Shocking News: Holiday Travel Is Going to Be Busy This Year (And Here’s How to Survive It)

PHOTO: Alexandre Rotenberg / Shutterstock

We’ve got a bit of a problem this weekend. And we also have plenty of solutions.

One in three Americans will travel for the holidays this year, which is a 4.4 percent increase from last year, and with Christmas happening literally next Tuesday, AAA warns that specifically the date of December 20 is going to be a very busy travel day no matter how you’re doing it–airports, roads, trains, etc. Driving in big cities will triple in time length and people will be packing themselves into airports like sardines, as we have now reached the dreaded Weekend Before Christmas. And chances are if you’re involving yourself in holiday travel, you’re going to probably become very annoyed, during some of it. Do not fret, however, weary traveler–we have you covered.

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First of all, I’m not going to tell you to “avoid traveling during peak hours,” because, straight up, sometimes you can’t avoid this. You’re going to travel when your schedule permits it because you’re an adult with a life and maybe a job and responsibilities, which may or may not be other actual human beings with lives and responsibilities.

First of all, I’m not going to tell you to “avoid traveling during peak hours,” because, straight up, sometimes you can’t avoid this.

 Therefore someone telling you to just “not travel when everyone else is traveling” is, oftentimes, pretty useless. People are traveling at this time because that’s when most of us can.

That said, you can still travel when everybody else is traveling without a stress volcano erupting from your head. Here are some of our realistic tips for your health and general traveling wellbeing.

Remember That You Cannot Control This

Here is your preliminary advice that might sound extremely obvious. You can’t control crowds. They exist. Always. You cannot control what happens with your flight at an airport. You can’t ever predict a delay or cancelation–so go easy on yourself. Worrying about it consistently does nothing for you–you’re still going, aren’t you? So, try. To relax. Just remember that you’re a smart human being who is entirely capable of figuring out what the next step is when that time comes.

Bring Your Own Snacks and Drink Water

Airport food is expensive and, quite frankly, not always the best for you nutrition-wise, so pack a few snacks so that you don’t have to rely on what may or may not be sold at an Airport News (or whatever) store. Also, airline food is usually very high in salt/sodium, which will generally make you feel worse in the sky–bringing your own food can help with this, as well. Also, drink a lot of water (especially if you’re treating yourself to Plane Alcohol). Flying dehydrates the crap out of you.

Don’t Be a Jerk

Be extra kind to others around you. Everyone is stressed, and there are a lot more people traveling than usual–which means, chances are, people are going to be more annoying in general. Treating others badly (especially airport workers) is not

Treating others badly (especially airport workers) is not the answer, ever, and will only cause your stress levels to skyrocket.

 the answer, ever, and will only cause your stress levels to skyrocket. The person behind the counter is not responsible for your flight delay, and being rude to them is only going to set you back both morally as a person and, quite frankly, just in general–they are in charge of getting you on a flight, dude.

Make Yourself as Comfortable as Possible

Whatever this means for you, do it. Maybe it means dressing in layers and wearing clothes that double as blankets. Maybe this means bringing a little pillow or eye mask. Maybe this means investing in something to calm you down, like CBD oil (my personal choice) or Xanax or a meditation podcast. Before you travel, think about your own needs, and what will make you the comfiest during stress–this is something you can control.

Give Your Car a Maintenance Check

If you’re traveling for the holidays via car, give your little car friend a maintenance check before you head out. This will make sure you’re in the best possible state to drive long distance, and therefore, hopefully, won’t run into any big problems along the way that could’ve been easily prevented beforehand.

Be as Organized as Possible

Check your flight status periodically, have your travel documents on-hand, bring a carry-on packed with things that you will actually use and need (and while you’re at it, invest in a carry-on that is easy to trek around with). Also, there’s always the possibility of delayed flights, etc, so pack everything you could need for the next 15hours of your life. Your essential things are always with you, and therefore you are taken care of (nicely done!).

When You’re Going Through TSA, Don’t Act Like You’ve Never Done This Before

Unless you actually haven’t been through security at the airport before, don’t act like you’ve never been through security at the airport before. Rules sometimes vary depending on where in the world you are, but one way to not be that person holding up

Get off your phone and pay attention, for like, a second–it is the respectful thing to do.

 everyone else in line is simply by paying attention to your surroundings. If you don’t know exactly what to do, watch the people doing it before you. Get off your phone and pay attention, for like, a second–it is the respectful thing to do.

Bring Stuff to Do

The lines are long. There are people absolutely everywhere. You probably showed up early (oh, right, remember to show up early–sorry, I kind of thought that was obvious and didn’t want to offend you by making this a bolded “suggestion”). Bring a book, download a few podcasts or Spotify playlists, etc.

Avoid Peak Hours if You Can

That said, if you are someone who can avoid peak hours–do it. Yes, I’m a hypocrite. Get over it. But I’d be a jerk if I didn’t tell you that the best times to travel (if you can) are extremely early in the morning (beat that sun, man) or just after the morning commute calms down.