Avoid These 5 Travel Mistakes This Holiday Season

Whether you’re visiting family in a winter wonderland or jetting off on a tropical vacation this holiday, preparation is key to making any trip its best. As you finalize your schedule, plan your activities, and set your “out of office” replies, there are a few things to be sure you DON’T do leading up to departure. Travel can be stressful—especially during the holidays when the airports and highways are packed—so avoid any extra stress by steering clear of these five common travel mistakes.

1. Packing things you won’t need

If you’re an overpacker, you know that most of the time, you won't need half of what’s in your suitcase. Pack better by checking the weather first, to be sure you have what you need and not what you don’t. Bulky jackets and boots take up a lot of space. Try to pack coordinating outfits to mix and match. Reuse pants or jeans on multiple days, if possible. Overpacking during the holidays is a travel mistake that is especially problematic when you receive gifts from family or friends. If there’s no space in your already stuffed-to-the-max suitcase, you might have to leave your goodies behind or pay extra for an overweight bag.

Check out these packing tips to get the most out of the space in your carry-on. Remember, if you are in dire need of something you didn’t pack, chances are you’ll be able to purchase it at the airport or at a store at your destination.

2. Not updating your identification and passports

One of the most devastating travel mistakes is arriving at the airport only to find out your passport or other identification is expired. Plan to renew your passport months ahead of its expiration. Renewals are taking longer now and there is no overnight fix. In fact, it may take a few weeks for it to process.

TSA will accept driver’s licenses as a valid form of ID up to one year past their expiration date, but it’s better to just make sure you have an up-to-date license now rather than putting it off.

3. Overscheduling your time

The plane lands at 4 p.m., so a dinner reservation at 6 p.m. sounds doable, right? Not necessarily. In most cases, that’s a bit overambitious. Don’t make the travel mistake of overscheduling yourself and causing stress you don’t need. Build buffers into your schedule to accommodate the things that may take longer than expected during travel days. Weather delays, lost or delayed luggage, and long lines at customs can add substantial time to your journey. Do yourself a huge favour and schedule important events and activities for non-travel days.

4. Not reviewing packing rules

One of the biggest rookie travel mistakes is packing items for airplane travel that are on the no-fly list. You don’t want to pay extra for exceeding luggage weight and size limits or get pulled out of the TSA line for having full-size toiletry items. Save yourself the hassle of having to throw away your shampoo by checking out TSA’s regulations on liquid limitations before you pack. Plus, if you’re flying with multiple airlines, make sure you’ve researched each company’s baggage fees and rules.

5. Flying during peak travel days

One of the most common travel mistakes is paying too much for your flight. It will cost more to travel during the days immediately leading up to or following a holiday. With so many people travelling during this time of year, airlines are known to increase flight prices for optimal travel days. In order to avoid inflated rates, book your travel for a weekday instead of on the weekend. If you must travel during peak travel days, consider getting TSA precheck to make getting through security quicker and easier.

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