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Happy Holidays fellow DISH readers and travelers! It’s that magical time of year again: Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, Festivus (for the rest of us) and New Years. These holidays are all around us. And they all have a few things in common. They are all about spending time with family, eating dinner and shopping for/receiving presents. They all also necessitate the need for travel. Essentially, this time of year is the season for Travel Mayhem!

“Holiday Travel Mayhem” season is the time from Thanksgiving until Three Kings Day in January. The news just loves to sensationalized the anarchy and TSA headaches that occur during this time. If you have to travel during this season, beware! It’s a real challenge to not be a victim of the stress and misery that can happen.

My personal tip is: STAY IN YOUR HOMETOWN! Stay where you are for the holidays if you can help it. Invite everyone over to your place. I know that’s probably not realistic. And really, I’m just being dramatic...mostly. I know family is important and traditionally this is the time of year for all family people to congregate. So hopefully, this guide will help you to be aware of the state of affairs we find ourselves in after Black Friday. My hope is that some of the tips here will help you all get to your destinations. And with some positivity, most of us will make it to our end points safely and with as little drama as possible. Fingers crossed.


Travel Mayhem season is just a swirling mess of chaos. There are some real wackos out there, which we’ve all met at some point in our lives. But hopefully, after the trauma, at least we might have a funny story to tell later. More than half of the northern part of the country will go through random bouts of snow and other forms of winter weather which cause many delays and cancellations. And let’s not forget the rub... There is an enormously large, mind-bogglingly huge amount of people on the roads and in the sky on a journey to be with their far flung families for the holidays. Travel Mayhem during the holidays has become a tradition in its own right as sad as that may be. So we are must find the best way to grin and bear it.

We, many of us, have the need to shove ourselves into tiny tubes with wings and then rocket ourselves through the air to Nana’s house for the holidays. With all that travel, will come some undeniable and sometimes unavoidable headaches. Here is a pocket guide for you to glance over, via your smartphone when you are headed to the airport.

Don’t Book your Flight on the Busiest Days:
This is probably the tip you’ve heard the most. It is common sense to choose days around the time you would like to plan your trip. But there are also peak travel days that you should be aware of and avoid at all costs. It is estimated by that, “Nearly 51 million people will travel 50 miles or more this holiday”. And the worst/busiest most hectic days for travel are the day before Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas Eve. If you travel in the morning on the actual holiday day, you will more likely not be caught up in the craziness.

Consolidate all your articles:
Going to the airport even during the slower
times can be stressful when you have to deal with airport security. During Travel Mayhem it’s like being in line for the line ride. So the best thing you can do to move things along is to condense all of your carryon items to as few things as possible. Travel experts suggest to always bring a coat or jacket so that you can put all your small things, like your phone, boarding pass, and ID in the pockets. Instead of fumbling to grab up all those small things from your respective bin, you can just grab your jacket and your carryon bag and go! And, if you can avoid checking in luggage, that’s all the better for moving right along.

The Power of the Fragile sticker :
If you do have to check some baggage, a neat little hack I learned is to slap a fragile sticker on the outside of your checked bags. This will most likely alert the baggage handlers to be a bit nicer to your bags. But the real hack is that your bags will get placed on top of the pile and be most likely to come out amongst the first few bags on the conveyer belt. You should never actually put anything truly fragile in there just incase they forget to read.

Outsmart Potential Thieves:
Get clever with how you store your valuables like your cash and cards. Keep these things close to the front part of your body. If you’re a woman, use what God gave you and store your important articles in your natural pocket. I have a messed up theory that most female clothing is designed without pockets because clothing designers assume we can just keep everything we need in our boobs. Sigh... But, if you are classier than that, I respect it. On the I saw rolled up bills stored inside an empty Chapstick® tube. No one is going to knowingly steal lip balm. You can also store cards and money inside a pack of chewing gum like 5® or Stride®. Get crafty and use what you have to deter those in search of a five finger discount.

Hidden City Ticketing:
This is a risky hack for only the truly brave and adventurous. Hidden city ticketing can possibly save you a few hundred dollars depending on where you’re flying. Hidden city ticketing is when you book a flight to a less populated city that has a layover in the city you actually want to go to. For example, let’s say you want to fly from Chicago to Atlanta. Well if you instead booked a flight from Chicago to Jacksonville instead with a layover in Atlanta then you would have saved money by booking your flight to a smaller city. It takes research and finess. You can only do it by booking a one way flight and you can’t check any luggage. But if you are brave and looking to save a few smackers, hidden city ticketing may be the thing to try this holiday season. But beware, there are a few airlines that have caught wise of this ticketing trickery and have banned it on their policies.

There you have it, a few airport/airplane hacks to make life a little easier. Your welcome! Now, how can you make that 13 hour long car ride pleasant and joyful? Is that even possible? It might be, just check out these helpful tips for road trips!

Update Your Playlist:
Remember that when you are traveling through miles of interstate and state routes, cell phone towers are not always around when you need them. You don’t want the silence of Pandora buffering its stream to be the soundtrack of your insanity. Preload all your awesome tunes to your phone before the trip and have them on standby for when the service gets spotty. If you don’t, there’s a chance that even the good ole FM radio won’t be able to save you. If you have earbuds with cords that always get tangled; use an office clip to keep the cord wound up and organized.
back seat

Bring the good snacks… they are your Friends:
Gas station food is really bad for you. And chances are, if you are traveling by car, it’s because you were short on the funds to be able to afford a plane ticket.  That means you probably want to spend as little a possible while you are on the road. Get a mini cooler and keep tasty meals in there. Pack your favorite snacks with you. Sandwiches, dried fruits and nuts make great noshing material. Stay fed, and your carpool buddies won’t think you are a whiny diva. And if you want to score more brownie points, don’t be the one who requests a bathroom break that’s not at the same time as a gas fill up. Drink as little liquids as possible so that you pee less.

Also… bring brownies!

Avoid Gridlock:
Planning side routes is a good idea. Google maps GPS makes that so much easier to do. You never know when there will be an accident or construction on your route. But google does! Make it easier on yourself and
travelfamily, and avoid gridlock by not being on the roads during rush hours. Travel late at night or early in the morning and then you will rule the open road! Other travel apps that could come in handy is the GasBuddy app for the cheapest gas stations around you, or SitOrSquat for finding the cleanest bathrooms.

Breathing Room:
Everybody is more comfortable when they have a clearly defined personal bubble. The lines for that bubble get a bit popped when you are stuck in a tiny vehicle with limited physical space. What you need is to breath. One thing you can do to help with breathing has to do with what you wear. Wear stretchy cotton clothes and flip flops so you will stay comfy and your body can breath. Roll the window down periodically to freshen up the air in the car. Pack earplugs, and help yourself catch some zzz’s with a sleeping mask. Think of your happy place when the car times get hard. Take a deep breath, you’ll get there eventually. And don’t make me turn this car around! / Issue 198 - July 2018
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