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Sanity-Saving Hacks for Holiday Travel

Grace Lower | Jan 31, 2022

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Family wearing santa hats on a beach vacation.

Got holiday travel plans? You’re in good company. According to a PWC study, 52% of Americans plan to travel for the 2021 holidays. As another holiday season approaches, you can expect the roads, rails, and skies to once again fill with travelers — all of whom are eager for a final getaway before the new year.

With such a huge influx of passengers, holiday travel season comes with its share of stresses, delays, and mix-ups. But with the right tools, you’ll be able to return with your holiday spirit intact.

How can I make holiday travel easier?

1.    Use mobile travel apps

Downloading your transportation provider’s app not only gives you immediate access to your tickets, but you’ll also receive instant travel updates and reminder notifications. These are useful during a season of very unpredictable weather. Some providers may require you to download their app before you can access Wi-Fi or onboard movies — it helps to plan ahead!

Driving to your destination? No problem! Apps like RoadTrippers Plus and TOGO RV will help you access traffic-free routes, fun detours, and offline maps. Seven Corners even has a discount codes you can use to get started for a more affordable price!

No matter your mode of transit, save yourself a headache and download before you go.  

2.    Pack portable self care items

Cramped seats, laughable leg-room, and long waits can bring out the Grinch in all of us. Try building a personalized “self-care package” to keep yourself feeling fresh. In a TSA-approved zippered pouch or gallon bag, bring the following holiday travel aids on your flight:

●    Salty and sweet snacks (bonus points if they’re holiday-themed)
●    Cozy socks
●    Pen and a pocket-sized notebook
●    Eye mask
●    Earplugs
●    Mild pain reliever, like Advil or Tylenol
●    Lip balm
●    Hand sanitizer
●    Lotion
●    Facial cleansing wipes
●    Stain-remover stick
●    Mini-deodorant
●    Gum or mini-mouthwash
●    Mini-hairbrush or comb

3.    Use recognizable luggage

When you’ve finally arrived at your destination, all you’ll want to do is grab your bag and go, which can get a little tricky when you can’t easily spot your suitcase. If you’re in the market for a new bag, consider purchasing luggage in a unique color or print. Or, if you’re committed to black luggage, try wrapping bright ribbon or tape around the handles. Remember to tack on a unique luggage-tag to avoid any possible mix-ups at baggage claim.

If your luggage does get lost or damaged, Seven Corners has travel insurance protection that can help. Check out how a Baggage and Personal Effects benefit may save you if your items get lost by the airline in all the holiday shuffle.

4.    Save on travel reservations

There are a number of ways to save money on flight tickets. Basic economy is a great cost-saving measure, but it can be a bit of a mixed bag. Sure, the discounted ticket prices are hard to beat, but many airlines charge basic economy passengers for carry-ons and seat selection, and require them to board last. Fortunately, a few work-arounds can make basic economy worth your while.

Depending on your airline, you can also save big by checking a full-sized bag rather than paying for a carry-on. This has a few benefits: if you’re traveling with a companion, you can share a single suitcase with them. If you’re traveling solo, you have more room for clothing and gifts.

In addition to your flights, you can save on hotel bookings. Tools like Purvo will compare room rates and work to find you the best deal. The best part? You can save even after you've booked. So, if you already have your hotel next to grandma's booked, you may still be able to save a few dollars with Pruvo.

6.    Consider TSA pre-check

TSA pre-check is a surprisingly affordable way to keep your airline experience hassle-free. No need to scramble to take off your jacket, remove your shoes, unpack your liquids, or take your laptop out of its case. You can march through quicker lines and reduced security in a fraction of the time with your TSA pre-check access.

7.    Ship holiday gifts

Is there anything more stressful than packing delicate or valuable objects in a suitcase? Save yourself potential heartbreak (or literal break) by shipping holiday gifts directly to your destination. Many online retailers will even wrap the gift on your behalf. You could also consider going digital by purchasing an online gift card, a Groupon, or e-tickets to an upcoming event.

8.    Plan ahead

Whether you’re stuck in gridlocked traffic or you missed your connecting flight, miscalculating your timing can dampen even the happiest holidays. Protect your travel itinerary by building in an extra 30 – 60 minutes into your holiday transportation plans. Even if you arrive too early, you’ll have the option of camping out at a coffee shop, reading a book, checking out local decorations, or going for a walk to kill time — a much better alternative to running late!

9.    Know your leftover limits

If your family is anything like mine, you’ll come away from your trip with lots of leftovers. Remember that efficient food-packing is key. Save space by storing leftovers in freezer bags, and don’t scrimp on the ice — Lifehacker has a great trick for turning sponges into tidy makeshift ice-packs.



As with any travel experience, holiday travel might not always go according to plan. It never hurts to take precautions, whether that’s monitoring local weather, asking someone to house-sit, or buying travel medical insurance . With a little bit of prep-work and a few easy hacks, you can ensure your holiday travels will be something worth celebrating.


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