Safe Holiday Travel: 6 Tips for a Less-stress Season

The holiday season is one of the busiest times of year for travel. This increase of travelers means an increase in personal safety matters as well. Whether visiting friends and family or getting away for a few days, it’s important to take certain precautions when traveling during the holidays. From trip prep ideas to ways to keep your identity safe, we’ve rounded up some helpful ideas. These six safe holiday travel tips will help keep you safe – and less stressed.

Top 6 Tips for Safe Holiday Travel

safe holiday travel tips

Photo: Nick Harris

Prepare for Your Trip

Trip preparation can save time, money and energy. If traveling to a new area, research beforehand to know how best to get around and learn about the area. Check for construction and weather delays that could cost hours in the airport or on the road.

If bad weather is possible, consider booking an early flight or leaving early. When driving, print out directions – including alternate routes – in case your phone battery, GPS or car dies. Also tell a trusted friend or relative the location and regularly check in with them, especially if traveling alone.

Leave Early

Obstacles always come up, so leave early to ensure an on-time arrival and avoid costly delays. Those flying should book in advance. This also saves on airfare costs. Before confirming the flight, check airport security guidelines. Airport procedures differ, so quickly getting through security checks leads to easy boarding and not running through airports.

Drivers should leave at least 30 minutes early for longer drives, and plan for stops every couple of hours. Doing so will also reduce stress and possibly travel times. Who doesn’t want more time with friends and family or last-minute shopping?

Get Plenty of Rest

Sleep deprivation can lead to serious health and safety issues. The night before departure, get plenty of sleep and eat well. This not only helps energy levels and alertness, but it also improves your mood.

Long trips cause fatigue, so a full night’s sleep beforehand keeps drivers safe on the road. Drivers should not drive if they feel drowsy. To ease the burden, carpooling alleviates fatigue and serves as an eco-friendly way to travel. Rest also helps those flying better handle airport procedures and other passengers. After all, no one wants to sit next to a grumpy passenger.

Service the Vehicle

Whether driving two hours or a half-day, car maintenance should be a top priority. Cold weather and harsh driving conditions can affect vehicles and leave travelers stranded. A couple days before the trip, inflate tires – including the spare – and check the oil. Pack a couple of quarts of oil, jumper cables, tools to change a flat tire and a safety kit in the car.

Those with roadside assistance should carry the card in a handbag or wallet, and put the phone number in a phone. Those driving in cold weather should also pack blankets and winter weather gear to keep warm in case you have to park.

Carry Some Cash

Cards are convenient, but they can also get stolen and provide identity information. Carrying cash in small bills is an ideal way to keep identities and accounts safe.

It also forces travelers to stick to a spending budget. Plan for expenses, and manage only small amounts of bills. However, don’t keep them in your back pocket. If you prefer not to travel with cash, then find a branch ATM and withdraw what you need when you arrive. In the event of not being able to use a card, such as if systems are down, cash allows you to still get what you need.

Pack Light

There are a few ways to pack light, which saves luggage fees and hauls. Stick to carry-on luggage, and plan doing laundry on longer trips. Having a carry-on ensures travelers stay with luggage and avoid spending unnecessary money on baggage fees.

Also mail presents and packages to destinations before the holiday, or wrap gifts once you arrive. This prevents you from carrying too much on a flight or packing the car to the point where you don’t have room for essentials. If possible, shop at your destination instead of packing a week’s worth of food and toiletries.

Looking for healthy holiday eating tips? These tips will help maintain your weight while enjoying holiday favorites.