Have you ever had to travel during the holiday season. It does not matter if it is Thanksgiving time, Christmas time, or New Years. It is all awful. It is one of the things I cannot stand about the holiday season.
For a while we used to travel almost every year back to visit my wife’s parents. We would get flights and go 2000 miles to visit them. Getting flights each year was ridiculous, especially when we have young ones. I don’t think I ever traveled with my wife and kids. I was always bumped onto a different flight. It always amazed me at the people who want to hurry and get on the plane. To me they are just hurrying up to wait. It does not make much sense. Stay out of the cramped smelly airplane until the last minute seems like the best idea to me. The madness of it all is enough to make me never want to travel again.
I can remember the first year we had to travel. We had our son, who is the oldest, but at the time was 1 and we had a second on the way. My wife wanted to go a little earlier than I could go because of work, so we got separate tickets and she traveled alone. She elected not to buy a ticket for my son and instead let him ride as a lap child. Here she was pregnant with our second and having another sitting on her lap for the 4 or 5 hours she was in the plane. Do you know how hard it is to keep a 1 year old occupied for that long. We usually would plan to get through it by both of us taking turns entertaining our kids but because I hardly even traveled with her it never worked out that way. People would look at her like she was satan because they knew there was going to be screaming, crying, and a poopie diaper some time during the flight. These feelings and looks are just elevated during the holiday season.
Airlines have this weird policy of selling more tickets than they have seats. I am not sure how that works but when everyone shows up (why you would not show up when you just shelled out $1,500 for one ticket is beyond me) they have to bump people. Now you add in the delayed and cancelled flights and you have a large groups of unhappy people. My wife was lucky on that first trip as my son did not cry once during the flight. She only had to sprint from one gate to the next because her flight had been delayed, but it was a pretty easy first trip. My son is a very mellow kid and so occupying him was easy. I am sure some people were pleasantly surprised. Now we have also been on the other end of it. My daughter used to scream and cry during every flight. So we were that family who everyone looked at when we boarded, and just prayed that we did not sit next to you. I will say that I would rather not sit next to a crying kid, but I would pick the crying kid over someone who smells like they do not know what deodorant is let alone soap.
In our travels we have been separated, had our flights cancelled, got bumped off offlights and could not get another until the next day, been asked by people to please keep our kids quiet (to which I which I will immediately pinch one of then to make them scream and cry), and had people request different seats so they did not have to sit next to us. It seems like manners and the golden rule do not apply to people traveling during the holidays.
Driving is not any better. The uncertainty of the weather, combined with the increased number of drivers, makes driving just nuts. I used to live in a very cold area of the US and I would be driving and have someone zoom right by me and I would always chuckle to myself knowing that I would see them down the road off in the ditch. People just don’t use common sense. As a kid my family was no better. I can remember one Christmas there was a horrible storm and we went to my grandmothers after it passed. I was really young but I can remember the snow looking like they had just cut the road through the middle of the huge snow drifts. The snow was so much higher than the car. We had 7 of us packed into a small car. On the way home our headlights went out. Instead of turning around and heading back the one mile to my grandparents house my dad just pulled out a flash light and put it on the dash and drove the 30 miles home. Where is the common sense in that? Unfortunately I see things like that all the time. People just fail to use common sense when they get behind the wheel and the holiday season seems to bring out the worst in some people.
My advise to everyone is do not travel during the holidays. Skype whoever you want to visit, but save the traveling for when the crazies are off the roads and out of the airports. You will save money, time, headaches, stress, and the ozone layer all from skipping your traveling. I know I have no plans to travel anywhere this season and I am ecstatic about it.