Everyone rushes around in December. Some of us have to do more of it than others, but we’re all in a rush. There are gifts to buy for friends and family, appreciation gifts to buy for employees and customers, year-end projects to finish up at work, meals to be cooked, invitations to be sent and somewhere in all that mess you actually have to try and enjoy the whole thing. Good luck with that — especially if your’e traveling.
Traveling compounds virtually every holiday issue. You have less time to get work done at the office if you have to take time off to drive or fly to see relatives or to get business done. It also leaves you with that much less time to shop, wrap, mail gifts and invitations, decorate and do everything else you do this time of year. It’s even worse if you have to travel across time zones. That means that in addition to the usual hassles of air travel — long lines, parking, delays, luggage, etc. — you’re going to lose a few more hours and your internal clock will be all out of whack.
Before you go getting all worked up and stressed out, though, how about taking a deep breath and reading Promotions Now’s top five tips for smoother holiday travel.
Always Plan Ahead
There isn’t as much time as you think there is. Trust me, no matter how much you think you can squeeze in, you can’t do it without planning for it. You know there’s going to be traffic, lines and no shortage of spontaneous requests at this time of year, so don’t assume you can just wing it and get everything done. It’s not going to work out that way, and you know it. You need to put a plan together, and you need to make it realistic, which means expecting the unexpected. Leave yourself some buffer room in your plan for delays and last-minute work requests/holiday emergencies. Forming a plan like this will not only help you to get everything completed, but also to stay calm and avoid getting stressed-out.
Don’t Forget the Tech
Traveling today isn’t like it was 50, 20 10 or even five years ago. It’s easier — but only if you take advantage of the tools available to help you make it so. For instance, if you’re going to be flying, the Travel Channel recommends using Seat Guru to keep track of your plane’s seating arrangements so that you can find out the exact details of what your seats will be like and make changes if necessary. They also recommend Open Table for making reservations at local restaurants ahead of time, saving you time once you hit the ground. Of course, those are just a few examples of ways that you can make technology work for you this holiday season. If you have a smartphone, there are a plethora of apps to help you find your destination, avoid traffic, find and book hotels and literally everything else you need help with while traveling.
Decide Whether to Check or Not to Check
If you’re flying, think long and hard about whether you want to check your bags or carry everything onto the plane with you. Carrying them on will undoubtedly save you time, but then you have to worry about lugging your bags with you everyplace that you go. What if there’s a delay, and you’re stuck hauling all that luggage around the airport? What if all of the overhead compartments end up being filled and there’s nowhere to put your carry-on? There is no blanket answer for whether checking baggage is right or wrong. It’s different for everyone. The key is to think about it ahead of time, make an advance decision and stick to it.
Make Sure the Kids Are Happy
Whether they’re staying at home or coming with you, your kids are a constant threat to make any holiday travel plans go awry. Obviously kids don’t enjoy long waits, long flights or long drives. They get bored, they get cranky and then they get on your nerves. If they’re traveling with you, make sure you bring snacks and toys or mobile devices for them. If they get hungry or bored, your trip isn’t going to be anywhere near as much fun.
Keep Customer Service Handy
No matter how much you plan things out, there’s still going to be a chance that something unexpected will happen on your travels. What if there’s a problem with your plane tickets? What if you’re not going to make it on time to catch your plane or check into your hotel? What if there’s an emergency and you need to change your plans mid-trip? You don’t want to have to fumble around for customer service information at the last moment, so write it all down or save it in your phone ahead of time so that you have it with you no matter what.
Enjoy a safe and happy holiday, and make your travel experience a good one by following these tips and visiting the Promotions Now promotional travel accessories store!