Carry On

What to Pack for Holiday Travel In 2016

November 17, 2016
how to prepare for thanksgiving travel

It’s that time of year again! Over the river and through the woods and into family time and overeating we go. It’s 2016, aka the year that will never end, and the only silver lining is we get to eat pecan pie next week. Here’s what to pack in a year where travel times and family tensions are expected to be at an all-time high.

During Travel

This year, 49 Million Americans are expected to travel over the Thanksgiving holiday, the highest number in nine years. Leave the house prepared to cope with delayed flights and traffic jams.

holiday travel 2016

Bring a good book. Nothing makes waiting for delayed flights or in miles of traffic (only if you’re not driving, of course!) more bearable than a good book. I’m currently reading This Town, but other favorites include The Paris Wife, All the Light We Cannot See, Tiny, Beautiful Things, and A Tree Grows In Brooklyn. If you’re not into books, podcasts are a good way to bide time too. Check out this list of some of my favorites, and use these headphones to block out screaming children and other noise.

Pack a scarf, which if you read regularly you know is always in my bag to double as a blanket or shawl on planes. And don’t forget a water bottle, because airport water is way overpriced and the bottles are bad for the environment anyway. Plus, if you have a long flight, nothing combats tired looking skin better than hydration. (Or this).

Travel pants. I discovered these cashmere pants recently and they might be the only thing I ever travel in again. So comfy, but without looking lazy. Here’s a cheaper option.

At Your Destination

Leggings, leggings, leggings. Thanksgiving is an all-you-can-eat holiday and you don’t want tight jeans to make you feel guilty for taking seconds. These are my favorite pair. In that same vein, oversized sweaters are your friend. If your family has a more formal Thanksgiving dinner, opt for a sweater dress. I love this one and this one.

Running shoes/sports bra. Ok, I know I just condoned over eating, and that’s totally acceptable around the holidays, but I always have a better day and feel better about that extra slice of pie if I workout first. Pack a pair of running shoes and jog around the neighborhood before collapsing on the couch to watch the Macy’s parade and eat Chex Mix the rest of the day (at least that’s what I do). I save room by stealing a t-shirt and shorts from my brothers, but if that’s not an option of course pack your own workout clothes too.

All the wine and all your talking points. I know Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of family and togetherness, and not one for divisive politics, but extreme times call for extreme measures, and we’re in some pretty extreme times here. Have your facts ready and all the wine you’ll need to get through political conversations with your extended fam this year, and if they give you grief for calling out your racist grandpa, you can come to Deerfield and dine with me.

best pecan pie recipe

The best part of the holidays? My dad’s pecan pie, which is the best in the world I promise.

Dry Shampoo/Bubble Bath. Either you’re the type of person who only likes showering in your own shower, in which case you’ll need the dry shampoo, or you’re a person who lives in a dorm/hostel/awful apartment and uses the holidays to indulge in your parents’ real bathroom, in which case you’ll need the bubble bath.

Fall nail polish. This is not an essential, but I’m recently obsessed with this color, and nothing deflects political tension like your aunt complimenting your nails.

Collapsible tupperware. No excuses to not get leftovers now!

Custom itinerary. Is your family going somewhere aside from home for the holidays? Make the weekend as relaxing as possible with an itinerary tailored to your family’s interests/dates. If you contact me by the end of the weekend I can have an itinerary ready by the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Or if you’re thinking ahead for Christmas gifts, get in touch!

Finally, throw it all in this carry on bag and you’re good to go.

Have a happy holiday season and share your packing photos using #InMyCarryOn to be featured on Instagram!

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