As I’ve gotten older I have had to accept that I’m not just gonna wake up Christmas morning and be surrounded by my family. I have to actually travel home for the holidays now because I don’t live in my parents’ house or even in my hometown anymore.
Going home for the holidays can be stressful, but here are my top travel tips for making it home for Thanksgiving dinner and any other holidays you celebrate with your family this time of year.
- If you need to take public transportation, book your tickets WAY IN ADVANCE
I have extreme anxiety when it comes to taking public transportation so I go a little crazy and book my tickets probably toofar in advance. But hey, I’m just being super prepared. Don’t @ me.
I would recommend buying tickets at least 2 or 3 weeks out if you know the dates you want to travel home. Airlines tend to book up the fastest, just because they are usually the most comfortable/quickest types of transportation during the holiday season. My personal favorite is trains, like Amtrak, if that’s available to you. They are still pretty quick and more reasonable in price.
My favorite site to check tickets is wanderu.com They are great for comparing types of travel and prices! Check them out with the link.
No matter what you choose though, don’t wait too long to book, especially if you are traveling with another person or a group. Multiple tickets are going to be harder to find the closer it gets to the date.
*A side note: Have a backup plan in case everything ends up being booked up no matter how far in advance you looked. Maybe try to take a different form of transportation or take it to a different stop and just have a relative pick you up and drive the rest of the way. Have a plan B (And maybe C, if you’re super prepared like me)
- Be mindful of the weather this time of year
If you are foregoing public transportation and have chosen to drive some distance back home for the holidays, please be cautious of the weather conditions. If you live in Florida or some shit, then I guess disregard this tip (unless of course hurricanes or tornadoes are relevant to you).
I have to travel north up the state of New York and we have some pretty harsh winters here. So snow is always a problem for me as I’m sure it is for anyone else in the Northeast United States.
Check your weather as far in advance as you can and plan accordingly. Give yourself a few extra hours in case travel speeds are slow or you need to stop for a night in the case of a storm or something. And even if you aren’t driving, still be wary of the weather because it could delay your flights or trains or buses.
- Choose your travel days wisely
When it comes to traveling home for the holidays, everyone else is gonna want to travel the same days as you to get the most out of their trip. So maybe try to plan it on an off peak day, or just an off peak time. Earlier isn’t always better, especially when it comes to trips that are longer. People love to just sleep on the trip so they don’t mind getting up super early. Try planning a trip for midday or evening so that tickets may be cheaper and the train/plane/bus won’t be as crowded.
As for days of the week, I’ve found that Sunday mornings are a great time to travel. On a more obvious note, if you can travel on a weekday that’s one of your best options. Unfortunately that’s not always possible for people that work weekdays but it may be worth it if you can spare a sick day/vacation day for it. It will just make your travel experience a little easier in the end.
- Request your days off work well in advance as well
It depends on your workplace but most places I’ve ever worked, days off are given on a combination of seniority and a first-come, first-served basis. If this is the case for your workplace, make sure you know well in advance the days you’ll need off to travel and request them sooner rather than later.
Similar to choosing the days you want to travel, try to choose days that most of your coworkers wont request off to ensure you’ll get the days you want off. Especially if you are new to a company, you may be the bottom of the list for getting days approved.
Also, it can’t hurt to talk to your fellow coworkers and get a feel for what days they plan to take off so you can work around them accordingly.
- Make the trip fun
You are going home for a holiday celebration and you get to see your family and friends. Be happy! Have fun! Make the trip something enjoyable and don’t look at it as an inconvenience to see people that you love.
Bring fun things to do, jam to some holiday tunes if that’s your thing, or maybe chat to the people you’re going home to see and create some plans for the time you have together.
If you guys have any good travel tips, share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!
Thanks for reading!