Here's How You Cope With Holiday Travel And Traffic

Here's How You Cope With Holiday Travel And Traffic

Top tips for keeping yourself sane in the next two weeks

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Some of you may be fortunate enough to stay put for the remainder of 2021, but a great many more of you, myself included, will not be so lucky. Depending on how far you have to go and when you’re making your trips, the travel may suck.

Earlier today, we asked y’all how you deal with that less-desirable aspect of the holiday season, and you supplied us with some very thoughtful and calming answers. Let’s hear ’em.

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Set Reasonable Expectations

Set Reasonable Expectations

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1. Don’t travel. Actually being contrarian helps everywhere.

2. If traveling, remember that time is relative. Thus under no circumstance assume that holiday travel is “normal” travel time. Completely ignore “time” don’t try and “make time”. It happens when the universe makes it happen.

3. Become a transportation profession (doc is not required but it helps) and this this time is an interesting and entertaining exercise happening in a very uncontrolled lab accident experiment.

All good recommendations from the ’ol Doc here but it’s #2 that speaks to me the most. It is not a normal time of the year, therefore it’s wrong to have normal expectations.

Suggested by: FutureDoc

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“The Lumberjack” by Jackyl

“The Lumberjack” by Jackyl

It’s hard to tell because the video quality is poop but this man is playing guitar with a chainsaw.
It’s hard to tell because the video quality is poop but this man is playing guitar with a chainsaw.
Screenshot: Jesse James Dupree

Echoing the “don’t crowd”.

That being said, I did travel years ago for Christmas when I was a single guy and my family was mainly about 600 miles away.

In one of the trips, my car blew up. Me and a friend borrowed my parents car and drove back. We drove back without stopping and listened to the radio to stay awake. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a CD player and we were stuck on whatever the local fill in DJ wanted to play at 3 am in the middle of nowhere.

And every fill in DJ wanted to play “The Lumberjack” by Jackyl. We must have heard that song 90 times during the trip. And we laughed every time we heard it. It got to be so goofy. 30 years later, those are my memories of that trip.

And that’s something to remember when if you HAVE to travel. Looking back, you will have a lot of memories of the trip, not just the visit. The time you got stuck in an airport waiting on a flight and spent 30 minutes watching a 70 year old wearing a unicorn horn wander around in flip flops that would scream at people for staring at her. The flight were somebody brought a cat in a duffle bag that spent the entire flight puking and thinking how much fun that would be for the owner.

I too associate songs with long trips. By the end of the trip I hate the song, but by the time two or three years have passed, it’s grown on me.

Also, what the fuck did I just listen to?

Suggested by: hoser68

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Chill Out

Chill Out

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Lmao oops it seems the average Jalop is anti-social. Yeah guys “don’t travel” is great advice, real helpful stuff.

Anyway, after having to drive all over the southeast for work, I’ve found that taking a long drive is vastly improved by slowing down a bit. I pick a speed somewhere between the quickest folks in the left lane and the folks in the right (it’s still usually above the speed limit because US highway systems are nutso) and stick to it as best I can. I find that people going faster get out of the way and have big gaps behind a gaggle of ‘em that leave the road open to pass the slower people so the whole experience is much smoother. When things slow down, I leave big gaps and coast as much as possible to avoid the rippling of brakes that happens behind people who are off and on their brakes in slow highway traffic. You gotta be going a long way at consistent speeds for 10 or 15 extra mph to make a difference so just chill, be water, you’ll get where you’re heading. And y’know if the road opens up then feel free to go back to your regular highway speeds.

You can’t lose if you don’t play the game!

Suggested by: knappsterbot

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The Wonder Of Technology

The Wonder Of Technology

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Image: Renault

Adaptive Cruise Control and some good podcasts.

I have about 6-7 hours of driving to do on Christmas eve. Finish work at 5pm.... in theory. Got to drive back home (probably 1 hour, even though it’s only 30 miles and is mostly motorway), collect my husband, and drive the 220 miles to my parents. They live in a fairly rural part of the country so the final 50 miles or so take quite a while.

ACC just makes everything easier on these sorts of trips. Just set it on, and all you have to do is steer (my car doesn’t have lane assist). Something like Tesla’s ‘Autopilot’ would be even better.

This is what adaptive cruise control was made for.

Suggested by: vc-10

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Grow Up To Be A Debaser


Grow Up To Be A Debaser

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Image: Pixies

Put on the Pixies and zone out.

Just don’t drive your car into the oceaaa-uh-uhn.

Suggested by: DeWaynev8

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Just Wait!

Just Wait!

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There’s usually no traffic after midnight unless it’s construction or a car accident. I don’t have to worry about it taking 14 hours to drive from reno to san francisco anymore. It only takes 4 hours.

No plans are solid enough that I can’t wait out the traffic in comfort.

Remember: You can decide your terms of engagement.

Suggested by: kalieaire

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...And Drink

...And Drink

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I generally try to time my travel such that it is more bearable. Flying on Christmas morning is a lot less packed than Christmas Eve. Having a “Christmas” gathering in mid-January is even better.

Failing that, I budget plenty of time and money to have a couple drinks in the airport, so even if it takes longer than I expect, I have just saved some money, rather than stressed out.

As far as driving, I’m on Jalopnik. I don’t mind a long drive. I’d probably be miserable if I were driving into LA or something, but the highway driving along the way is fine, even if there is a bit more traffic than I would like.

If your method of travel allows you to safely imbibe in libations, do that. Also, maybe consider celebrating Christmas in January.

Suggested by: Drew

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Remember: It’s Worth It

Remember: It’s Worth It

This photo was taken before Amazon invented the Kindle, so you couldn’t read on planes.
This photo was taken before Amazon invented the Kindle, so you couldn’t read on planes.
Photo: Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

We fly to Hawaii to visit the in-laws every year. Fly Christmas Eve day or Christmas day. Resign yourself to the fact that there will be issues that you have no control over. Schedule flights so that you have ample layover time in the event of a delay. Start your journey with the earliest flight you can to reduce the likelihood that you will be delayed. Books to read on my Kindle app, tunes to listen to on iTunes. Remove hearing aids in the vicinity of screaming children (and adults). The destination will be worth it.

Passengers have the luxury of distractions. I’m a terrible flyer, but having my Switch, a book or two, playlists and podcasts sure as hell helps.

Suggested by: GTB

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Fail To Plan, Something, Something

Fail To Plan, Something, Something

This is way more fun to do with specially-shaped custom luggage.
This is way more fun to do with specially-shaped custom luggage.
Photo: Hulton Archive (Getty Images)

My sister lives in Denver so we’re hitting the road for a family road trip later this week. For coping and making holiday travel as enjoyable as possible, I’d say car prep should definitely be top of mind. Here’s a helpful video that outlines some top tips, like the importance of fuel quality, prepping snacks for the kids, etc.

It’s interesting how for some people, there’s calm in resigning one’s self to the fate of a national travel day. For others, it’s just an impetus to plan more. Whatever works for you, do that.

Suggested by: Jordan Kranick

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And Finally, Of Course

And Finally, Of Course

This photo was apparently taken in 1926, which might qualify it as the first meme.
This photo was apparently taken in 1926, which might qualify it as the first meme.
Photo: Topical Press Agency (Getty Images)

1. For close family, I invite them to my house.

2. For extended family, I come up with an excuse not to go.

It’s always up to you.

Suggested by: J.O.

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