It’s the holiday season. That means home cooked meals, houses dressed in bright lights, and LOTS of traveling. During this time, more people than usual are on the roads: holiday shopping, family trips, and other festive celebrations keep people constantly on-the-go. About 48,700,000 people travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, and about 100,500,000 on Christmas and New Year’s. With that many people on the road, there are bound to be some accidents.
Every year, hundreds of people die in fatal accidents during the holidays. On average, there are 258 fatal accidents on Thanksgiving and 231 fatal accidents on Christmas. The infographic shown depicts some other deadly statistics surrounding the holiday season. How many of these accidents do you think happen because someone is distracted by holiday decorations or preoccupied by some stress stemming from the festivities of the season? The holidays can be distracting, and sometimes those distractions can be deadly.
Avoiding distracted driving is ALWAYS a good habit, but it is particularly important around the holidays. Keep your season merry and bright with these essential tips on how to survive the craze of holiday traveling.
Ways to Avoid Distracted Driving Around the Holidays
1. Make a List … and Check It Twice (I’m sorry, I had to)
Whether it’s going out to buy food for a holiday gathering, presents for family, or a new outfit that (hopefully) your grandmother won’t complain about, we all make extra purchases around the holidays. Before you leave the house, think about what you are going out for and write it down. You don’t need an accident on your records because you rear ended someone while stressing about what kind of pie to bring to your family party that doesn’t trigger your sister’s new mysterious gluten allergy.
Making lists will not only keep you focused on the road, but it will keep you on track in the store as well. Avoid being sidetracked by flashy lights and enticing advertisements for things you don’t need to buy with a list. Keep your list, stick to your mission, and holiday traffic and festive distractions won’t stand a chance!
2. Shop Online
Avoid both on-road and in-store distractions all at once by shopping online. Stay in your fuzzy slippers and pajamas and get your holiday shopping out of the way without ever leaving your house.
However, getting your packages stolen off of your doorstep is a real threat. Unfortunately, around the holidays, neighborhood thieves like to come out and take packages sitting right in front of your house. Stop the Grinches trying to steal your Christmas by shopping on online and using an Amazon Locker. With an Amazon Locker all your purchases will be shipped to a secure location and kept locked up in an official Amazon storage unit. Your presents will safely wait for you there until YOU pick up your packages, not some random person on the street.
3. Shop at Off Hours
If you’re like my mother, and you just NEED to go to a physical store to buy your holiday gifts, try going at odd hours. Every shopper and their uncle is going to be at the stores after work during the week, or in the afternoons on the weekends. Most stores and shopping malls have special holiday hours, where they are open early, open late, or both. Take advantage of these holiday hours and go shopping early in the morning, late at night, or even on your lunch break during the workweek. You will get more from your list done when you aren’t drowning in a sea of shoppers.
At some stores you can even call ahead and have them gather your items FOR YOU. You can call a store on your way to work, swoop in and grab your gifts, and get your shopping done before it’s time to punch in.
4. Drive with a Buddy
Not only are the stores distracting around the holidays, but the roads are too. Trees lining the streets are wrapped in twinkly lights, some houses have those giant blow-up Christmas decorations that you just have to admire, and so many cars have those semi-ridiculous reindeer antlers on their windows that you love to hate. Part of the holiday experience is taking in these festive additions.
Take the time to appreciate your surroundings by driving with a friend. Take turns driving so one of you can stay focused on the road while the other one soaks in all the holiday magic. Make a game out of it and see who can spot the most cars with one reindeer antler missing, I’ve definitely been that car before.
Not only can the holidays be distracting, they usually get pretty expensive as well. For Christmas alone, the average round-trip plane ticket costs about $435. Scary fact: that single plane ticket is more than the new Nintendo Switch you’re asking for. Saving money around the holidays is essential. Don’t spend any more than you need to when traveling for the holidays: here’s a few tips so you can be home for Christmas … not just in your dreams.
Ways to Save While Traveling Around the Holidays
1. Book Your Flights EARLY to Get a Cheaper Flight for the Holidays
In my opinion, it’s never too early to start thinking about the holidays. Typically, the farther away from the date of the holiday, the cheaper plane tickets, and hotel reservations will be. Plan your Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s holiday early … like during the summer. You’ll spend less money on your holiday trip and it will give you something to look forward to all year long!
2. Travel ON a Holiday to Save Money on Airfare
It sounds obnoxious, but hear this out. The holidays are really about being with your family, right? So, who cares if you celebrate Christmas on December 25th or on December 28th? As long as you are with your family, the day of the week or the number on the calendar really doesn’t matter. Try traveling on the actual day of a holiday to save some money, and still celebrate your holiday with the family, just a little later.
Not only will you save money on travel expenses by traveling on the day of a holiday, but you will probably also skip out on the chaotic herds of stressed out holiday travelers. Avoid the added expenses and added stress by traveling on the day when most people aren’t traveling.
3. Travel WITH Your Family (This one might take even more convincing …)
While it might NOT seem like a wise choice to be in the car with your sister for 5 consecutive hours in order to drive to your parents’ house, it is probably the smartest option. If you and other members of your family are both traveling to the same place for the holidays, try traveling together. You can split the cost of gas, which will save both of you money. Who knows, maybe you two WON’T annoy each other at all. Sometimes Christmas miracles can happen.