Say No to Travel Stress: How to Keep Your Cool on the Busiest Air Travel Days This Winter

Tips for Stress-Free Winter Holiday Air Travel

While the holidays provide a great opportunity to spend quality time with loved ones, they can also be stressful -- especially when it comes to air travel.  The holiday season includes some of the busiest air travel days of the year, where expensive fares, crowds and flight delays are par for the course.

But, holiday travel doesn’t always have to be calamitous or stressful. Being prepared and expecting the unexpected go a long way to help keep you calm, collected and looking forward to reconnecting with family and friends. Here are some tips to not only help you be ready for your trip, but also maintain your cool on the busiest air travel days of the year.

Tips for Stress Free Winter Holiday Air Travel

Use Apps to Track Your Flight

By now you probably know the advantages of checking in online before heading to the airport: you won’t have to get there as early; you can pick your seat in advance; and you can skip the long lines since you can print your boarding pass at home or grab it at one of the self-serve kiosks in the airport. But, tracking your flight on your airline’s app, or a third party website, is also recommended. Getting updates on your flight status can save you long and unnecessary wait times at the airport due to delays or cancellations.

Did you know: Your flight isn’t the only thing you can check into online. You can check-into your car rental reservation online as well.

check into your car rental online or by phone Stock Image courtesy of

Travel with Just a Carry-On

Packing only a carry-on means that you’ll not only travel lighter, but also save money, since checked baggage fees for domestic flights add up quickly. Traveling with only a carry on also means that you’ll never have to worry about your bag making it on the connecting flight, since it’s with you all the time and not in the luggage hold.  Hoping to get bumped to an earlier flight, or change your routing due to delays or cancellations?  Airline staff is more apt to make these adjustments if you don’t have any checked bags; it’s an easier fix administratively.

Don’t wait for transportation while traveling. Rent a car.

Weigh Your Luggage Beforehand

There’s nothing worse than getting to the check-in counter and finding out your bags are overweight.  Overweight baggage can incur a “hefty” fee (pun intended); furthermore, if your bags exceed the maximum weight, some airlines won’t accept them at all! Avoid surprises by weighing your luggage at home before you head to the airport.

Mail Gifts in Advance

Even though your “presence” is more meaningful than your “presents” during the holidays, ‘tis the season to give and receive gifts!  However, expensive checked baggage fees and strict TSA regulations with regards to what you can and can’t bring on flights can make transporting gifts a royal pain. Think about mailing them to loved ones beforehand or, even better, having the vendor ship them directly to the intended recipient.

Mailing not an option? Pack them but don’t wrap them; the TSA may need to open them up during inspection. Pack or purchase gift bags to put your presents in when you arrive at your destination.

Mail your holiday gifts while traveling this winter Stock Image – Courtesy of

Travel During Off-Peak Times

Holidays are typically the most expensive time of the year to travel and with good reason: demand goes way up! While booking travel way in advance can help you snag cheaper fares, avoiding the busiest travel days altogether will also ensure you get a great deal. Most people travel one or two days before a holiday, but traveling the day of might yield some deep discounts.

Get Car & Air Travel Insurance

Despite all of your efforts, sometimes travel mishaps can’t be avoided. Your bag may get lost, your flight might get canceled due to a snowstorm, or heavy traffic on the way to the airport may mean you miss your flight. While these are all unfortunate situations, getting travel insurance that covers these contingencies will alleviate some of your stress!

Conclusion: Travel Hacks to Reduce Stress

While traveling on the busiest days of the year can be harrowing, incorporating some or all of the tips above can help you manage your stress levels. After all, the holidays are all about spending quality time with loved ones and creating happy moments you’ll remember for years to come.

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