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Is the Stress of Holiday Travel Worth It?

By Arpan Josan 

As the holiday season quickly approaches, we see how people celebrate and by finally getting a break from school and work, it’s the perfect time to travel. However, the stress and planning of holiday travel could end up sucking up all of your fun. 

There are many reasons why people choose to travel during the holidays, like escaping the cold weather by going somewhere tropical. For most people, these breaks are the only time they get to do any traveling at all to either see family or experience a new setting. For students, the holiday breaks gives them time away from schoolwork and they can finally put their full focus on themselves. Traveling is a way to disconnect from their everyday lives and enjoy existing. 

Holiday travel is viewed as a way to escape everyday life but the actual journey of traveling during the final months of the year is far from a vacation.

The Christmas and New Years break is undoubtedly some of the busiest times to decide to travel but the packed airports could easily sour your mood for the holiday season. The days before the actual holiday tend to be the busiest as everyone wants to arrive at their destinations by the time the holiday is actually happening. The more people at the airport, the more frustrating it’ll be to navigate through security and get to your flight on time. The excess amount of people could cause disruptions and lines for TSA could be longer than usual. 

Another negative effect of the large number of people traveling is that airfare rates will increase and tickets will be harder to get. This increase in pricing could make you not want to go anywhere at all since you also might not get a seat due to the high number of people trying to get the same spot as you. 

“I think, in general, the cost of travel can be a hassle and it’s easier if there isn’t much travel involved, even though if it’s unavoidable it isn’t the biggest deal,” said freshman nursing major Sophie Nocera.

In order to avoid being put in this position, traveling during off-peak days is more beneficial. Scheduling the flight to your desired destination at least a week earlier and a few days before the holiday can improve your experience at the airport.  

Bad weather can also lead to the stress of traveling. These holiday getaways take months to prepare and can simply be ruined by untimely weather. This sudden cancellation can not only create tension, but your whole mood can turn sour. In the event that your flight does not get canceled, there is still a possibility of delays. This, in turn, causes more time spent in the airport and time wasted as a whole. 

A way to combat this kind of stress is to research and plan ahead of time. According to a 2023 CNBC article by Ana Teresa Sola, “Travelers often procrastinate when it comes to booking. In early October, 85% of Hopper app users who intended to book holiday travel had yet to do so, according to a survey of 500 people. Only 15% of users already booked for the holidays.” 

Traveling with multiple people can also make the journey more stressful. When we take into account the other negative factors when traveling during the holiday season, it can make you more irritable than usual. This may create conflict between you and the people you are traveling with.    

“I think that typically the actual traveling is only a small part of the holiday,” Nocera said. “And if you’re celebrating the holidays with people that really mean a lot to you and make you happy, then it’s worth a little stress.”

The joys of the holidays can easily be sucked away by simply wanting to travel. Although traveling during the holiday season can be stressful, getting time to spend with family and friends can be the key motivation.

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