5 Easy Travel Hacks for the Festive Season
The festive season means holidays, quality time spent with loved ones, gifts under the tree and people coming together. Whether you’ve chosen to spend your holiday in South Africa or are venturing overseas in search of a white Christmas, there’s no denying that a little extra preparation has to go into festive season travel plans. To make sure that everything goes off smoothly and you can focus on the festivities, here’s our top travel hacks.
If you’re going to a cold climate…
Make sure to order some cold weather clothes ahead of time. Loads of South Africans aren’t properly kitted out for winter overseas especially if it’s going to be wet and snowing. You can buy gear here of course, but it will generally be more expensive. Our best tip is to send your holiday gear ahead of you. Pack basics in South Africa such as underwear, socks, jeans, and a couple of jerseys and tops. Then, get base layers, thermals, and a proper winter jacket (a waterproof one!) delivered to your hotel. Remember to get waterproof and warm shoes; soggy, wet feet will kill your holiday quicker than you can blink.
If you’re going to a warm climate…
You can still send clothes ahead. However, we tend to have a pretty warm climate ourselves and are usually geared up for this. One of the biggest benefits of warm weather holidays is that you can usually get away with packing much lighter and smaller suitcases because your clothes are thin and less bulky. Remember to pack a pair of shorts in your hand luggage if you’re flying; it’s always cold on the plane but there’s nothing worse than stepping off the tarmac into boiling heat with nothing to change into until you reach your destination!
If you’re flying…
Airports are crowded and flights are full over the festive season, which means that travellers can sometimes run into unexpected delays. Hopefully your travel will be seamless but to make sure that you have a stress-free experience regardless, follow these rules:
• Go for bags which are light and easy to manoeuvre so that if you do have to rush to make a tight connection, you’ll won’t be stuck lugging a 40kg suitcase that can’t roll next to you!
• Always, always keep your expensive and important items in your hand luggage (car and house keys, cameras, phones, etc)
• Pack a change of clothes into your hand luggage in case your bag is lost or delayed
Bonus points if you can manage to travel with only hand luggage – that way you’re always nimble!
If you need to bring gifts…
As much as you can, don’t bring them. It can be hard with kids or if you’re off to see distant relatives, but do keep in mind that gifts will often need to be flown back or put in a car for a long drive. Space-conscious gifts are best in this regard, so you’ll have to get creative. You could also order online for delivery to your friends and family directly. Even better, gift experiences; concert tickets, movie passes, date nights, trips to the zoo or our personal favourite – airline tickets and weekends away!
Wherever you’re going…
Unless you’re staying somewhere that includes dinner, remember to make some reservations for restaurants in advance. Places everywhere fill up very quickly over the festive season and part of the joy of travel is getting to try new foods and not having to do dishes! You’ll also rest easy knowing that you’ve found places to eat that everyone will enjoy and which get positive reviews. If you have family members or travelling companions with dietary requirements, it’s even more crucial to make sure that you’ve done your research and have a few options lined up in advance.
Try to travel to and from your destinations outside peak hours and days wherever possible. Sometimes that might mean taking a New Year’s Day flight or sacrificing a couple of days at your destination to drive through later and miss the traffic and the crowds – if these are compromises that you can live with, you’ll often have a much smoother experience getting to and from your destination. Nothing kills the holiday spirit more than schlepping around for hours with angry and frustrated travellers
And that’s it! Safe travels!