Skip to content

Real Women Approved: 17 Tips to Make Holiday Travel A Little Easier

tips to make holiday travel a little easier

Well, we’re officially in DECEMBER–AKA, crazy holiday travel month!!

I don’t know about you guys, but when it comes to holiday travel, I don’t exactly have it all together. Traveling over the holidays can be stressful to say the least–(especially schlepping across the entire country to go home). I thought it would be helpful to pull together some tips to make holiday travel a little easier – straight from YOU guys, specifically, because you always have the best advice! This post was originally published last year, but it was so good I thought it was time to refresh it!

Here are 17 awesome tips to implement before, during, and after your trip to make holiday travel as seamless (and even fun!) as possible!


1. Stock up on $5 Starbucks gift cards to hand out to airline, Uber, and Taxi employees: 

How amazing is this tip that Mary shared!? She says, “everyone is so blown away! It’s only $5, but it’s like I gave them $100!” What a nice way to pay it forward for the holidays to people who could really use a pick-me-up! (Not to mention, selfishly, this will likely get you much better airline service and maybe a free drink or two ?).

2. Bring little comforts from home: 

Bringing your own nice pillowcase, mini candle of your favorite scent, and your own slippers go a long way in providing comfort! Sophia says ESPECIALLY not to forget your slippers! “My MOL’s house is always freezing!” she says! ?Danielle suggests bringing a lavender spray to spritz on your pillow as an added de-stresser from home! Rach suggests bringing your own candle!

3. Ship your presents wherever you’re going! 

Several of you mentioned doing this! Why have I never thought of this genius idea? Wherever you’re headed, be it your parents house, in-laws, siblings house, etc–ship your presents there (along with wrapping supplies if you don’t have time to wrap!) so you don’t have to lug all your stuff with you!

4. Keep spare toiletries at your parents’ house (or wherever you’re traveling!): 

Allison shares, “I keep spare toiletries and jammies at my parents’ house so I don’t have to pack them!” Like shipping your presents ahead of time, if you have a family member’s house you visit often, it’s worth keeping some supplies there!

5. Bring wipes for the plane: 

SO many of you suggested this, haha! You never know who sat there before you, so giving the tray table, armrests, and seatbelt a quick swipe will make you feel a lot better. I LOVE these little essential oil wipes and I stash them in literally every crevice (pockets, purses, carry-on bags, etc) whenever I travel. They’re made with essential oil, which is naturally anti-bacterial without all the nasty chemicals that most sanitizers have! Plus, they don’t dry out your hands (and they smell way better, too!)

6. Use this genius lotion packing trick: 

Munazza shared this genius tip: “Pack sunscreen and lotion inside a closed toed shoe so it doesn’t get smashed/compressed and explode everywhere!”

7. Make a list early: 

The most popular tip I received–make a list, and start it several days ahead of time, so you have enough time to think about everything you might need. Cross it off as you pack it, and you won’t find yourself stranded without any socks or deodorant!

This also helps avoid packing a bunch of random clothes only to find that you have nothing to wear when you arrive. (I admit to doing this more than several times, haha!)

8. Always bring snacks: 

Another popular option for the always hangry crowd–if you’re one of those people who is often starving and stranded with nothing to eat, bring your own snacks with you! Trail mix, jerky, and kind bars are great ones to keep on-hand. Ideally, something that has protein, healthy fat, and fiber is ideal to tide you over.

9. Clean your house before you leave: 

I love this trick that reader + travel blogger Kelly shared to ensure you come home to a stress free environment: “I always like cleaning my house prior to travel, that way I have no stress when I get home!”

I can attest to the fact that there is NOTHING worse than running out of time and leaving your house a disaster. It’s the worst to come home to a messy house and an unmade bed! Another idea–if you run out of time, arrange for a cleaning service to come while you’re out of town, that way, that’s one less thing on your to-do list!

10. Book a chiropractor appointment or massage for when you get home: 

I loved this tip that my friend Caroline shared! If you know you’re in for a stressful holiday trip, book a self-care appointment for when you return. You’ll have something to look forward to on your trip, and a great way to de-stress after the madness is over!

11. Bring a travel steamer: 

I was so happy when Danielle mentioned this–I LOVE my travel steamer and always travel with one. This one is great if you aren’t planning to travel internationally ever, but I have this dual voltage one because I blew my first one up in Italy trying to use it with a converter. ????Worth the extra $$ for me to have something that works in all countries!

If my clothes are wrinkled, I feel like a disheveled mess and it makes me VERY cranky, so, speaking from personal experience, bringing a steamer with me has changed my life.

12. Stay in a hotel or Air BnB: 

A few of you suggested this one! Instead of opting to pack in with relatives like sardines, just spring for a hotel. It’s worth the extra money to maintain your personal space and your sanity. Travel sites like Expedia usually offer great last minute deals as well!

13. BYO water bottle: 

Many of you reminded me that hydration is so key to feeling your best, especially before and on the plane, which can dehydrate you even further. Bring your own water bottle so you’re never without water! I really love Swell and Hydroflask bottles!

14. Utilize packing cubes + bags: 

OK, so I personally don’t get the hype about packing cubes–I personally haven’t cracked the packing cube code, but that’s just me! So many of you use packing cubes!

Many of you swear by packing cubes to not only maximize space (these minimizing packing cubes I found at REI look great for saving space, and this other packing cube set is adorable and has 5 star reviews!) but they also prevent your suitcase from becoming a jumbled mess. As we all know, more organization= less stress!

Similarly, quite a few of you guys mentioned that you use little travel bags to separate dirty laundry from clean clothes, or keeping your underwear separate so it doesn’t touch other clothes that might be dirty! (How cute is this little set I found on Amazon for such a steal?!)

Also, Caitlin added another great packing tip: Wear your heaviest coat and largest pair of boots on the plane so you can maximize space in your suitcase.

15. Take inventory of your toiletries a few days out: 

Toni recommends taking stock of all your travel-sized toiletries several days before you leave so you aren’t running around like crazy right beforehand.

16. Give yourself more time than you think you need: 

The holidays are stressful enough, so do if you can take some extra precautions to not ADD to it–you should. This includes leaving MORE time than you need to get to the airport, train station, etc–many of you reminded me of this! You’ll be so thankful in the long run! Have time to kill while you wait for your plane? Check out the best Spotify playlists or best podcasts list for a peaceful wait!

17. Don’t try to please everyone:

Last but not least, I will leave you with Mary’s words of wisdom: Don’t try to please everyone. This is so important to remember. Stay in your own lane, do what you can, but trying to please everyone will never result in a good time for ANYONE.

Want more Real Women Approved posts? Check out 40+ Self-Care Ideas and 40+ Amazing Books to Add to Your Reading List to inject some calm and “me time” into your holiday travels!

I hope these help if you’re preparing for travel over the holidays!