Being home for the holidays is so important to us as we look forward to spending time with our family and friends; but getting there is beyond stressful. Here are a few tips to make this holiday season more joyful.
Plan in advance, not only to ensure better flight times and prices, but to also ensure you can get tickets for the activities you want to do while at your destination. Nothing is worse than planning that long anticipated trip only to find out the play you wanted to see is sold out. Pick up the phone and call all your frequent flyer affiliates to check their benefits like flights, hotels, car rental, event tickets and airport lounges.
Check out different websites for flights and do not pooh-pooh flying into a smaller airport that is nearby. In addition, you will probably get better pricing if you fly on non-peak days. When booking, be very conscious of the airports and connecting time. It is unrealistic to think you can make a 30-minute connection in JFK; though in Charleston it’s not a problem. Also, take into consideration delays and weather. I always try to get connections in cities I know or have friends in just in case my flight gets cancelled while connecting. To avoid any of this, a nonstop flight would be key.
The night before you leave, in addition to having your bags packed (try to pack as light as possible), make sure you have earplugs, a sleep mask and a blanket. Gas up your car and charge your electronic devices. Don’t wrap presents as you run the risk of having them unwrapped at the airport. Have all your traveling documents together, print your boarding passes and have snacks tucked away in your carry-on.
The morning of your travels, wake up early to avoid rushing. That is when doors are left unlocked, curling irons on and a coat left on the kitchen chair because you are running late and frantic. Trust me, I know first hand! Get to the airport much earlier than you normally would as parking, ticketing and security will without question be backed up.
And last, but probably one of the most important tips to make your holiday season bright, is to take things in stride. Don’t get upset if the plane is delayed or you get the middle seat or you spent the entire flight listening to a baby cry. Take it all in stride. During times like those, take a deep breath, meditate, get out your book or throw in your earplugs. Remind yourself how grateful you are to be going home or to be able to spend the holidays with friends or traveling to a new place. This is a time of joy so don’t let anyone or anything steal it from you.
Have a blessed holiday season and safe travels.
Debbie Martinez is a Miami Dade resident and Travel Editor for The Florida Villager. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.