Well, well, well! It’s that time of year again… who is traveling for Christmas and/or New Year’s Eve!? I know I am! My travel for this holiday season is four parts, woot! Part one: Phoenix is ending today as I’m flying to Los Angeles this afternoon to finally be reunited with Edwin after almost three weeks of being apart while he has been filming in Europe and Africa. I’m so excited to celebrate Christmas with Edwin’s family in Los Angeles over the next few days! In the spirit of all my upcoming travel, I’m sharing how to travel smart during the holidays. I’m sure some of y’all are gearing up for travel, whether by air or automobile, over the next week and a half so let’s dive into some last minute smart holiday travel tips!
Holiday Travel Tips
Best & Worst Dates for Traveling:
It is supposed to be a white Christmas on the East Coast this year so that could cause some flight delays in general. However, the best days to travel this year, and every year, are Christmas Eve and Christmas Day because they are less desirable days to travel. The worst days/the busiest air travel days this year are December 22nd, 29th, and 30th. So be prepared to arrive extra early those days if you are traveling.
Dealing with Airports:
Part of my holiday travel consists of arriving and departing from LAX (aka, in my opinion, the most poorly designed airport in the United States). I’ve traveled in and out of LAX and other massive airports like JFK and Atlanta hundreds of times. So I consider myself to be pretty good at navigating and dealing with airports. Here are some of my top tips:
– Arrive early (but of course you’re thinking to yourself!).
During this time of year, I’ve come close to missing flights not because of security lines (yes, I’m TSA precheck and CANNOT recommend it enough!) but because of checked bag lines. At LAX, this is not uncommon. Arrive early so you will have time for everything – traffic driving into the airport, checking bags, security, getting food, using the restroom etc. – without breaking a sweat.
– Plan your rides.
This can be done a few different ways. Did you know you can schedule Uber pickups ahead of time? Yup! It’s also a smart time of year to schedule a car service if you are traveling with tons of luggage for bulky luggage like gifts or skis. In addition, when I’m leaving the airport, I always request my Uber the minute the first bag comes out on the carousel… so many airports have Uber waiting lots that are far from the curb so don’t wait until your bag comes out.
– Healthy snacks.
I love to pre-pack snacks for travel days because there is nothing worse than not being able to find a healthy option at the airport or being struck with hunger pains mid-flight. I have three go-to snacks that I make and pack ahead of time and then bring in my carryon bag on the flight. They all satisfy different tastebuds so sometimes I pack two options!
1) Hard boiled eggs: It’s a breeze to boil a few eggs the night before a travel day and throw them in a reusable ziplock bag or container.
2) Apples, celery, and almond butter: I like to slice apples (the morning of for freshness!) and cut celery sticks in thirds to bring with a few packets of Artisana Organics or Justin’s almond butter.
3) Homemade trail mix: It’s so fun to prep and bring homemade trail mix because you can make it different every time! To keep it healthy, I have a list of options I mix and match including pistachios, almonds, raw cacao nibs, wasabi peas, popcorn, dried cranberries, dried pitted dates, dried goji berries, coconut flakes, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, chia seeds, cinnamon, and pink himalayan salt.
Road Trip Tips:
I’m someone who loves road trips but I understand that they aren’t for everyone. So, I do have some tips to make road trips run more smoothly.
– First up, fill up your gas tank the day before so there is no last minute scramble.
– Consider traffic patterns and holiday traffic and plan around them/it. Even if that means getting up an extra hour or two earlier.
– The closer it gets to the holidays, prioritize driving safely by avoiding driving at night to keep away from exhausted and/or drunk drivers.
I tend to overpack so I struggle during the holidays when I travel to multiple different climates! However, my number one packing tip is to pack your carry on bag with purpose. By this I mean, pack any outfit you need immediately upon landing as well as a pair of pajamas. Also, an everyday outfit so you are prepared and clothed if your checked bag gets lost. I shared my top ten travel rituals here that also include some super helpful packing tips!
What to do with Holiday Gifts:
Without a doubt, if you are traveling for the holidays, then you’ve wondered what to do with holiday gifts. If you haven’t already sent your gifts ahead of time via FedEx of UPS, then you’ll be traveling with gifts. I recommend packing a separate bag specifically for gifts! I’ve done this before! It is very helpful to not have gifts getting mixed up with and smashed by your personal belongings. If possible, definitely pack your gifts in a carry on bag in case the suitcase gets lost while traveling.
Did you Work with a Travel Advisor?:
I’m a huge proponent of working with travel advisors (aka what used to be known as travel agents)! Edwin and I used a travel advisor for our honeymoon as well as our one year anniversary trip to Vermont and it made a huge difference with getting the best rates, room upgrades, spa credits, restaurant credits/free breakfasts etc. My sister is a travel advisor (so, yes, I’m biased!) but she is the best (she planned those two trips for us)! Since holiday travel can be so hectic, especially if you’re planning a big ski trip or are traveling out of the country, make your holidays smart holidays by using a travel advisor to get the best deals and to take out tons of the work for you!
Get my How To Travel Smart During The Holidays look:
Photography by Edwin Eversole