From when to buy flights to how to stay healthy, these tips and tricks will make the season less stressful.

These Are the Only 5 Travel Hacks You Need This Holiday Season

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ARLINGTON, VA - NOVEMBER 27: Passengers move through Ronald Reagan National Airport on the day before the Thanksgiving holiday, November 27, 2019 in Arlington, Virginia. Both the American West and Midwest are facing significant weather events that could impact travelers. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Believe it or not, holiday travel season is upon us. Though the airline catastrophes that plagued last year’s holiday season are unavoidable, there is plenty you can do to make sure your trip to visit family and friends is as stress-free and affordable as possible. Here are my tips for how to have a safe, healthy, and seamless journey.

Woman Looking Out Airplane Window

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1. Book Flights Now

Knowing when to book your flights has always been a bit of a guessing game. Thankfully, Google Flights recently released new features on their app, allowing travelers more seamless access to data on when is the best day and time to book flights. They also released insights regarding holiday travel that indicates now is the time to be booking. For trips starting in mid-December, Google found that the best time to book is around late October, so the time to book is, well, ideally last week but realistically, now. And, they released that average prices tend to be lowest 71 days before departure—a big change from their 2022 insights, which found that average prices were lowest just 22 days before departure. And the typical low price range is now 54 to 78 days before takeoff.

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2. Stay Healthy

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Holiday travel can wreak havoc on our immune systems. From the stress of the trip itself to being around family 24/7, it can take a toll. When I touch down, the first thing I try to do is get in a gentle yoga session or a quick run. Then, I make sure to pack along some of these probiotic supplements to keep my gut in order, especially with all the holiday treats that are in store. And to keep sleep regular, I always pack an eye mask and ear plugs.

Photographer carries Mission Rover backpack

Thomas J. Story

3. Carry-On Only

There are so many reasons why I literally never check a bag, no matter how long the trip. You save hours not waiting for your baggage, plus the threat of losing it is practically eliminated. Our editor-in-chief swears by this Mystery Ranch duffel, or if you’re more into the ease of hard-side rollers like I am, the Monos Carry-On Plus, made in Vancouver, is an awesome option. While I could easily make the case for splurging on these brands, if you’re after something great and more affordable, American Tourister is a U.S.-made brand that we can stand behind, and their carry-on options are under $70 on Amazon. Want tips on how to pack in a carry on, every time? Check out my guide here.

Super Snacks

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4. Pack Lots of Snacks

Airport food is expensive, and it’s never really that good. And much as we love a Bloody Mary at an airport bar, it’s certainly not health food. (Yes, even though it’s tomato juice.) Since airlines rarely give complimentary meals and snacks on domestic flights these days, it’s always smart to pack something to eat. That way, if you get hit with delays, you don’t have to add being hangry to the list of problems. Rather than just throwing an energy bar into your bag, why not make something you’ll look forward to on your journey, like this super easy s’mores trail mix, a pressed Italian sandwich, or these peanut butter oat bars?

wearing mask at the airport

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5. Wear a Mask

Sure, we might not be in the peak of a pandemic. But that doesn’t mean that germs aren’t pervasive when traveling, especially in airports. Masking up can help prevent even the common cold. Who wants to bookend their trip with getting sick, after all?

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