5 Holiday Travel Hacks for a Jolly Journey

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The holidays are a magical time of the year! But they also tend to bring out the worst in people when it comes to traveling...the airports and roads are crowded, people are in a rush to get where they are going, and everyone is somehow annoyed with the bulkiness of their winter coat. 

These things can lead to pretty stressful travel experiences, especially if you have to take to the skies to get where you are going. Here are a few holiday travel tips to keep you jolly all season long. Remember, a little planning and organization can go a long way for a better present.


Hack #1: Sort Out Your Gifts Ahead of Time

If you are flying somewhere for the holidays, it is important to remember to plan ahead a little bit when it comes to gift giving. 

Will you have room to bring all of the gifts you have purchased with you in your luggage? Is there anything that you are not allowed to bring through security that may inhibit your travel? Think about these things a least a week before you plan to leave. 

For example, I purchased quite a few gifts for friends and family back home, some of which are liquid, and with just a carry-on bag, not allowed on the plane. I took the time to pack up a little box of some of the things that can't travel with me and send it off to my destination (my parent's house) ahead of time so that it arrives safely, and so do I!


Hack #2: Make Lists...Starting NOW

I know, I know...you saw that one coming with me, didn't you?! You know I am a huge advocate and lover of lists but don't underestimate their power! We can ALL think of a time when we thought of something we needed to pack or do but didn't write it down and completely forget. 

Don't let this happen. Start your lists now to avoid the trouble. Start a list of what you would like to pack to have on your trip. Make a list of things that need to be done before you leave (like mailing those gifts as mentioned above!). Make a list of things you need to purchase for gifts or ingredients for goodies you plan to make. If you don't know where to start, check out my Holiday Travel Packing Checklist to begin with the essentials!

Believe me, you will be happy to have it all written down and it allows you to clear your head and truly enjoy each moment without worrying about what you could have forgotten. 


Hack #3: Give Yourself Plenty of Time

The WORST feeling in the world is running late for something out of your control, like a flight or other travel plan. Avoid those pressures and the other unhealthy characteristics that rear their ugly heads when you are frustrated and give yourself plenty of time. 

Even for domestic flights, I like to arrive to the airport at least 2 hours prior to my boarding time. This is particularly important around the holidays when security lines get extra long (and somehow extra slow!). 

Make traveling a fun experience by not being rushed and allowing yourself to enjoy and be grateful for each little step in the process of getting there. Don't just rush through the travel to get to your destination, enjoy the journey as well! 


Hack #4: Make The Journey Extra Jolly

As mentioned in the previous hack, traveling should be a fun part of your holiday season! It shouldn't feel like a chore or like something you are dreading. After all, this is supposed to be vacation time for you and your family...so make it one!

Bring your favorite book of all time to read on the plane, treat yourself to a warm drink in the airport, enjoy a nice cocktail on the plane that you wouldn't normally splurge for, dress extra cozy in your favorite scarf and fuzzy socks for the flight. Make if your own personal paradise in the sky (or in the car!) and enjoy the cozy vibes of the season along the way. 


Hack #5: Set Some Healthy Boundaries

This hack isn't necessarily about travel, but it is essential to making your trip a happy and festive time full of cheer and enjoyment with others.

The holidays for most of us are surrounded by friends and family...but this can sometimes seem like more work than fun. We all have our triggers, our annoyances, our old uncles who are more than just a little bit racist, and much more that can set us on the path to an uptight holiday.

I suggest taking some time to really think about and set some personal healthy boundaries for yourself. What kind of schedule would you like to keep while you are away? Are there any habits or routines that you want to be sure to keep up? When is your cue to walk away from an irritating situation? 

Taking the time to really settle these ideas helps give you the strong personal foundation that you need in order to take the good, the bad, and the ugly all with a smile. 

Here are an example of some of my boundaries for this year:

  • Continue to drink at least 2 bottles of water each day (the first right away in the morning)
  • Meditate at least 10 minutes every day (ideally in the morning)
  • Give myself time for some movement each morning (walking, running, yoga, etc.)
  • Bring good vegan snack options to every gathering to avoid being hangry
  • Walk away from political conversations that make me uncomfortable (rather than arguing)
  • Allow myself to take 3 deep breaths every time I begin to feel frustrated.

I feel MUCH better going in to the holidays with these boundaries in my back pocket. They are those essential supports that make everything else go much smoother.


Remember, the holidays are the happiest time of the year! You can make even the holiday travel a fun and stress-free experience if you take a little time to organize and get your head on straight before embarking on your journey...and a very enjoyable trip. 

Try out these 5 hacks and let me know how they are working for you in the comments below! Don't forget to check out my Holiday Travel Packing Checklist to make sure you don't forget anything essential. I'd love to hear what tips you use to make your holiday travel go smoothly, too!

Sending sparkles and cheer,