Holiday Travel Tips You Can’t Leave Behind

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Updated January 2018: As you venture out on the Alaska roadways, please be careful during the dark hours with ice, freezing rain, and snow. When traveling long distances be sure to check road and destination reports before starting your drive.

We recommend that you also:

  • Check low gears
  • Check headlights and emergency lights for operability
  • Have a full tank of gas
  • Fully charge your phone a bring a car charger
  • Let your friends and family know where you’re going and when you expect to arrive
  • Pack flares, chains for vehicles, shovel, water, and snacks
  • Be sure to keep your lights operable and clean

There are movies abound that showcase the pure headache that is holiday traveling. Even when the end result is quality family time, we admit, sometimes we question whether it’s worth it. Whether you’re planning your travels for the road or the sky, Kelley & Canterbury, LLC wants to give you some tips to ease the holiday travel stress and maximize your quality family time this holiday season.


Road Travel

If you’re planning to pack up the car and hit the open road, use this checklist to make sure you’re ready:

  • Vehicle maintenance. This includes making sure your oil was recently changed, tires are inspected, and all other routine maintenance activities are up to date. Don’t inconvenience yourself by neglecting these standards, finding yourself on the side of the road with a dilemma.
  • Map out your route. Even though you’ve probably made the same trip a million times, double-check your route. Is there any new construction along the way that you need to consider? Is traffic being re-routed and stacking up on your go-to roads? Knowing this ahead of time gives you the opportunity to plan around possible obstacles for a smooth and timely drive.
  • Organize your packing. Perhaps the most stressful part of a road trip happens before you even leave the driveway. Depending on whether or not you’re planning for a long or short stay, packing can be a nightmare. Start packing a week before to give yourself time to wash wanted clothing items and shop for those that you don’t have but wish to take along for the trip. Consider making a checklist for any and all family members and double-check them before loading them into the trunk.
  • Don’t slack on entertainment. If you’re hauling a car full of kids, you will want to make sure there’s plenty of entertainment to last them the entire ride. It might be a good idea to make a list of road trip games you can play as a family. If the preferred entertainment is tech devices, consider investing in car chargers to ensure they stay charged up throughout the trip.
  • Be ready for the unexpected. Even the most diligent of planning can’t avoid the occasional flat tire or routine traffic stop. Make sure to have all necessary documents on hand just in case anything goes wrong. Current proof of insurance, car registration, driver’s licenses, and car emergency phone numbers are all important to have with you.


Air Travel

While traveling by airplane can cut down on the hassle of driving, there’s inevitably a whole other set of stressors that come with traveling by airplane. From making arrangements to get to the airport to getting yourself safely into your seats, the airport is the ultimate hustle and bustle environment sure to fluster even the most even-tempered people.  The following are a few tips we recommend to make your trip through the clouds an enjoyable experience.

  • Pack conservatively. Most baggage weight limits are 50 pounds. Once you’re over that weight limit, be ready to pay hefty fees. We suggest that when packing a carry-on if you do check bags, to bring all medications you may need, as well as a change of clothes in case something happens to your checked baggage. When packing, pay attention to fluid ounce carry on limits so that you aren’t forced to leave behind brand new containers of various toiletries and other liquids. Also, be mindful of how you pack Christmas gifts, if you do so. If you are able, it’s a good idea to put them in your carry-on in the event that your luggage does get lost. If they’re breakable, it also lessens the chance of them being damaged at some point throughout it’s journey to your destination.
  • Have all documents at your fingertips. Hopping on a plane can fluster even the most organized of people. Make sure you have all of your necessary documentation necessary to get through processes like airport security and even customs if you’re leaving the country. Getting caught without your I.D., passport, or another important document can end your trip before it even starts.
  • Plan ahead, you’re on airport time. Is there anything to get your heart rate up quite like almost missing your flight? Schedule in plenty of time between various airport checkpoints. Especially during the holidays, lines are particularly full of anxious holiday travelers all trying to do the same thing you are. Flights will be delayed due to unpredictable winter weather and unfortunately you will be forced to deal with it. By giving yourself extra time, you will not only remain relaxed, but you won’t miss your flight!
  • Quiet entertainment is a must. As with traveling by car, if you’re bringing the whole family along for the trip, be sure to make sure each family member has entertainment for the flight. Earphones, charged up mp3 players and handheld games can mean the difference between boredom fueled mid-air meltdowns and well behaved and well entertained children. Try to select devices and entertainment that can be quietly enjoyed, so as not to disturb neighboring passengers. Don’t forget yourself in this tip. Snag that book you’ve been waiting to read and make sure your own tech devices are charged up so you can have an enjoyable and relaxing flight to your holiday destination.

Whatever traveling method you choose, make sure you have allotted yourself an abundance of patience.  Miscommunication, weather, technical difficulties, and crowds are just a handful of variables that can affect the timing and success of your trip. Around the holidays, when everyone is trying to get to where they’re going at lightning speed, you can bet that there will inevitably be the occasional hiccups to even the most meticulously planned trips. Do your best to plan ahead in the even that obstacles do arise and be ready to go with the flow when they do. Traveling is always a stressful situation to some degree, but hopefully with the tips above you can feel more confident and excited for a great holiday trip.

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About Michaela Kelley Canterbury

Michaela has been practicing law for more than 15 years, helping Alaskans navigate their personal injury cases. When not working, Michaela volunteers her time and legal expertise as a mock trial moderator and teacher and spends time with her family. Michaela Kelley Canterbury's Google+ Profile

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