As we enter the 2017 Holiday Travel Season, I want to share with you six tips that might be useful this year for helping you enjoy holiday travel. I have some general suggestions with specific examples for you to consider, along with links for more information from a variety of travel resources. If you are reading this on my website, www.oneperfectdayin.org, be sure to scroll to the bottom of this article and click on the accompanying podcast link for even more information.
Be aware of 2017 busiest travel dates and plan accordingly.
According to Smarter Travel (https://www.smartertravel.com/2017/09/22/best-days-holiday-travel-2017/), the worst days to travel during the holiday season in 2017 are:
- Wednesday, November 22 (United States only)
- Sunday, November 26 (United States only)
- Friday, December 22
- Saturday, December 23
- Sunday, December 24
Of course, the reason these dates are busy is due to the fact that work and school schedules often do not allow for travel on any other dates. So, if you can travel on alternative dates, try to do that. However, if you cannot avoid traveling on these dates due to scheduling concerns, just plan to:
- Leave early when you are traveling on these dates.
- Reserve airport parking in advance.
- Use real time traffic apps to plan and adjust your route for car travel.
Consider adding special events to your holiday travel plans that may not be available at other times during the year.
Check the Internet before you leave and/or ask hotel staff or local residents when you arrive at your destination for special holiday opportunities to enjoy. For example:
Botanical Gardens often have special displays at holiday times.
- Visit the United States Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. for free. It is open from 10 am until at least 5 pm daily.
- The special holiday Season’s Greetings event begins November 23rd and runs through January 1st. This year’s theme, Roadside Attractions, includes a model train show and plant-based re-creations of Texas’ Cadillac Ranch, South Dakota’s Corn Palace, and New Jersey’s Lucy the Elephant.
- The Conservatory showcases heirloom and newly developed poinsettia varieties.
- The collection of D.C. landmarks made from plant materials returns to fill the Garden Court. A new addition for 2017 is a botanical version of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
- Check the website for additional information and other events, including free holiday concerts on most Tuesdays and Thursdays in December when the gardens are open until 8 pm. https://www.usbg.gov/plan-your-holiday-visit
- The Atlanta Botanical Garden has a special holiday light display each evening from November 11 through January 7, 2018. See my previous podcast and article for information, prices, and ticket links. The links are near the bottom of my article linked here: https://oneperfectdayin.org/2017/11/12/atlanta-botanical-garden/
- Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in Belmont, North Carolina, near Charlotte, is hosting Holidays at the Garden from November 17 – December 31, 2017. Check the official website here: https://www.dsbg.org/events/garden-events/public-garden-events/holidays-at-the-garden/
- Missouri Botanical Garden in St. Louis is hosting Garden Glow from November 18 – January 1, 2018. See how you can celebrate the season as you experience over one million lights in the garden at the official website here: http://glow.missouribotanicalgarden.org
- Green Bay Botanical Garden in Wisconsin is hosting the Garden of Lights during the holiday season. For information and tickets, check the official website here: http://gbbg.org/things-to-do/wpsgardenoflights/
- Holiday light displays are special, too. Business Insider has a list of 15 of the “most outrageous” light displays in the United States here: http://www.businessinsider.com/most-outrageous-christmas-light-displays-in-america-2017
- Business Insider mentions visiting lighted boat parades, like the one in Dana Point, California, that will be held on December 8th, 9th, 15th and 16th in 2017.
- If you are on the east coast, consider the Key West Annual Lighted Boat Parade that will be held this year on Saturday, December 9th. Fury Water Sports is offering a special viewing through their website here: https://www.furycat.com/key-west/lighted-boat-parade
Plan travel to visit locations or participate in experiences that are ideally suited for holiday travel.
For example, travel with kids of all ages to a town that offers special events for children to enjoy. Parents magazine has a top 10 list of cities for holiday travel this year that includes New York City and Orlando, here http://www.parents.com/fun/vacation/ideas/holiday-travel-places-to-take-kids/
Take a holiday cruise. Special holiday-themed cruises are ideal for enjoying the holiday spirit and are a great opportunity to provide entertainment for multi-generational family travel while offering unique experiences for a variety of age groups to enjoy.
Enjoy travel time in the car with special games and discussions.
For example, on a long ride home, take time to help family and friends traveling together process happy memories of the trip by asking each person in the car to name their favorite memory of the trip and why they picked that memory to share. And, don’t forget about the typical car travel games, like “I Spy” and “License Plates” listed in this article from Edmunds.com: https://www.edmunds.com/car-reviews/top-10/top-10-road-trip-games.html
Follow smart traveler tips from experts.
Learn from experienced holiday travelers and security officials in order to be prepared for long security lines at airports and for unexpected issues that can arise during busy times.
- Entrepreneur Magazine reviews “10 TSA-Approved Travel Tips to Make Your Holiday Travel Easier” here: https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/305066 For example, TSA recommends that you do not carry wrapped gifts on planes, because they may need to be unwrapped in order to be inspected.
- In the Readers Digest online article, “10 Holiday Tips Smart Travelers Should Memorize,” travelers recommend becoming familiar with the new ios11 Apple Maps feature that displays complete floor plans of airports, including locations of food courts, stores, restaurants, gate numbers, security checkpoints, and lounges. Tap on a restaurant or store to bring up more details about each individual location, including reviews. Check out Readers Digest “1o Holiday Tips Smart Travelers Should Memorize” at the link here: https://www.rd.com/advice/travel/holiday-travel-tips/
- CNN Travel recommends tips for being prepared for winter weather in the article, “Winter holiday travel tips: 8 good ideas for your trip,” at the link here: http://www.cnn.com/travel/article/winter-holiday-travel-tips/index.html Tips include a reminder to charge up devices in advance in case of weather delays.
Pack your patience, remember why you are traveling, and enjoy the season.
Finally, remember that one of the reasons that holiday travel can be stressful is because we are working hard to coordinate schedules with friends and family to enjoy spending time together. These special times don’t come around that often, so take time to relax, enjoy, and remember the reasons bigger than ourselves that bring us all together at this special time.
If you decide to travel to Orlando, Key West, or Washington, DC, you may be interested in these previous posts and podcasts:
My Amazon Author page in this website’s menu also has links to my Amazon and Kindle books on Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Key West, and Washington, DC.
I hope you have a wonderful holiday season in 2017. And until next time, I hope all your travel days are just perfect!