4 Ways to Make Holiday Travel a Little Easier


It’s an understatement to say that the holiday season is a busy time to travel. New data claims that nearly 47% of Americans will travel in 2022. This is a significant jump, even for pre-pandemic numbers. In 2019, roughly just one-third of people traveled during the holidays.

Despite the large number of aspiring travelers, there’s a lot of lingering concern among them. After all, the pandemic isn’t exactly a thing of the past, and supply chain complications, staffing issues, and pilot shortages hampered travel plans as recently as this past summer.

While it seems some of the excitement of travel has returned, much of that anxiety remains. There are several tips you can follow to make travel smoother, but a great place to start is with a bit of insurance. With travel insurance, you can get peace of mind with a policy that can reimburse you for pre-paid and non-refundable expenses if the trip is canceled for a covered reason.

1. Don’t follow the crowd

While going with the flow can have its benefits, in the case of holiday travel, avoiding the same plans as other travelers can mean sparing yourself headaches and even saving money. The same data that predicts an increase in travel this year also anticipates that, of all holiday travelers, 46% will complete at least part of their journey by plane, up from only 40% in 2021 and 33% in 2022.

Flight cancelations continue to be a concern. Over 125,000 flights were canceled between January and July, with many occurring during the hectic summer. Experts suggest that one way to decrease the chances of hiccups in your schedule if you’re flying is to avoid some of the busiest days, such as the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after Christmas. If you can fly on the holiday itself, you’ll often find greater availability, lower costs, and fewer fellow travelers.

2. Be early

If you’re driving to your destination, taking some time to investigate the traffic patterns along your route with platforms like Google maps can help you avoid delays by predicting what travel times might be like based on historical data. As a rule, conventional wisdom says, “be early.” Depart early and you’re less likely to hit traffic, and if you’re renting a car for travel, be sure to book your reservation sooner rather than later.

For air travel, being early is just as, if not more, important. While travel at other times of the year is sometimes strategically meted out by waiting for last-minute deals, the holidays are different. Because so many travel over such a short period, it’s not always the best plan to delay in hopes of a price reduction. Prices are likely only to increase the closer we get to the holidays. Ultimately there are only a limited number of seats, and the flights at the most desirable times and to the most popular destinations will fill up quickly. Early is a good rule overall for air travel at this time of the year. Early morning flights are less likely to face delays, especially if they’re non-stop.

3. Carry on

If you’re flying this holiday season, consider using carry-on bags instead of planning to check your luggage. This can cut down time at the airport, as you won’t have to stand in sometimes long queues to check your bag. Even in the best of times, there is also the risk of loss or delays, and this past summer, the number of mishandled bags had doubled from the year before.

Even though there have been improvements to industry-wide issues that compounded some of the lost and damaged luggage that plagued summer travel, holiday travel could strain the system again. If you’re traveling with essential items, like gifts, you might consider using carry-on bags.

4. Have a backup plan

This past summer, travel issues and cancelations were complicated by travel stretching over three months’ worth of vacations. During the holiday season, dates are much easier for the travel industry to predict, so experts are hopeful. However, they caution that travelers should still be prepared. No matter how you plan to arrive at your holiday destination, there could be some bumps along the road. Having a plan to adapt to any obstacle can get you back on your way without much lost time.

Plan grace periods between connecting parts of your journey, whether you have connecting flights or need to allow time for the shuttle between the long-term parking lot and the cruise port. Even with the best planning, flights can be delayed, traffic can slow unexpectedly, vehicles can break down, and weather can cause disruptions. Knowing ahead of time what you can do in the event of a potential problem can help reduce stress and give you a head start if circumstances don’t go your way.

Insure your holiday travel

The holidays should be about memories and spending stress-free time with loved ones. While going on a trip can be exciting, it can come with some unexpected surprises. That’s why you should also make a point to talk to Westwood. With travel insurance, you can be reimbursed for the expenses you’ve paid on your canceled trip or a trip interrupted by a covered incident.

If you’re one of the millions of Americans traveling this year, reach out to Westwood today. We’ll help you find the right travel insurance to suit your trip this holiday season.

Please Note: This article is for general informational and educational purposes only. It does not represent any specific insurance policy and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions of any current policy.