Holiday Travel Planning Tips
Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's Eve are three of the biggest holidays of the year. I received my first holiday party invitation just last week, which reminds me that people are planning early. If you're traveling or hosting a family or friend get together around the holidays, here are some basic tips:
2-3 months in advance (minimum)
- Research how group reservations work if 10 or more people are traveling together for a holiday.
- Restaurants book up during the holidays and often stop taking reservations when they've reached reservation capacity. Book reservations for your group now for holiday parties and gatherings.
- Holiday travel is one of the busiest times for many airlines. Start looking for flight prices and if you find one in your budget, book it now. Depending on your location, you can look into train travel as a transportation alternative.
- Hotels in major metropolitan areas and beach areas see an uptick in business around the holidays, so book early.
- Create or determine a budget for yourself (for Christmas gifts especially) and stick to it.
- If your trip hinges around one big event such as a New Year's event, purchase tickets as early as possible.
1 month in advance
- If you're hosting guests for big meals such as Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner, etc., plan the courses and make food assignments if necessary (desserts, salads, appetizers, wine, etc.) to share the expense and responsibility. Most guests want to contribute.
- Accommodations for those not staying in hotels or last-minute arrangements for friends/family who weren't able to book in advance. Perhaps you can make arrangements to borrow a neighbor's house while they are away, or book a local B&B that isn't easily discovered on the internet but would make the trip more enjoyable and affordable for some.
- Plan group activities such as area sightseeing, attraction visits, purchasing admission tickets for events such as art exhibits at museums/galleries or theater shows.
- Collect money from everyone and track shared expenses.
- Shop for gifts.
1 week in advance
- Confirm all flight, accommodation, activity, restaurant and train reservations and/or arrangements.
- Final gift shopping.
- Dust off games, borrow games from friends/neighbors, or buy new ones to make time spent with friends and family more enjoyable.
3 days in advance
- If cooking a big meal, get all foodstuffs and start preparing meals early.
- Wrap all remaining gifts. Buy a few extra general gifties (calendar, journal, wool socks, gift certificate to Barnes & Noble) in case someone brings a boyfriend or girlfriend home unexpectedly.
- Clean the house, or if everyone is traveling to a destination, make sure you have a friend or neighbor keeping an eye on your place (collecting mail, watching pets, watering plants, etc.)
- Relax and enjoy the company of friends and family