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How to Keep Your Marbles When Traveling for the Holidays

Whether it’s turkey with grandma or Christmas in Hawaii, traveling for the holidays is like slapping yourself in the face with a frozen fish—you know it’s bad for you, but you do it anyways. Wondering how to escape the pain of travel this holiday season? Here are 7 tips to help you keep your holiday marbles.

1. Avoid peak travel dates

For Thanksgiving travel this means the Wednesday before. Picking Thanksgiving Day often gives you great deals, shorter lines, and more time to do the things that matter (like eating too much pie and turkey). Try to come back any other day than Sunday because that’s when most 9-5 working people head back to their day jobs too.

For Christmas travel, the best dates change depending upon what day the holiday falls. Use the all-knowing search engines to determine the best times and dates.

2. Don’t forget your pants

Ever wake up from a nightmare where you’re standing in the middle of a locker room with just your undies on? Let’s spare everyone the embarrassment by packing even just a day early.

Depending upon where you travel it might actually be ok to forget your pants. Just as long as you have some shorts to put on instead, you should be good to go. Packing light, leaving behind unnecessary bulky items, will end up saving you money in the long run and cut your prep time considerably.

3. Avoid hangry travel (you’re not you when you’re hungry)

Make sure to eat a good meal before getting on the plane. While every airline prohibits liquids, solid foods are generally accepted. So eat your heart out. If you’re traveling on Thanksgiving Day why not pack a turkey to share with your neighbor? He may appreciate it. He may not. But then there is always more for you.

4. Expect the unexpected

This one should be pretty obvious. Whether it’s the weather, kooky in-laws, or the very plane itself starts to go down, holidays seem to be a breeding ground for the delightful and the dreadful.

You never know what’s in granny’s stuffing this year, so prepare yourself by packing plenty of Tylenol or Advil. Fun fact—while the TSA restricts liquids, you can carry an unlimited amount of pills. So go to your happy place, knowing that however many crazy family members show up you have a pill for every ill (in moderation of course).

5. Travel early or late in the day

While thousands will fight for their spot just to be stuck in security check point lines, choosing to fly early or late in the day may save you some crucial time.

Statistics show that planes leaving early or late in the day have better on-time performance.

6. Headphones, headphones, headphones

Music has probably saved more lives than could be counted. Finding a way to tune out distractions from turbulence or even frustrated travelers can save your sanity. If you can’t find your pair, some airlines offer free headphones (although they will be the cheapest pair you have ever seen).

If music is getting to be too much, a second option is earplugs. Perfect for drifting off into a peaceful nap.

7. Pack a waterbottle

Rather than paying for the most expensive, smallest container of water on the planet at the airport, pack a water bottle to refill at drinking fountains. Not only does it save you a ton of money but it supports the environment as well. Look at you going all green.

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