Resist the urge to be productive and thoughtful by wrapping your gifts before you fly. The wrapping paper can rip and tear, and TSA agents might even ask you to open a gift to see what’s inside, which spoils your gift-wrapping work. Now all you need to do is pack the wrapping paper.
Airline food sucks, but you have to eat it so you won’t be hangry on your flight. Or do you? TSA allows a surprising number of foodstuffs, including a whole cooked turkey or live lobster. A more reasonable item that’s also allowed is instant soup. Once you’re seated, just ask for hot water from the flight attendant, pour it in your ramen bowl and enjoy a meal that warm your bones this dark and cold December. Instant oatmeal is another good choice.
Shrink your stuff with packing cubes
Why you need it: Possibly the best travel hack of all time
Most airlines have strict bag limits, and no one wants to bring more bags than they need. Packing cubes are essential if you want to cram your items into one bag, and experienced travelers say they're 100% necessary. Once you try them, you’ll never go back.
It seems like whenever you need your charger, it’s impossible to find. Maybe you forgot it, or maybe it’s buried in your bag. Who knows? Bring a keyring charger instead. All you have to do is keep it on your keyring, plug the USB cord into your laptop and you’re good to go. No more scrambling to find the right charger.
By the time the holidays start, we’re deep into cold season — and the stress of holiday travel makes it worse. Stave off sickness before it hits with Emergen-C drink supplements. They help boost your immune system and taste pretty good, too.
Some budget airlines only allow one personal bag. What many people don’t know is that personal items can still be pretty big: 18 inches by 14 inches by 8 inches. Not only does this bag fit the personal bag dimension rules, it has loads of pockets and a great rolling feature.
Remember the briefcase Mary Poppins had that magically held everything? As long as you’re a fairly light packer, you’ll be able to take everything you need in this handy, sturdy backpack. It has a seemingly endless amount of space and loads of extra pockets. Plus, the padding keeps it comfortable to wear, even if you’re rushing from terminal to terminal.
Nervous flyers highly recommend peppermint oil for its soothing effects. Plus, nothing puts you in the Christmas spirit like the smell of fresh mint. Just be considerate of grinches who might loathe the smell of peppermint in their snouts.
If your holiday travels include driving your car, you don’t want to find yourself without an ice scraper. So go ahead and buy this scraper now.
If you hate waiting in line at airport security (and who doesn’t?), then sign up for TSA PreCheck. It costs $85 and lasts for five years. You’ll be able to skip the regular line and go straight to the PreCheck line. If that doesn’t boost your holiday cheer, we don’t know what will.
No, not a sleeping tablet. An Amazon tablet. If you’re a nervous flyer, it’s best to stay occupied during the flight. This affordable tablet is an excellent way to zone out and stay entertained. Read your favorite books, watch your favorite movies, listen to music and play games. It’s not the most advanced tablet out there, but it gets the job done. Plus, the battery lasts for up to 10 hours. That’s long enough for a flight from New York to Honolulu.
If you’re taking a road trip to your holiday destination, you’ll probably be using GPS to get there. But if you want to stay off the grid for a bit and spend some quality time with the family, there’s nothing better than a good old-fashioned paper map.
The 24-hour rule is cool
Did you know that almost every airline lets you cancel a ticket within 24 hours of buying it, absolutely free of charge? You can also opt to hold the tickets without paying for them for 24 hours. This is a great option if you’re hesitant about buying a ticket but don’t want to lose out on a spot. The main caveat is that this only applies to tickets bought at least one week before your scheduled departure. You also need to make sure the departure location and arrival destination are in the U.S. Book directly with the airline rather than through a third-party site, or the rule may not apply.
Tom Rains graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 2014 with a master’s degree in Professional Writing. Tom’s passion for delivering quality content fuels him to provide consumers with accurate, well-researched information on major life purchases.