The holidays are here! Are you traveling during the holiday season? You may be heading to see you family or flying to the Caribbean to escape the cold. You are not alone. This is the busiest time of year for traveling.

My family and I travel more than 200 days of the year. We know how stressful traveling can be, especially over the holiday season. We wanted to share some holiday travel tips to make your travels merry and bright.

Reservations, Reservations, and More Reservations

During the holiday season, you want to make sure you have reservations for everything. Be sure you book your reservations before you leave home. This can include your hotel, car rental, airport parking, dining reservations, shuttles, and more. Something as simple as making a reservation for airport parking will save you time and stress.

Have Contacts Ready to Go

Before you leave home, make sure you have contacts for your trip. I always have phone numbers (including toll free numbers) for the airlines, car rental, hotel, trip insurance, credit card company, cell phone, and more. That way you are ready to go, if you have any challenges.

Not only do I have phone number contacts, but I also add apps to my phone from all of the suppliers that I booked. Most of the time, it is faster to contact support through an app versus calling by phone.

I also add a last minute hotel app to my phone. I use a travel agent and always pre-book my reservations. However, there is always the chance of a hotel overbooking situation, especially this time of year. If I show up to a hotel and they are overbooked, I have an app on my phone ready to book another property.

Having contacts and apps ready to go will help if anything happens during your travels.

Leave Lots of Extra Time

You are not the only one traveling this time of year, so plan ahead. Leave lots of extra time to get to the airport or to get from your hotel to your dinner reservation. Everything is super busy this time of year, so having that buffer is a huge help—and takes away some of the stress.

Pack Light

We know this is a tough one during normal travels. Over the holiday season, you also have to factor in the added Christmas presents. Ship your presents and toys before you leave home. It actually may be less expensive than luggage fees.

In addition, packing light means you can carry on your luggage versus checking it. This can save you a lot of time before and after your flight. Plus, you are guaranteed to have your luggage once you arrive to your destination.

If you do bring any presents in your carry on luggage, be sure you do not wrap them. TSA security may unwrap them for you. Plan on having unwrapped presents and wrap them when you arrive.

Take Advantage of Online Check-In

Take advantage of online check in for everything. You can check in online for your airline or your hotel. The online check in is especially important for your flights this holiday season. The lines at the airline counters are going to be long. If you take a few minutes and check in online, before you arrive to the airport could save you a lot of stress.

Sign Up for Hotel Rewards Programs

If you booked a hotel for your holiday travel, spend a few minutes and join their loyalty program. Even if you only use the loyalty program for this one trip, it could still save you some time or money. Some loyalty programs include priority check in or free WiFi. Spend a few minutes to join the program and attach your loyalty number to your reservation, before you leave home.

Travel with Your Family Survival Kit

Before you road trip or head to the airport, create a survival kit. As a mom, this is what I call our backpack of snacks and activities. I always carry a bunch of snacks for the family, along with fully charged computers, gaming consoles, and smartphones. We even bring backup chargers, just in case all of the outlets at the airport are full. I usually pack cards or games—such Heads Up—to play as a family. Playing as a family usually makes the time go a little bit faster. This way you will have happy travelers.

Follow the Rules

If you are flying, double check the current TSA requirements in your airport. Each airport is slightly different with their rules. At least, this is what we have found during our travels. Double check the requirements for your airport.

The security lines will be super long. I witness travelers get through the long line to find out they left a water bottle in their bag or they have a shampoo larger then the required amount. The TSA removed the item and then made them get in line to go through the scanner again. This does happen all of the time and can be super stressful. Be sure you follow the TSA rules before heading to the airport.

Download a Traffic App

If you are driving to your destination, add a traffic type app to your phone, such as Waze. We love the Waze app! We put close to 30,000 miles on our car every year. This app helped us save a lot of time by routing us around stopped traffic or accidents.

Get Up Early

I know this is your vacation and you want to sleep in. On your travel days, get up early. Most travelers are on the road during the day. Get up early to get a head start on all of the other travelers.

Just Go with It

Finally, one of my best holiday travel tips is “go with the flow!” Things will happen during any travels. Just remember whatever happens will be something that you will laugh about during future holiday dinners.

Do you have any holiday travel tips you want to share? Leave a comment with your favorite travel tip.