Traveling in general can be a long, dull, stressful ordeal. Adding in hundreds, perhaps thousands, of extra people crammed airports, bus terminals, and train stations during the holiday season on top of the normal challenges, can make it completely overwhelming. There are steps that you can take to make it easier on you while traveling to visit relatives or just get away on a vacation.

The first thing a smart holiday traveler needs to take into account is the extra number of people traveling. Regardless of whether you’re driving or flying to your destination, odds are that there are several hundred other people heading to the same place you are. Extra traffic on the roads means, what is normally a three-hour drive, might take four hours. The extra people crowding the airport probably will make everything from checking in to going through the airport security screening process a longer process. A good rule of thumb is to figure out how long you think it will take, and then add 25 to 50 percent additional travel time and even more to the time it will take at an airport. For example, if it would normally take you four hours to drive from Grand Rapids Michigan to the Upper Peninsula for your Labor Day camping trip, it is a good idea to add an hour to account for the extra traffic in the cities you drive through and at the Mackinaw Bridge.

The other thing a holiday traveler needs to account for is the weather. Obviously, a flight from Los Angeles to Miami probably won’t have to deal with snow. However, if you are planning on flying into or out of New York, Chicago, or another northern city in the winter, there is a chance of weather delays. Smart travelers plan extra travel time for these possible delays.

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