Going Home for the Holidays? These 5 Thanksgiving Travel Tips Will Save Your Sanity

As a gal who travels during the holidays every year, I’ve learned a few things about reaching my destination without dropping tons of cash on airport snacks and struggling with overweight suitcases. So, whether you’re flying/driving solo or with the hubby and little ones in tow, here are five tips to get you through the trip –pain free! We can’t, however, guarantee that your Aunt Mildred won’t mispronounce your name (again) and criticize your cooking skills. Good luck, ladies!

  1. Charge everything: iPods, cellphones, the kids’ Nintendo DS: make sure anything and everything electronic is at full battery power! While you might be perfectly content to flip through your favorite mag instead of listening to tunes, the kids might not appreciate their DS blacking out just as they’re about to save Princess Peach. Oh, and you should also pick up a few coloring books and short educational zines while you’re at in –better safe than sorry!
  2. Carry snacks: Sitting in traffic or on a flight for two hours is a recipe for hungry kids. If you want to save yourself from stopping every five seconds for gas station/airport snacks, a Ziploc bag or two filled with dried fruit and nuts should put an end to their hunger pangs. Don’t forget to carry along one of their favorite snacks: whether it be gummy bears or popcorn, dole out their favorite treats in small portions. It will prevent endless whining!
  3. If you’re flying, ship gifts: If you’re uncomfortable going home empty-handed, but don’t want to spend tons of cash (at least $25 per bag!) on checking extra luggage, put that old box in the basement to good use and get to the post office ASAP! Carrying along an additional suitcase or two can cost you double or triple what it would to simply ship the items -and who really wants to spend and carry more during the mad holiday rush?!
  4. Pack light: Don’t lug those 4-inch heels around if you know they’ll only be on your feet for an hour…at most! Make sure your key pieces are versatile and can be worn twice –neutral sweaters and pants can be paired with bright blouses. And if you’re crashing with family, it’ll be easier to borrow a bit of shampoo and a hair dryer than checking a bag of your own. The same goes for the kiddos. You know you’ll be bringing home several hand knit oven mitts and birthday gifts from way back when (and a few whole bunch of Black Friday finds), so leave some extra space in your suitcase.
  5. Comfort is key: This isn’t the time to dress your kids up in their best jeans and Maryjanes. Sneakers and sweats are the way to go when on the road/in the air. If you’re driving home, don’t forget to pack pillows and a blanket long enough to stretch across the backseat of your car. Who knows? The little ones might just sleep through the ride, giving you some much-needed peace and quiet!

And remember: make the most of your holiday. Have fun, eat more turkey than you ever thought you could, and start booking that Christmas/Hanukkah flight!

-Diana Denza

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