With flight delays, crowds, over-spending and bad weather, it can be hard to see the good in holiday travel. Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s usher in a season of bah humbug travelers. As one of the most heavily traveled times of the year, most of us trudge through holiday travel and lose our minds in the process. In hopes of spreading a bit more holiday travel cheer this year, we have rounded up a few ways you make traveling this holiday season less of a headache.

If You Haven’t Booked Your Travel, Do it NOW

Most of us bemoan holiday travel due to the added costs involved. You will save yourself the inevitable pocketbook shock if you book your holiday travels now. Starting from Halloween on, ticket costs are only going to escalate. Each day you wait will mean more money and a worse seat on that already full flight. If you book your flights now, you can save some cash, select from better days and maybe even score a more appealing seat on the plane than the last middle seat in the back. Those traveling by air should look for non-stop flights if you can to avoid getting tangled up in delays. See if you can also fly on off peak travel days to lessen the crowds you’ll have to deal with and try to fly out earlier in the day before those winter weather delays snowball into cancellations of later flights.

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If Going by Car, Get a Tune Up Now

Some skip the chaos of the airport to go by car instead for the holidays. Rather than having that ill-timed breakdown on the way to Grandma’s house, take your car in for a tune up now. You should have a mechanic check your tires, breaks, oil and anything else that might be a concern when driving a considerable distance in wintry conditions.

Send Gifts Ahead of Time

Packing gifts creates one giant headache during holiday travel. If you wrap them, security might make you unwrap that gift for Aunt Susan to see what’s inside. In addition to being rifled through at airport security, gifts also take up precious space in your luggage. When you are packing mostly bulky clothing items, there isn’t always room for gifts. Save yourself the stress of wrapping and packing gifts by sending them ahead of time. You’ll eliminate weight in your luggage and the worry of getting everything there in one piece.

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Start Eating Well Now, Exercise and Get a Flu Shot

Arriving sick to Uncle Bob’s house or catching a cold in the airport during holiday travel is enough to ruin Thanksgiving dinner. There are several things you can do to minimize your chances of getting sick around the holidays by picking up something in the airport or a rest stop. Start by eating well leading up to your travels. Exercise regularly and, if you wish, get a flu shot to cut back your flu risk. On your travel days, wash your hands often with soap and water and resist touching your eyes, mouth, nose and ears.

Purchase a Day Pass to an Airline Lounge for Travel Days

Most airlines have lounges in which you can purchase a day pass. Airports around the holidays often equal annoying crowds. While airline lounges can also crowd up, you will at least find more comfortable seating, more convenient charging locations and free food and drink. Treat yourself to make the extra time you have to spend in the airport more bearable and relaxing.

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How do you deal with holiday travel? Share your tips with us in the comments below.

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About The Author

Suzy Guese

Suzy Guese is a travel writer from Denver, Colorado. She caught the travel bug after taking her very first flight at just three months old—she was headed for Disney World—and has been a total travel junkie ever since. From family car trips across North America to stints abroad in Europe, Suzy travels the globe with her redheaded temperament in search of sarcasm, stories, and travel tips to share with anyone willing to listen. She blogs about her travels at http://suzyguese.com.