It's the most wonderful time of the year. It can also be the most stressful time of the year. Holiday season is upon us, which means aside from scrambling to find the perfect gifts for those who made your "Nice" list, you probably have some traveling to do as well. Guess what, so do 100 million other Americans. The chances that holiday traveling ever goes exactly according to plan are slim to none (we're thinking closer to none). Luckily we have a few pointers to make sure your travel plans go as smooth as eggnog this time around.
Make a List and Check it Twice
Toothbrush? Check. Wool socks? Check. That awesome snowman sweater you bought for Grandma? Uh oh. We've all been there. We're halfway to our destination when we feel a wave of panic and start sweating bullets after realizing we forgot something important. An easy way to avoid this situation is to make a checklist for everything that needs to be packed for your trip. Even if it's something you think you'll easily remember, jot it down anyway. No sense ending up staring at a blank phone screen because you forgot to add the charger to the list.
Speaking of that phone you should keep charged, use it to your advantage while making your travel plans. Long gone are the days of unfolding massive paper maps to navigate your route or waiting until the top of the hour to get a traffic update or hear the weather forecast. There are a wealth of apps to assist you in planning your trip. Here are a few that you might find helpful (and the best part is they're free!):
Google Keep - A handy dandy app to take notes and make those checklists we mentioned earlier.
Free Wi-Fi Finder - Locate the nearest free Wi-Fi hot spots to save on your phone's data usage.
Hotel Tonight - Need to book an unexpected last-minute hotel room? Hotel Tonight has you covered.
Waze - Users provide real-time road and traffic updates so you know what routes to avoid.
Weather Underground - Stay on top of the weather forecast to see if it will affect your travel.
Leave Really Early...or Really Late
"I just love this rush hour traffic," said nobody ever. If you hit the road in the middle of the day, you're more than likely going to run into a snag in traffic at some point. Do you know when there is hardly another soul on the road? At 3:27 a.m. It may not be the most convenient time to head out the door, but it beats sitting in traffic while the kiddos ask, "Are we there yet?" for the 40th time.
Keep a Positive Attitude
Last but not least, nobody likes a Grinch, especially this time of year. It can be easy to get all worked up when a wrench gets thrown into your plans, but don't let it ruin your holiday experience. As the saying goes, "A bad attitude is like a flat tire. If you don't change it, you'll never go anywhere." While you're traveling this season, stay jolly, spread some cheer and keep on trucking.
Happy holidays and safe travels!