The final travel surge of the year is among us – and it’s not for the faint of heart.
Everyone and their mother (literally) are traveling this season to experience the magic of Christmas – whether surrounded by loved ones drinking hot cocoa by the fire – or tucked away at a ski lodge or remote beach.
But regardless of where you spend Christmas – you’re still forced to navigate the transportation world like everyone else – and here are a few ideas to keep you sane.
Pick Your Poison
Depending on where you’re headed – you may have the option to fly or drive.
If you fly – you’ll likely get to your destination faster (that is if your flight is on time) – and you can enjoy somewhat of a relaxing travel experience (once you make it through TSA groping every inch of your body) and have the luxury to sit back in your seat and take a nap while somebody else does all the work to get you to your final destination.
Of course – you could have drunk and crazy passengers on your flight who need to be duct taped to their seat…
And if you didn’t follow our advice and decided to check a bag…
… you might be disappointed to know it’s lost.
But still – generally speaking- flying can be somewhat of a better experience than being stuck in a 6-hour traffic jam with cars running out of gas because the guy who rented a car from California doesn’t know how to drive in snow.
Flying may be unpredictable… but driving is REALLY unpredictable – and weather conditions, road closures, construction, long lines at the gas station, frequent stops to use the restroom, and screaming kids in the car can make your road trip that much more stressful.
Both flying and driving have pros and cons – so when planning your trip – choose your hard.
Avoid The Busiest Days
You aren’t a martyr if you willfully choose to fly on the busiest day of the year (when you have other options) so you can boast that you “survived it.”
And while past years may have been busy, this year a record-high surge of travelers is expected as those who were forced to cancel their Christmas plans last year thanks to Biden are eager to get out and travel…
… that is those who can afford it under record-high inflation.
In fact, AAA estimates over 112.7 MILLION people will travel this Christmas season – 3.6 million more than last year.
“This year, travel time will be extended due to Christmas Day and New Year’s Day falling on Sundays,” said Paula Twidale, AAA’s Senior Vice President of Travel.
“With hybrid work schedules, we are seeing more people take long weekends to travel because they can work remotely at their destination and be more flexible with the days they depart and return.”
But with so many people all traveling at the same time – it’s important to know what days to avoid.
According to AAA – most people will be driving to their destination – and data reveals these are the worst days to drive.
ABC News reported:
“The worst days to be on the road are Dec. 23, Dec. 27, Dec. 28 and Jan. 2, according to transportation analytics company INRIX.
But if those are your planned travel days, the best times for motorists are 2 p.m. or earlier and after 8 p.m. The best times on Jan. 2 are before 3 p.m. or after 8 p.m., INRIX said.
Have A Backup Plan
What will you do if you run into a road closure?
Have you planned alternate routes?
Do you have a map (yes an actual physical copy) of the roads in case your cell reception is bad and you can’t rely on Google maps or Waze?
If you’re flying – have you already scoped out alternate routes? Are you paying attention to the weather? Did you book your flight with a layover in a snowy place like Chicago?
While ultimately, we are all at mercy to the circumstances – it’s still prudent as much as it depends on you to have backup plans ready – so all you need to do is pull the trigger and implement them if Plan A fails.
Without doing the legwork ahead of time…
… you’ll be scrambling (and stressed) with millions of other travelers trying to get to their destination should things go south.
Travel at Christmastime ain’t for the faint of heart – but it’s so worth it!
So, whether you long to sit with family around the Christmas tree or enjoy a beach vacation – have an incredible time and savor every moment.
Merry Christmas, and safe travels!
Do you plan to travel during Christmas this year?
If so, do you feel prepared to tackle the madness?
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