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Article: The Ultimate Guide to Stress Free Holiday Travel

The Ultimate Guide to Stress Free Holiday Travel - NOTIQ

The Ultimate Guide to Stress Free Holiday Travel

Explore Ten Practical Tips for Seamless Packing and Planning During the Busiest Time of the Year

Asian family smiling in the snow during the holidays.

The holiday season is a time for joy, celebration, and connecting with loved ones. Whether you're jetting off to visit family or exploring a festive destination, smart packing and planning can significantly enhance your travel experience. In this guide, we present ten practical tips to help make your holiday travel stress-free and enjoyable.

Keep reading to learn 10 expert tips on stress-free holiday travel:

1. ‘Tis the Season to Plan Ahead

When it comes to holiday travel, early planning is your best friend. Start by researching your destination's weather, local events, and any holiday-specific activities. Booking accommodations and transportation in advance not only saves you money but also guarantees a smoother travel experience.


It's also always a good idea to carry along a travel-sized planner or wallet to keep small paper items, like money or tickets, organized at all times. Make going through airport security a breeze with a zipped wristlet, like these from NOTIQ, for quick access during busy lines.


Bonus Tip: Book your tickets as soon as possible. The closer you are to the travel date, the more expensive the ticket prices. Consider traveling during the middle of the week to avoid peak crowds and save on airfare.

2. Secure Your Home

The last thing you want to have to worry about while enjoying your holiday getaway is whether or not your home is safe. For peace of mind, take the time to make arrangements for the security of your home while you are away. Lock all doors and windows, set alarms if available, and ask a trustworthy neighbor or friend to collect mail and keep an eye on your property.  


Bonus Tip: Refrain from announcing your trip on social media until after you return. Broadcasting your absence can make your home a target for break-ins. 

3. Pack Smart and Light

While it may be tempting to bring your entire wardrobe, using a packing strategy is key. Check the weather at your destination and pack versatile clothing that can be mixed and matched. Be mindful of your scheduled activities (i.e. don't bring a swimsuit if you aren't swimming.) Opt for wrinkle-resistant fabrics and consider the versatility of each item to maximize outfit options while minimizing suitcase space.


Bonus Tip: Don't forget to save a spot in your luggage to bring home any souvenirs or gifts from your travels. The last thing you want to do when returning home from a pleasant holiday trip is to pay overweight baggage fees.

4. Roll Don't Fold

Optimize your packing space by rolling your clothes instead of folding them. This technique minimizes wrinkles and allows for more efficient use of your suitcase. Plus, it makes it easier to locate specific items without disrupting your entire suitcase.


Bonus Tip: Use packing cubes and vacuum-sealed bags for added organization in your luggage.

5. Keep All Your Essentials On Hand

With the added stress of potential flight delays and missing luggage, it's always a good idea to keep all of your essentials on hand. Keep your can't-live-without items, like medications, travel documents, and a change of clothes, on you at all times. This way, even if your checked luggage is delayed, you'll have the necessities to get through the first day or two of your trip.


Bonus Tip: Do research on how to pack a well-stocked suitcase. There are even a myriad of videos online that show you techniques for fitting an entire week of clothing into one small carry-on bag.

6. Arrive Early and Prepared

Give yourself extra time to account for potential delays or unforeseen circumstances. Whether it's traffic, long security lines, or a bustling airport, having a buffer in your schedule reduces stress and provides the flexibility to handle unexpected challenges. Plan to arrive at the airport well in advance of your flight, especially during peak travel times. 

When available, take advantage of airport lounges. They often offer a quieter environment, complimentary refreshments, and more comfortable seating for a more enjoyable travel experience.

Bonus Tip: Take advantage of online check-in services to minimize time spent in line at the airport. This allows you to go straight to security if you have no checked baggage.

7. Be Ready for Airport Security

Get through busy TSA lines quickly by preparing your outfit and belongings ahead of time. Wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, and avoid excessive jewelry or accessories that might trigger additional screening. Have your ID and boarding pass ready in your hand, and follow security protocols to speed up the screening process.


Bonus Tip: Enroll in programs like TSA PreCheck or Global Entry for expedited security screening. These programs can save you time and provide a more seamless experience.

8. Leverage Travel Technology 

Take advantage of travel technology and free airline apps to streamline your journey. From flight status updates to digital boarding passes, technology can be a game-changer during the holiday rush. Download relevant apps in advance to stay informed and organized on the go.


Bonus Tip: Some airlines have incentives for using their apps. Check to see if yours has any promotions happening during the holidays for an even more rewarding travel experience.

9. Get to Know Your Airline's Policies 

Being informed of the ins and outs of your airline's policies could save you from a massive headache down the road. Familiarize yourself with their baggage fees, carry-on restrictions, and any specific holiday-related rules. Know your rights in case of delays or cancellations and have a backup plan in the event your itinerary changes. 


Bonus Tip: Call and ask ahead for any special accommodations before arriving to the airport to save yourself time. If there is something you are unsure about, don't delay, bring your concerns to the check-in or customer service desk as soon as possible.  

10. Save Time With Your Own Snacks

If you are worried about boarding on time or a short layover, be sure to bring your own snacks and refreshments to avoid waiting in long lines at the airport. Having your own snacks also ensures you have something to eat even if you don't have much time in between flights. 

Bonus Tip: Always stay hydrated while traveling, and take care to avoid eating anything that could upset your stomach during a rocky flight. These could include spicy foods, greasy or fried foods, gas-inducing foods, and dairy. Opt instead for light and nutritious meals that help to power you throughout the day.

And Lastly… Remember to be Kind and Patient!

Like you, there are many people who are also traveling during the holidays, and delays are not uncommon. Do your best to be patient and treat airport staff and fellow travelers with kindness. Being understanding with a positive outlook on situations will help you survive and thrive during the holiday rush.

Holiday travel is a time for creating cherished memories, not navigating unnecessary stress. By approaching your trip with a thoughtful packing strategy and efficient planning, you can ensure a smoother and more enjoyable journey. Embrace the spirit of the season and focus on the joy of being with loved ones, knowing that your travel preparations are well-organized and stress-free. Safe travels, and happy holidays!

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