Once again, the holidays are right around the corner. Family, gifts, and food are in your sight, but first you have to get there. No one will argue that traveling during the holidays can be extremely stressful and difficult. Whether you are traveling alone or with a family, it is never something to look forward to. Although holiday travel can be a pain, with these tips you can be prepared for the hectic scene and prevent a holiday meltdown.

Book Early

Time moves fast and the holidays can tend to sneak up very quickly. Booking your flight early can save a lot of money and help you plan ahead for rides to and from the airport. It is especially important if you are booking specific travel dates. It is ideal to book flights before Veterans day, after that prices only increase. You don’t want to miss the low prices and direct flights, so it is better to book early and be good to go, rather than paying elevated prices for minimal seats.

Fun Fact: The best day of the week to book flights is Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. Airlines tend to launch sales late Monday or early Tuesday, making Tuesday afternoon the best time to find good flight deals.

Avoid Peak Travel Dates

Each calendar year there are specific dates that are considered peak travel days. This means they are high traffic travel days. Booking flights that fall on non-peak travel days are best. For example, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is a well-known peak travel day so booking a few days before and after will help you avoid travel traffic. Non-peak travel days also tend to be cheaper if you book early enough. Avoiding these day can help you bypass stress and anxiety when traveling.

Take Care of Your House Needs

The last thing you want to be worried about when you go on a holiday vacation is if you remembered to lock your doors at home. Make sure your house is in order before you leave for the holidays. Turn off lights, lock doors, and make sure the stove is off! This can save you stress later on and can put you mind at ease when you step on the plane. Also, make sure you don’t pull a Home Alone and leave without your kids.

The Earlier the Better

It is always better to be early for a flight than late. On a typical (non-holiday) flight, it is best to arrive a couple hours early to account for checking bags and security lines. For the holidays, you want to give yourself even more time because lines are longer, traffic is worse, and weather becomes a factor as well. It is better to get there early and relax at the terminal as opposed to waiting in line while your flight is taking off. It is worth it just to keep your mind at ease in the airport.

This applies to connector flights as well when you are booking. It is best to leave a good chunk of time between flights, just in case your first flight arrives late or there is a lot of foot traffic in the airport.

Pack Smart

If you can avoid checking a bag all together, that is the best move because you can skip the bag check line when you arrive. That is not always the case, but it is good to mention for people who are going on short trips. For carry-on bags it is best to pack light. If you have a full day of travel, you don’t want to lug around a huge bag all day. You want to be prepared, but pack only the essentials. Things like snacks, face wipes, phones, and keys are all things that should be packed in your carry-on bag. Oh, and don’t forget headphones to block out the sound of crying babies.

Finallyโ€ฆ Deep Breath

You will get to your destination in time. Traveling during the holiday may be super stressful and hectic, but eventually you will be able to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and eat loads of holiday food. So take a deep breath and weather the holiday travel storm. Hopefully these travel tips will help you out along the way.