7 Ways to Stress Less During Holiday Travel

Courtney Cross-Johnson
4 min readNov 24, 2016


Greetings from Panama!

It is hard for me to believe that Thanksgiving is tomorrow and that December is next week. I literally screamed when I realized it because things are just happening way too quickly. In addition, with the holiday season here, we are entering into not so friendly times in the travel world. Trust me, I know that holiday travel can be a pain and super stressful, but there are certain things that I do to alleviate that stress. Definitely let me know how you all prepare for holiday travel as well!

1. Arrive EARLY.

I am straight up disrespectful when it comes to respecting security lines. If I have a domestic flight, I will probably arrive to Love Field with less than an hour until my flight. I don’t respect the system. I’ve cut it close a few too many times, but Big Homie is always on my side. ;-) HOWEVER, I don’t play those games during holiday travel. I won’t do it. I’m not stressed out on my normal travel days but during the holiday season, I suppose I buy into the hype that everybody and their mama will be at the airport and I don’t want any problems. I know you hear it a lot, but it brings my heartrate down knowing that once I get through security I have time to pour up a beverage and kick my feet up and watch others run to their gate…because that’s really not cute at all.

2. Dress “comfy chic”.

I love rocking a cute pair of boots / wedges to the airport because I like being taller than everyone, but during the holidays, I take it down a level. There are lots of unexpected twists and turns and I want to be that much more comfortable. I used to be one that refused to fly in leggings, but after my flight to Europe, I learned that it was truly a life changer. I also realized that I’m not raggedy simply because I’m flying in leggings because I can still jazz up the outfit and look presentable. It makes my entire flight experience more comfortable knowing that I can move and won’t feel as constricted (i.e. jeans).

3. Get your life and be organized.

This can be applied to multiple situations. Maybe you are awful at packing and don’t make life easier by rolling your clothes. Maybe all of your travel documents are separate instead of in one compartment inside of your bag. Perhaps all of your travel sized toiletries are spread throughout the bottom of your purse instead of in one simple kit. Whatever it is, organize yourself prior to leaving. I never worry about my toiletries because I keep that pouch stacked with extras. So if I ever have a quick trip out of town to Houston or a flight to catch, that is one less thing to worry about during my holiday travel.

4. If possible, travel the day of the holiday or take the earliest flight out.

Some people would absolutely refuse, but I have no problems taking a flight on Thanksgiving Day / Christmas day, as long as it’s nonstop. Typically, the prices drop (bonus), it’s less crowded (amen), which equates to less stressful holiday travel. If that is not an option for you, suck it up and take the earliest flight. Most people avoid 6am flights like the plague but I don’t mind them since I know there will be less folks to deal with and there is less chance of a delay. Sounds like a win to me!

5. Pack an awesome carry on.

Everybody knows that I’m #TeamCarryOn in general, but I usually have two. My wonderful black Betsy Johnson bag and then either my pink hardcase luggage or my pink duffel bag (sense a theme?) depending on the location. Aside from pure safety measures, I am usually more meticulous about what I pack in the backpack because that’s the one that is really in arm’s reach. I always ask myself “what can you not do without if an emergency happens during this flight?” Whatever that item is, it goes in the backpack. Once I get the serious business out of the way, I can add some fun! Whether it’s libations, a charged iPad, Success magazine, coloring books, a journal, WHATEVER. I make sure that I can keep myself entertained before and during the flight. There’s nothing worse than being stuck on a four hour flight bored AF. No thank you.

6. Nix coffee, drink tea instead.

I love coffee. So much that I often have to make myself fast from it 2–3 times a year just so I get my life back in order. However, when I am in a situation that will trigger stress, I know better than to drink it. It gets me jittery / anxious, and I do not enjoy flying with that feeling. Drinking tea while flying is a much more pleasant experience for me. It’s even better when I bring my own tea (i.e. sleepytime, hello!) so I can drift away faster.

7. Have a cup of patience and throw in a smile.

We get it. There are lot of people moving about during holiday travel and it’s annoying for those of us that “do this”. I can’t even count how many times I rolled my eyes at a gentleman in front of me trying to get through the metal detectors with his keys and a cup of coffee, but Big Homie immediately told me to check myself. It’s a busy time and God bless the airport / airlines’ staff for dealing with holier-than-thou travelers. It’s never a bad idea to smile and you just might be rewarded with an upgrade! Everyone has somewhere to go or somebody to see, so let’s practice empathy during this holiday travel season.

What about you, travelers? How do you stress less during holiday travel? Anything I should add? Where are you headed for the holidays? Let’s chat more about it on the blog.



Courtney Cross-Johnson

Founder, communications fairy godmother, truth-teller, auntie-to-be