If you live far away from your family or you simply want to combine Christmas with a vacation abroad, you might want to plan your travels more thoroughly than usual. The Christmas period always puts a huge strain on public transport services as thousands of people travel elsewhere over the course of one weekend.
You don’t want to start the festive season on a stressful note. Whatever mode of transport you’re taking, make sure to plan ahead with this simple guide.
Travelling by car
If you’re close enough to your destination to drive, you’re already on a better path than those who have to travel with public transport. However, there are things to watch out for too, especially traffic that can build up within minutes during busy times.
If you have no option but to travel during peak times, make sure you’re prepared with snacks, blankets, a phone charger and maybe an audiobook to keep you from getting bored in a traffic jam. Avoid any accidents too by checking your tyre tread, tyre pressure and oil level before setting off.
Travelling by train
Before you even buy your train ticket, investigate your options regarding flexibility and refunds. If your plans are subject to change, consider opting for full flexibility as buying a whole new ticket will cost a whole lot more.
Trains are especially busy during this time and can be very stressful if not planned for properly. Avoid the risk of having to stand for a long-distance journey by reserving a seat. Make sure you also know where the luggage compartments are, so you don’t block the corridor or take up an extra seat with your bags.
It’s also a good idea to sign up for SMS and email updates regarding delays and cancellations. With the trainlines so busy during this period, trains are often delayed or rescheduled, so it’s a good idea to know about these things in advance.
Travelling by plane
Perhaps the most stressful mode of transport during busy periods, travelling by air can be disrupted at many stages. The key is to stay organised. As soon as you know your plane dates and times, book your transport to and from the airport so that you don’t run the risk of trains and shuttle buses being full. If you’re travelling from Gatwick, the Gatwick express can be booked in advance.
Before you book anything, make sure that your passport is still valid for at least 6 months after your travel date. If it’s not, you will be denied boarding the plane. And finally, know your allowances for luggage and always buy more online if you’re unsure; the high fees at the airport are not what you want right before Christmas.