Seven Travel Hacks To Survive Holiday Transit

Travel Hacks for a Smooth Holiday Season

December 23, 2016 5:00 am
, the interior
Dubai International Airport during the busy holiday season. (Getty Images)
Getty Images


With the holidays so close you can practically smell them, our guess is that you’ll be traveling for at least some of those days—by plane, by train, by automobile. And while we could have easily just said, “good luck,” and raised a glass for those of you who were sure to see snaking lines at the airport and frayed nerves soon enough, RealClearLife wanted to be better than that. In fact, we knew we could be. We wanted to make your holiday travel plans—and any you might experience between now and eternity—a bit less stressful. So we’ve curated a list of some top-notch travel hacks from a number of different travel experts and sources. Prepare for takeoff.

Patience Is a Virtue – According to one flight attendant writing for, if you are looking for flexibility in where you’re seated—or just want to spread out a bit, in a row where there are multiple empty seats—the best course of action is getting on the plane last. So what if you have to check your bag? At least you won’t be cramped next to a kid with a Bieber cut who thinks his Bieber impression is worth doing out loud.

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Delays happen sometimes. (Sean Gallup/Getty Images)


Sign Up to Cut the Line Up – If you’re one of those travelers who can’t stand standing in line, you don’t have to. Seriously. There’s something called TSA PreCheck, which costs $85 for a five-year pass, you don’t have to take off your shoes, belt, or hoodie; remove your laptop; or junk your liquids. You can literally breeze through the line. This might be the best holiday gift you gave yourself in a long time.

Dress (Down) for Success – One CEO, Richard Moross, told CNBC something pretty damned interesting. He doesn’t dress to the nines for an international flight, but rather dons sweats and slip-ons. “Eight hours in an aluminum tube in tight shoes and slacks is no way to travel,” said Moross. Look, maybe it made sense to dress like Mad Men in the ’60s for air travel, but these days, everybody’s familiar with how uncomfortable it can be. Follow this exec’s advice, and you’ll wind up at your destination in one piece.

Cropped shot of an attractive young woman traveling by train
Comfort is key. (Getty Images)


Get Right to the Point(s) – Every traveler should know about points systems and rewards programs. And CNET brought to our attention this nifty blog—The Points Guy—which aggregates anything and everything there is to know about saving money and getting free stuff out of traveling. They suggest starting with the “Beginner’s Guide” and fanning out from there.

Pack Like a Pro – No, we’re not going to sit here and tell you how to pack your suitcase. We’re all grownups here. Everybody has his or her own system, too. But one Travel + Leisure editor has a straight-up ingenious travel hack that will make you say, “Damn, why didn’t I think of that?” She packs bubble wrap, so that anything fragile she happens to buy while on the road—or gets as a gift—can be safely stored for the return trip.

Fortune favors the prepared. (Getty Images)
Fortune favors the prepared. (Getty Images)
Getty Images/Cultura Exclusive


Don’t Fear the Layover – Say, you’re enjoying your holidays in Europe this year. Some of the airports you’ll be traveling to aren’t anywhere near as crappy as LaGuardia. In fact, some European airport lounges are straight out of a luxury guidebook. Take Lufthansa’s in the first-class terminal in Frankfurt, Germany; or the Virgin Atlantic Clubhouse in London’s Heathrow Airport. If you don’t need to get from Point A to Point B via a mad dash, we say enjoy the surroundings a bit, fix yourself a drink, and then get that connecting flight. You know, whenever.

Respect Your Feet – Yes, you’ll be doing a lot of walking from place to place. No, it won’t feel so hot on your poor feet. So this travel hack we read in Business Insider is really, really important: pack a tennis ball. “Really?” you say. It’s not for the reason you might think it is. Says BI’s source: You can use it to “roll under your feet … [and] thighs to keep [them] from getting stiff/sore.” Game, set, match.

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(Alex Wong/Getty Images)


—Will Levith for RealClearLife


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