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5 Ideas for Stress-Free Holiday Travel

Nov. 18, 2019
4 mins
An older couple snaps photos of each other sitting outside on a park bench while travelling together

Travelling for the holidays can sometimes get a little hectic. Cold weather, long lines, and tight deadlines can get in your way or cause delays. However, if you follow these simple tips, you can successfully get to your destination and start 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 the best seat selection. You don't want to end up getting stuck with an expensive middle seat on the flight that arrives at two in the morning (and neither does the person picking you up).

If you don't have anything else you have to do, get to the airport early. Very early. Don't let traffic on the streets (or within the airport) keep you from missing your flight. Try to get to the airport 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! There are plenty of ways to entertain yourself at the airport. Buy a coffee, read a book, and be pleased that you won't be missing 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

Flying direct is always more enjoyable than 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 chance that something goes 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 Your Gifts on the Plane

Lugging fourteen 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. Websites like allow you to buy and redeem digital gift cards.

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:

  • Chargers for all your most essential accessories like your phone and laptop
  • 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 illnesses happen to the best of us. Just to be on the safe side, protect yourself and travel stress-free with travel insurance. Then, you'll be able to spend your holidays focusing on what really matters.


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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