Welcome Back to our New Blog Series: Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s, where our favorite Travel Planning Aficionado shares her wealth of knowledge and experiences about traveling the world! After every trip to a new destination, Jamie gives us her perspective as both a traveler, and a travel advisor, through a quick but comprehensive list of what to do or not do at each vacation location!
Although we are only just at the beginning of the crazy busy Holiday Travel Season, Jamie wanted to share her “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Holiday Travel now, so that anyone going anywhere over the next two months can plan ahead! And after years of traveling during the busiest time of the year, Jamie knows all the best tricks of the trade for surviving Holiday Travel.
So Let’s Get Ready for the Busiest Travel Season of the Year! But First…
Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Holiday Travel
Top Favorites and Jamie’s “Must-Do” Experiences
Plan and Book Early
The Holidays are absolutely the busiest time of the year for travel; whether people are going to visit relatives for family get-togethers, or taking a vacation for a unique holiday celebration, it somehow feels like the majority of people are on the go, not staying home for the holidays. And that means everything from plane tickets to hotel rooms to resort packages to car rentals and even airport transfers become fully booked far in advance. So the earlier you can plan your Holiday Travel, the more likely you’ll get what you want and need, in order to get wherever you’re going.
Plan for Extra Time
With every facet of travel swelling to full capacity throughout the Holidays, it’s always wise to allow yourself extra time. There will be traffic, there will be large crowds, there will be long lines. And, unfortunately, after the last few years of cutbacks and worker shortages, wait times are likely to be higher than ever as everyone, from airline flight attendants to hotel concierges, struggles to handle more work with less help. And all this extra time you should plan for leads right to the next “Must Do”…
Be Flexible and Patient
If there’s one thing you cannot forget to pack when you travel during the Holidays, it’s your patience. Pack patience in your carry-on, in your backpack, and in your pockets, and reach for it and replenish it as much and as often as you need. You will save yourself so much stress and aggravation if you can arm yourself with patience and flexibility. Maybe that looks like taking deep breaths if your flight gets delayed or if you’re sitting in traffic; maybe that means not flying in a seat next to your spouse so that a mother can sit with her younger children; maybe that means gate-checking luggage you planned to carry-on. Whatever happens, an open mind and heart will serve you better than rigid expectations.
Be Aware and Respectful of Traditions and Customs to Where You’re Traveling
If you are traveling somewhere unfamiliar, especially to another country where there may be cultural differences, be sure to familiarize yourself with the expectations of your destination. For example, if you’ll be in another country for Christmas, and would like to attend a church mass, make sure you are aware of, and follow, any rules for attire, or you may not be allowed in. Or if you will be in the UK for Thanksgiving week, don’t expect to find anywhere serving a traditional Turkey dinner! Remember, one of the best parts of traveling is opening your eyes to cultures other than your own, and learning from our differences!
Top Tips that Jamie Learned Along the Way
What’s worse than being stuck in a crowded airport with a flight that’s delayed, or sitting in traffic for hours on end with no exit in sight? Being HUNGRY (or should I say Hangry?) while stuck in a crowded airport with flight delay, or in a traffic jam. While buying a few special airport or gas station snacks as treats that you don’t normally have can be fun for a bit, they will only last you so long, and the price of more and more snacks as time ticks by adds up, and also adds to your annoyance at the situation. So do yourself a favor: pack some of your own favorite on-the-go snacks to keep yourself sane in the midst of possible travel chaos, whether you’re sitting in an airport or in a car, your stomach and your anxiety will thank you for packing the Reese’s or Swedish Fish, trust me.
If you’re flying (or taking a train or bus), make sure to bring something that will pass the time, especially if you’re faced with delays. Maybe it’s that book you’ve been meaning to read (or even an old favorite), or maybe it’s downloading a few movies onto a device (to be sure they’re available even if Wi-Fi isn’t, which is especially important to remember for kids’ devices), or even a handheld game. If you’re driving, put together a playlist to keep you awake, or have a line-up of podcasts ready to go. Pro-tip: make sure EVERYONE in your traveling party has their own form of preferred entertainment to keep arguments and frustrations at a minimum.
Invest in Flight Enhancements
If you’re flying, having Global Entry or TSA Pre-Check can make all the difference in wait times and frustration levels. It does take a bit of time to get approved with the background checks needed, but they are definitely worth having. If you don’t already have one of them for this year, and you know you often travel during the Holidays, take a minute right now to set a reminder on your phone to apply in June of next year, so you know you’ll be all set for ‘23 even if you have to grin and bear it for the rest of ‘22. Or better yet, just apply now, and maybe you’ll get a miracle for this year’s Holiday Travel.
Top “Must-Don’t”s, or Things Jamie Would Do Differently
Don’t Have Unrealistic Expectations
If you go into Holiday Travel expecting everything to happen in accordance with a perfectly laid out plan, you are more than likely going to lead yourself into disappointment and frustration. These days, a flight that leaves and arrives on time is quite the miracle on a normal travel day, let alone during the Holiday Season. If you can get into the headspace of accepting that everything will take some extra time, that there will most likely be delays and crowds, and if you can be prepared with the tips from above, then you will have a much easier travel experience. Then, if things somehow happen to go more smoothly than you expected, you’ll be pleasantly surprised instead of stewing in anxiety.
Don’t Be the Person Who Yells
Or, in other words, don’t be that guy. For the most part, I try to believe that everyone is out there doing their best everyday, and that includes everyone who works at airports, and whose job it is to handle the chaos of Holiday Travel and help as much as they can. Yes, there is occasionally someone who seems determined to wield whatever power they hold negatively, but even a person like that might warm to a smile and kind attitude. It’s almost guaranteed that yelling and screaming to get what you want will result in the opposite outcome, so maybe skip it and try some empathy for the people working to help you instead. Ever heard of the saying, “You get more bees with honey than with vinegar?” It holds true in the Travel Industry as much as anywhere else.
Don’t Expect to Get A Good Deal
Another concept that holds true everywhere, including the Travel Industry, is Supply and Demand. When Demand is high, prices go up, and there is no time more in demand for travel than during the Holiday Season. From airline tickets to gas prices to the cost of a resort package, travel costs are at a premium when companies know the demand will peak over the Holidays. Unfortunately, as long as people stay willing to travel to be with their families for Holidays, the cost of doing so will stay high with the demand. But in the end, it’s worth every penny spent to enjoy the Holidays in whatever way is most meaningful to YOU, whether that’s cozied up with family, or sunbathing with your sweetheart on a tropical island! Mele Kalikimaka, Friends!
And…That’s a Wrap on Jamie’s “Do”s and “Don’t”s for Traveling During the Holiday Season!
Ready to Plan?
Now that you have all of Jamie’s suggestions for the least stressful and most pleasant experiences for traveling during the Holidays, are you ready to plan for wherever this Holiday Season will bring you? Contact your Love of the Magic Vacations Travel Advisor today or email hello@LOTMV.com
Looking for more of Jamie’s Destination “Do”s and “Don’t”s?
So far, we have:
A new list comes out the Friday after Jamie returns from her latest trip!
And don’t forget to check out our Inspiring Itineraries as well, featuring a Perfect Plan for your next vacation, and highlighting a new destination each month! Contact your favorite Love of the Magic Travel Advisor or email hello@LOTMV.com to start planning today!