Whether traveling to see family or traveling just to see a new place, there is good and bad about being on the road during the holidays. We are definitely the type of people who love being surrounded by holiday decorations, cooking special meals, and spending time with people that are important to us, but we haven’t been home over the holidays in four years. This year isn’t going to be any different as we are heading to Chicago to visit our youngest daughter for a few days and then just enjoying the city on our own for a few days. Last year, of course, we were living in Frankfurt and flew to Prague for Christmas. We have also spent the holidays in places as different as Las Vegas and Punta Cana.
Lets get the bad out of the way first. Travel over the holidays is often expensive because so many other people are traveling during the same time. That also means that airports are busier, lines at the counters, security, customs are all longer and slower. Another reason for the longer lines is that people travel during the holidays that don’t normally travel. They aren’t prepared and don’t know what they are supposed to do, which causes problems and delays. We have often told each other that we wish they would create separate lines for those people who travel all of the time and those that don’t travel at all. Restaurants fill up quickly, often need reservations, and sometimes have fixed menus as opposed to a la carte. Depending upon where you are, weather can also be an issue causing flight delays, icy roads, and just generally cold conditions. We probably sound like the Grinch right about now complaining about all of the people and the noise, noise, noise.
There are definitely a lot of good things about travel during the holidays as well. First of all, seeing all of the decorations in different places can be amazing. Many cities have special holiday markets, events, plays, concerts, and parades that can create very special memories. Depending upon where you decide to go, you can actually avoid crowds by traveling to places where other people do not typically go at that time of year. Seeing how other cultures celebrate the season and trying unique holiday foods is something truly special. Once you reach your destination, people seem to be genuinely friendly and happy to share their traditions. You can also find unique gifts for friends and family, especially things that are hand-crafted.
Regardless of your reason for traveling over the holidays, it can be frustrating as well as rewarding. The biggest keys to being successful when traveling during the holidays is to plan ahead, make reservations where necessary, and most of all, give yourself extra time to get to your destination. Also, remember it is the holidays, smile and be nice to people, especially everyone who is there to help or serve you. If you are traveling over this coming holiday, we hope that you have a wonderful trip and there are many more good moments than bad.