Holiday Travel Tips

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.

https://www.wanderu.com

https://www.wanderu.com

 

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.

Happy Holidays!

 

If you guys have any good travel tips, share them in the comments. I’d love to hear them!

Thanks for reading!

How to Survive Long Trips

The only shitty part about living so far away from where I grew up is that the trip home is a real journey.It usually involves a subway ride (or two), a train ride and sometimes a few hours in the passenger seat of a car. Most times it rounds out at about 6 hours, sometimes more or less depending on how much time I spend waiting or being delayed. But I’ve become somewhat of a “professional traveler” based on the amount of times I’ve taken this trip.

So, I figured I would share my tips for surviving long (and boring) trips back home or to wherever you want to go.

Tip #1: Luggage

Carrying heavy bags through the subway and up and down stairs in any station while you’re traveling can be absolute misery. So do your best to pack light, especially when you’re only spending a few days somewhere and not attending any special events. I get it; once in a while we need to pack extra because we have a wedding or a party to attend. And that’s perfectly fine. I find that picking out an outfit for the event in advance (shoes, accessories and all) and trying it on helps ensure you’re not over packing.

I recommend a backpack or some sort of large tote bag as a “carry-on”. Something you can jam your smaller handbag in but still have room for things you’ll want for the trip. It’s much easier to have one bag while trying to maneuver through isles of a train car or bus. Also be sure to check the limits for your specific type of transportation. Some have weight limits or bag limits for luggage depending on what you choose.

Tip #2: Getting the best seat

Ok, this is probably the most important tip I’m gonna give you. If you’re anything like me and like to have your choice of seat and are also mad awkward about asking complete strangers if you can sit with them, then listen up. Get there earlier than you think you need to be.I’m serious. If your ticket or reservation says “passengers should arrive 20 minutes prior to departure for boarding”, cool, so get there 30 or 45 minutes in advance. Trust me, you’ll beat everyone there and most likely be the front of the line, if not the first person (I have been first before lol it’s great). This is also important because most buses and trains do not have assigned seats. It’s a first come first serve basis.

*Pro-tip: If you wanna cop a seat alone, get there early, grab a window seat and jam all your shit in the seat next to you. Then pop in some headphones and look longingly out the window. Most people will be way too considerate to interrupt you to ask if they can sit there. (Only time this doesn’t work is when there’s a full train/bus and every seat hasto be used.)

Tip #3: What to bring for the journey

When it comes to packing things for a long trip, here are some essentials. These also come in handy when there are delays (yes, they are inevitable sometimes) and you need to pass some time while you wait.

  1. A good book- I love packing a book, whether I’ve read it 3 times already, just started it yesterday, or its been sitting on my shelf for months. There is no better time to get into a book than on a long, quiet train ride with nothing else to do.
  2. My laptop- It’s always with me for numerous reasons. One being the fact that I write this blog and I never know when inspiration may strike or if I need to get a post up while traveling. I also love being able to watch Netflix or YouTube or browsing online when the onboard Wi-Fi works.
  3. Headphones- These are essential for me anytime I set foot outside my house, but especially on a long trip because I find that listening to music passes the time just as much as reading a book does. It’s also the perfect time to find new music or explore different playlists.
  4. Snacks- Buying food on a train is soooo expensive, so don’t waste your money on that. And obviously on a bus there is no café car so I prefer to bring my own snacks and usually water (lately sparkling, or a seltzer because I’m obsessed with them). Bring easy things like nuts, chips, or fruit that doesn’t make a mess. Don’t go whipping out your moms homemade lasagna. Trains rides are usually smooth but not thatsmooth.

Tip #4: How to deal with people

We know it’s going to happen once in a while; that noisy kid that won’t stop screaming in the seat behind you or that guy that’s talking mad loud on his phone the entire ride. The thing I’ve learned while doing all this traveling is that you can’t control other people. You can just be a good human and hope that others will follow your lead. I try my best to help anyone who hasn’t traveled much and is confused or lost, and I always act respectful of others personal space and the public spaces I’m sharing. If someone is doing something super annoying, don’t be afraid to talk to the staff on the train or bus because you paid for your ticket just like they did and you deserve to enjoy your trip as well. Or if you’re gutsy enough, stand up to the person yourself and express your opinion about their rude actions. It just may save you and the other passengers some headache.

 

I hope these tips will help make your next trek a little easier. Comment below if you have any other useful tips to share, I’d love to hear them! Follow this blog for future travel posts.

Thanks for reading!