put together some travel hacks that will hopefully ensure a smooth, end of the year holiday travel experience.

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Get Through Security Lines Quickly.

There is no greater buzzkill than waiting in line and in airports it’s inevitable! Since I got Global Entry two years ago my life has changed! Signing up for Global Entry automatically gave me TSA Pre Check rights and I rarely see a line anymore! If you don’t travel internationally, simply applying for TSA Pre Check status will do the trick.

When you are trying to get through security with kids and all of their essentials, the last thing you want to do is (a) wait in a long line and (b) strip down to your underwear to walk through the detector!

Of course, this is something you will have to remember to do BEFORE the next holiday season (sorry!).

Another solution is a CLEAR card. In airports that carry the CLEAR lane (there are currently 13 and growing) you can skip the security line and go straight to screening. If you have a bad taste in your mouth from when the original company went under (I know I did!) the new CLEAR has impressed me. There is also a family pack (for a spouse, etc.) and you can also buy CLEAR for others which makes a great holiday gift.

Travel on the Actual Holiday.

If your ultimate destination isn’t too far from the airport you are flying into, then flying on the actual holiday (Christmas, New Year’s, etc) is the way to go. The airport is practically empty – and the plane too!

Sanitize, sanitize, sanitize.

The holidays take place during flu and cold season, so confined spaces like airplanes and trains are little incubators for germs. If you have time, get a flu shot. After that, bring sanitizing wipes to wipe down the seat and tray. One of my favorites is the Lavender Hand Sanitizer Wipes from EO Products.

Do Not Forget the Snacks.

There is NO way I travel anywhere without snacks. The vast majority of the time I have either nut mixes from Sahale Snacks; edamame, hard cheeses, low carb protein bars or peanut butter something. Don’t forget to plan for the trip back! You may not have access to good, healthy snacks where you are headed, so pack some for the return flight.  Don’t get me wrong there are some (few) airlines with decent snacks, but who hasn’t been on a flight where there was turbulence or something where the flight attendants couldn’t serve food/drinks, it has happened to me and the last thing you want is hangry children (or a husband).

Do Not Wrap Your Presents.

Whether you are checking your bag or carrying them on, do not wrap your gifts! TSA will open your suitcase and will unwrap your presents to investigate the contents and they aren’t going to re-wrap them for you (or open them gently). In addition, wrapped presents can’t go through security (even though they can see the contents with the X-ray machine, which is a total bummer!) so bring the wrapping paper and tape (no scissors in your carry -on) and wrap them when you get to your destination.

Send Your Presents Ahead of Time.

This requires some advanced planning, but not having to make space for the presents in your suitcase makes things a whole lot easier. Same goes for sending presents back home.

Don’t forget the dryer sheets.

I’ve written about this before. Slip a scented dryer sheet into each one of your bags. During your trip as you unzip each bag you get a nice clean scent, nothing smells stale. Then as your dirty clothes bag fills up, insert the dryer sheets so that the dirty clothes don’t smell up your suitcase – it’s great!

How about you? Do you have any travel hacks to add?

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37 Comments

  1. I think traveling on the actual holiday is really smart. The roads and airports are clear on those days so travel is a piece of cake.

  2. Great travel tips. My sister travels so much, she is a pro at it. Me, not so much, I need all of the tips I can get.

  3. Those are excellent travel tips! I love bring sanitizing wipes along too.
    I use to travel a lot, but the whole process of getting anywhere was really starting to take the fun out of traveling for me.

  4. These are helpful tips. I would actually like to take one last trip before the holidays. I’ll have to keep these hacks in mind.

  5. These are all great tips. Pre kiddos my husband and I always traveled over the holidays – to someplace warm. But now that we have kids, we tend to stay put. Thanks for all the great tips

  6. These are wonderful tips. I have not traveled for a while, but this may come in handy when I start traveling again.

  7. These are great tips for holiday travel! I am actually flying this year and I’m a little bit nervous about the crowds!!

  8. I choose to stay at home during the holiday season to avoid any travel stress 🙁 plus the hotel and ticket prices are getting more expensive

  9. These are great tips for traveling through the holiday season. I am always worried about germs when using public transportation. I will have to remember your tips!

  10. We’re lucky that we don’t have to go far for Christmas. These are great tips for people who have family far away and have to travel.

  11. My mom just came home from visiting my brother and she never had snacks on her! I was so mad at her for not keeping up with eating, she knows better next time.

  12. I’m with you on Global Entry/TSA Pre-Check – total lifesaver, best investment ever. I forgot about the dryer sheets. I need to bring that one back. I also carry a lot of ziplocks because there’s always something that needs one!

  13. Great suggestions (except for the nuts–sorry, with a daughter who is SEVERELY allergic to all tree nuts, the thought of her on a plane next to someone eating nuts scares the life out of me, especially if she’s on a transatlantic flight)!
    The dryer sheets are a new one to me, I’ll have to remember that one!

  14. Next year or the year after I plan to take my family on a trip instead of doing the whole holiday thing at home so I think this is all great to know. Especially for us non-travelers.

  15. Lots of good ideas here. I haven’t used the global entry yet but always think about it when I’m waiting in immigration.

  16. This all sounds like great advice. About the only time we fly anywhere is for a summer vacation so we can avoid the airport during the holidays.

  17. These are all great travel tips. I have heard that traveling on the actual holiday works, but what fun is that? 🙂

  18. I learned the hard way one season that you shouldn’t wrap presents when traveling by air. And, they certainly don’t check the items gently either. I do use the dryer sheet hack – when I’m flying and when I store my suitcase.

  19. These are all great tips for traveling during the holidays. I have never heard of carry on cocktail kits before but that sounds like it would be a great option. Thanks for sharing the tips.

  20. Fantastic ideas. The dryer sheets are certainly an ingenious idea and I’ll be using that this holiday season. Heading to Oahu so after 10 hours of travel and 12 to 15 hours of clothes being stuffed into old suitcases will come out smelling clean.
    Sahale snacks are so good and I never thought about bringing on mini bottles of liquor.

  21. I think my best travel hack is to unpack as soon as you get to your destination and keep the bottom drawer for all your dirty clothes. That way you don’t get things mixed up. By unpacking right away, you will know immediately if you are missing something.

  22. seems like TSA precheck lines are getting longer and longer so I’ve been eyeing clear. haha i’m just so impatient. great tips, andi!