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5 tips for stress-free holiday travel

Dec. 6, 2022
4 mins
Family on their way to the airport.jpg

Travelling for the holidays can get a little hectic. Cold and wintry weather, long lines, and tight flight schedules can get in your way or cause delays.

Here are some simple tips to improve your chances of getting to your destination on time and starting the holidays off right.

1. Be early

Don't procrastinate when buying flights for the holidays. By booking in advance, you'll usually get lower fares, the most flexible flight schedules, and, possibly, better seat selection. You don't want to end up getting stuck with an expensive middle seat on the flight that arrives at 2:00 a.m. (and neither does the person picking you up).

Get to the airport as early as you can — at least two hours early for a domestic flight and three hours early for an international flight. However, there's no harm in getting there even earlier, especially given the unpredictability many travellers faced in 2022. There are plenty of ways to entertain yourself at the airport. Buy a coffee, read a book, and rest assured that you won't miss your plane.

With the convenience of online check-in, there's no reason to wait until you get to the airport to get your boarding pass. If there are any problems with your reservation, it's much better to find out 24 hours in advance rather than two hours before the flight. Plus, checking in ahead of time might get you a better seat on some airlines.

2. Fly direct

Taking a direct flight is always more enjoyable than having multiple layovers, but a direct route can be even more important during the holidays. With packed airplanes, busy airports, and bad weather, you want to minimize the chances of anything going wrong.

When you fly direct, you won't have to worry about missing your connection. With fewer connecting flights, you'll also have less of a chance that one (or more) of your flights gets cancelled.

3. Don't bring gifts on the plane

Lugging 14 giant bags through the airport is nobody's idea of a good time. Instead, consider shipping your presents to relatives ahead of time. That way, you might be able to get away with just a carry-on bag, which will help you get through security more quickly. Plus, you won't have to wait at the baggage claim or pay additional baggage fees for your extra load. Better yet, send electronic gifts that don't take up any space at all.

4. Create a self-care package

You never know what's going to happen, so it's always best to prepare. Whether you have a long-haul flight or potential delays, consider packing a small bag with some essentials:

  • Phone and laptop chargers
  • Snacks
  • Cozy socks
  • An eye mask and earplugs
  • Lip balm
  • Mini toiletries like a toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face wipes

5. Plan ahead with travel insurance

Despite your best efforts, travelling for the holidays can sometimes be unpredictable. Delayed flights, lost baggage, and illness happen to the best of us.

Be sure to protect yourself from the unexpected with adequate travel insurance. Then, you'll be able to travel stress-free and spend your holidays focusing on what really matters.

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The RATESDOTCA editorial team are experienced writers focused on sharing stories and bringing you the latest news in insurance and personal finance. Our goal is to provide Canadians with the information and resources they need to make better insurance and financial decisions.

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