We all know how stressful the holidays can be, buying and wrapping presents, organizing the family, food arrangements, and to top it all off, you often have to travel. With that in mind, we put together a Holiday Travel Checklist to help reduce the stress that many people experience this time of the year. This is meant to be a quick Holiday Travel Survival Guide so you can focus on more important things in your life.

1. Keep your home secure while traveling with an internet-enabled home security system:

Home security systems, such as the Canary Security System and Nest, allow you to monitor your home while traveling. It provides that extra peace of mind by providing notifications of activity while you’re away.

2. Set the thermostat to avoid frozen pipes when you’re away:

Depending on where you live, you may need to keep your home warm while away so your pipes don’t freeze. You don’t want to deal with a plumbing emergency during or after your holiday vacation.

3. Pack wine and beer securely:

If you’re bringing your host a bottle of something special, make sure it gets there in one piece. Most travel experts advise putting your bottle into a sealed bag, then placing them inside a pair of socks. Wine Wings are a good alternative to clothing. For more information, check out our video/post on packing wine and beer in your luggage.

4. Wait to gift wrap until you reach your destination:

While gift wrapping in advance of your trip seems efficient, it can all be undone with a quick baggage search. Customs officers have the authority to search checked bags, as well as hand luggage, and have been known to unwrap suspicious looking gifts. Our recommendation is to save yourself the trouble and wait to gift wrap at your destination.

5. Pack a collapsible duffel bag:

With holiday gifts, it’s likely that you’ll be carrying more luggage on your return trip home. To help minimize space issues, pack a collapsible duffel bag to provide packing flexibility either on the way to or from your holiday destination.

6. Ensure your carry-on items are TSA approved:

Check TSA guidelines before you travel to ensure your gifts meet the requirements. Liquids, gels, and even bath salts can be subject to additional testing, particularly during the busy holiday season. You may want to avoid transporting gifts that require extra scrutiny.

7. Book your ride early (or reserve airport parking well in advance):

Increased travelers during the holiday season usually means increased demand for ride-sharing services like Uber and Lyft. Give yourself additional time to monitor, and avoid, price surges during this busy time. If you’re driving to the airport, reserve your parking spot and get there early. I’ve had a few experiences whether the parking garage was over-booked, so I wasted a lot of time circling the area for an open space.

8. Expect heavier than normal traffic on the roads and at airports

With more people on the roads and in the air, it’s pretty much guaranteed that you’ll face busier than usual road and airport traffic. Leave lots of extra time when planning your journey to the airport!

9. Double-check that you have the right bag

When picking up your bag from the baggage carousel, double-check that it’s the right one! It’s very easy after a long flight to grab your bag and go. However, you can easily pick-up the wrong bag. A colorful lock, ribbon, or tag can help with quick identification.

10. Download Google Maps for offline access:

Traveling abroad or to a place with limited connectivity? If so, you may want to download the specific area on Google Maps (iOS | Android) to provide you with directions and GPS navigation. This will work even when you have no data signal (e.g., airplane mode). This is extremely useful when trying to navigate in a new city and helps avoid costly data roaming charges.

11. Use Google Trips as your pocket travel assistant:

Google Trips (iOS | Android) offers a number of valuable features, from basic information about your destination to suggested day trips based on the sites that you want to visit. It’s your very own personal travel assistant (and it’s completely free)!

12. Don’t forget about credit card benefits:

Check the small print on your credit cards. Many offer free benefits such as free checked bags, priority boarding, lost & delayed baggage insurance, trip delay insurance, and even extended warranty and return protection for gifts.

Do you have any useful holiday travel tips? Share them in the comments section below. We are preparing to travel to Europe for Christmas, so will definitely be putting these tips into practice.

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