I’ve travelled a lot in my life and a good chunk of them were done during the holiday season. Since I moved to Cebu five years ago, I always made sure that I go home to spend Christmas with the family. In fact, I get so excited when December kicks in because it means I could start shopping for gifts and prepare for my trip home.
Anyone who travelled during the holiday season would agree, however, that it can be very stressful. The chaos in airports and ports, the long queues for check-ins, the scarcity of cabs and the exhaustion of carrying your luggage while trying to locate the right boarding gate or terminal – all of these things could happen when you’re travelling during the holidays. But the good news is, most of these headaches are actually preventable with the right amount of preparation.
Here are some tricks that I learned from travelling during this very hectic season and I hope they will make your trip a little less stressful too:
It’s never too early to plan.
I was never a fan of last-minute preparations when travelling. Once the -ber months kick in, I would start putting my holiday game plan together so I’ll have enough time to get everything on my checklist done before my trip. Aside from keeping your trip organised, there are a lot of benefits to planning early. For one, you can book cheaper fares and choose better seats. You can also avoid the anxiety of doing last-minute shopping when the malls are so crowded. There is, of course, the comfort of knowing that everything is set before you travel.
When travelling during the holidays, it’s very important to be as strategic as possible. When choosing the best transportation, for instance, travelling by air seems to be the wisest decision but in my case, it’s not. The airport in Cagayan de Oro is an hour away from the city (and my house) so even if it’ll only be a 45-minute flight from Cebu, I would have to travel by land longer, which will cost me Php200.00 if I take the coaster or around Php800.00 if I take a cab. The expense doesn’t include my cab fare from the house to the Mactan International Airport, which would set me back around Php300.00, not to mention the migraine-inducing traffic that I’d have to go through in the Mandaue area. Taking the boat, on the other hand, costs a lot less and saves me more time. The port of Cebu is located about 20 minutes from my house and the port of Cagayan de Oro is also located in the city centre, which means it’s easier for my family to fetch me or I could just take a cab from there and it would only cost me around Php150.00. Simply put, do your research so you’ll know what your best options are.
I didn’t say pack lightly because it’s actually difficult to do when you’re going back home with a lot of pasalubong and Christmas gifts. And I have to admit, I was never a light packer in my life. I believe in being a smart packer, however. This means bringing the things that you need and want and organising them properly so you won’t have to deal with mishaps later on. For one, I prioritise my luggage. If I have several gifts to bring, then I lessen the clothes I pack. I also make sure that all my things are packed properly. All the gifts go in one bag and the pasalubongs in the other. I label all these bags properly and secure them so there are no accidents in transit.
Double check, double check, double check.
I couldn’t emphasise this more because you simply cannot afford to forget your plane ticket or wallet at home when you still need to go through a lot just to get back home and get them. The day before my trip, I make sure that everything is packed and ready. I also use a small sling bag where I put all my essentials-tickets, wallets, IDs, documents and what not-so I can access them easily. On the day of my trip, I check all my stuff again just to make sure that I’m not missing anything. You might not be a fan of double checking but it really pays a lot to be OC when you travel during the holidays.
Plot your trip day schedule.
On the day of your trip, you can expect a lot of situations that are out of your control. I tried walking from Fuente Circle to the Capitol in search for a cab and almost missed my flight and believe me, I would never want to do that again. Cabs will be scarce during the peak season and you can expect the traffic to be a lot worse, so make sure that you plot your schedule ahead of time. I usually leave home at least three hours before my trip so I have enough time to find a cab and travel to the airport or seaport. Remember, it’s always better to be early than miss your trip.
Do you have any holiday travel tricks too? Feel free to share them in the comment box!
Here’s to a headache-free holiday trip!