Ever since the first Home Alone movie, there's been a certain stress attached to travelling at Christmas. Whilst you may feel confident in your ability not to leave a child behind, the very real prospects of increased prices, full hotels and busy airports are enough to put most people off travelling during the season of goodwill and at other peak holiday times. Don't let them.
Knowing the right locations, the best times to go, and planning ahead can take the hassle out of Christmas travel, and give you the relaxing festive break you deserve.
1. Do your research
All successful holidays involve pre-planning, but this is all the more important when travelling at peak time. There are two top priorities you should consider:
- Where to go: If you're still deciding on a destination you might want to consider a country where Christmas isn't such a big deal. Places such as Thailand and Vietnam offer unforgettable experiences in affordable locations, without the Christmas crowds.
- When to go: Picking the right days to travel around Christmas is key to saving money. Most believe that Christmas or New Year's Day are the cheapest options, but in fact that honour belongs to Christmas Eve, according to research by Finder. December 21st is another cheap option, but beware that prices rocket on Boxing Day, and remain high until New Year's Eve.
When your research is complete, book in advance to avoid the rising costs that come with peak season travel. Prices can even double during busy holiday periods, so don't leave it until the last minute.
2. Avoid the queues
Even if you're staying off the beaten track this Christmas, you still need to fight through the busy airports. Or do you?
Here's how to tackle airports during the holidays:
- Check in online - This will mean one less queue when travel day comes, and will speed up your journey through customs.
- Think about parking - If you're getting to the airport by car, don't leave parking to chance. Reserve a spot at the same time you book your flight to avoid disappointment.
- Arrive early - Despite checking in online, you still want to get to the airport a little earlier than you would for a normal holiday. Queues for bag drop and security are likely to be long, so give yourself time.
3. Won't somebody please think of the presents?
If you're bringing the tribe with you they're unlikely to understand a lack of presents just because Christmas isn't celebrated in Bali.
To avoid tears on Christmas Day, don't leave anything to chance. Where possible avoid putting presents in checked-luggage, and in instances where this simply can't be done, label your bags clearly to avoid mix-ups on the carousel.
4. Consider a package deal
There are a number of key benefits to choosing a bundle option when travelling at peak times:
- It can save you money: Buying flights and accommodation in combination can radically reduce costs.
- There's less planning for you: Your representative can help with potentially difficult considerations such as finding cheap but practical connecting flights.
- You have access to pre-planned activities: Many package holidays include activities to suit all ages and are often exclusive to hotel residents.
- There's always space in the restaurant: When the little ones are hungry, they're hungry. Nothing is more disheartening than walking from full restaurant to full restaurant during busy periods, so having the resort eatery as a more than ample fallback offers an important safety net.
Wherever you plan to travel this Christmas, these tips are sure to make your holiday one of merriment and cheer. For more advice on how to book the perfect Christmas getaway, reach out to the team at Hoots today.
For more travel tips check out our holiday destination guides.