Traveling during the Holidays can be a stressful experience. Crowded airports, long lines and never ending traffic are just some of the pains you’ll experience. If you’re looking for ways to make Holiday travel easier, here are a few tips.

Pick Unpopular Days

It shouldn’t surprise you that 2-3 days before and after a Holiday are busy travel days. People often travel on the same days because they’re trying to set their trip up in a way that uses the least amount of vacation time. If it’s possible, try traveling to your destination around these popular dates by leaving before everyone else and/or coming home later than everyone else. The majority of people will already be at their destinations so the airports won’t be so crowded.

Pack Light

One of the best things you can do to take some stress away from Holiday traveling is to pack light. If you have gifts to bring to your family/friends, ship them beforehand. Limit the amount of stuff you have to physically take with you. In the event of delays or flight cancellations, the last thing you want to do is lug a giant suitcase around while you figure out your next steps. If it’s possible for you to fit all of your items into a carryon or backpack, that’s even better. Keeping your items on your person at all times means you won’t have to worry about your luggage being lost. Light packing reduces the number of things that could go wrong.

Choose Less Popular Airports

Look up your surrounding area and see if you can find a smaller, less popular airport to travel from. An article written for elaborates by saying, “If it’s an option, book your tickets through an alternate airport, a smaller one if there is one not too far away. These tend to be less crowded than main airports, which means fewer delays and sometimes, even cheaper travel options! What’s more, parking or rental cars at the departure or arrival airport might be less expensive as well.” Traveling during the Holidays is much less likely to be chaotic if you have to option to leave out of a smaller airport.

Be Prepared

The simple fact of the matter is that travel can often be unpredictable. Delays, unexpected flight cancellations, inclement weather, car troubles, etc. are all things that are out of your control. If any of these issues come up, you want to make sure you’re prepared. First, it’s important to have a backup plan just in case the first one ends up falling through. If you have no other choice but to fly, delays mean you could be spending many extra hours in the airport. Second, make sure you’re stocked up on snacks and water. These two essentials are going to come in handy when the airport stores close for the night.

Holiday travel doesn’t have to be so stressful. Use these tips to make the experience more enjoyable.