Ready, set, go! 3 simple tips for surviving holiday travel

Holiday travel is everyone’s favorite nightmare. On the one hand, everyone is especially excited to leave work/school for a week and go on vacation, but the thought of the airport/train station or any other public transportation during the holidays is absolutely terrible. New York City is in gridlock (it takes 30 minutes to get across 3 avenues in a taxi), Penn Station is absolutely packed and all of the airports are full of flight delays and an excessive amount of travelers trying to either get home or get to vacation. As much as I love traveling, and do so every holiday, it’s never a fun activity being in transit. You can follow 3 of my top tips to feel slightly sane and survive traveling during the holiday, and you can find all of my travel tips on my blog East Meets West.

1Plan ahead

Book your ticket as far in advance as possible. This is pretty self-explanatory and goes without saying, but even I am guilty of waiting until the last minute to book flights during the holiday. I always think the prices are going to go down. Guess what? They don’t! The earlier you plan and book, the less you have to worry about as it gets closer. So you can focus on more fun things, like planning what you will do on vacation or with your family.

2Block out the noise

Noise cancelling headphones are your friend. I don’t care what mode of transportation you are taking or where you are going, there will inevitably be kids. It’s the holidays. Schools are closed. Buy a good pair of noise-canceling headphones. They are a game-changer. I own the Beats Studio3 and they have literally changed my life when flying. I can get through a 12-hour flight sitting next to a kid and never realize it because you can’t hear ANYTHING. They are seriously the best.

3Get there really early

Even if you have Clear or TSA Pre-Check, get to the airport as early as possible. Don’t listen to that 2-hour or 3-hour pre-flight rule. It’s really not worth it to miss your flight. The airports are insanely overpacked during the holiday season and are unable to handle the number of people. Even under the best circumstances, airports are never efficient. Ever. Don’t risk it. Personally, I get there extra early and then head to the lounge using my Priority Pass, which gives me membership in a network of 1200 airport lounges (also a travel game-changer). Almost every airport has a lounge in the Priority Pass program and they always have plenty of food, alcohol, clean bathrooms and places to sit.  

Rachel Shulman is a seasoned travel blogger specializing in planning in-depth guides for destinations around the world. She has lived in 4 major cities in her 27 years of life (New York, New Orleans, Prague and Tel Aviv) and has traveled to 30+ countries with no intention of stopping soon. She owns From East To West, a travel blog outlining her travels and writing detailed, efficient guides and itineraries for cities and countries as well as reviewing locations, accommodations, restaurants and tips and tricks for traveling.