Expert Advice: The Secrets of Surviving Holiday Travel

By  December 12, 2013

julia cosgrovveWhether your holiday plans consist of traveling by car, train, or plane, one thing’s for certain: getting to your destination is going to take some extra work. It’s one of the busiest season on the roads and in the sky after-all. Lucky for us, Julia Cosgrove, the Editor-in-Chief of AFAR Media, is here to help. As the VP of the experiential travel media company, whose magazine was recently awarded “Hottest Travel Magazine” by Ad Week, Cosgrove knows a thing or two about getting where you need to go in one piece. Don’t let crowds and frigid weather keep you planted this holiday–read on for her insider tips!

1. “Don’t be afraid of asking for help and recommendations on the road. People love sharing their favorite places to go in their hometowns. Cab drivers, baristas, bartenders make for great sources.”

2. “For road trips, I always encourage travelers to take the less-traveled routes, in the U.S. and abroad. It’s on those off-the-beaten-path trips that I usually discover great local spots.”

3. “Prepare for your trip by making your own customized itinerary at AFAR.com. We’ve got thousands of recommendations of personal experiences all over the world.”

4. “I’m a big fan of Global Entry, which lets me speed through customs. Membership is waived with an American Express Platinum card, and also entitles you to enroll in TSA Pre, which allows you to bypass long security lines-and keep your coat and shoes on.”

5. “I always book the earliest flights and the earliest trains, to decrease the chance of delays. And, of course, stick with one airline to get early boarding and upgrade perks.”

6. “When I’m well-organized, I pack two nights before leaving, and then spend the night before editing down and taking stuff out of my suitcase.”

7.  ”Sign up for TripIt to get flight alerts sent to your phone.”

8.  ”Only check bags when absolutely necessary. I use a four-wheeled, 20-inch Victorinox suitcase that’s the right size for the perpetually-stuffed overhead bins.”