Holiday travel: worth the hassle?


Photo provided by: Makayla Martindale

As this year’s holiday season comes to an end, many are left disappointed with their high expectations, anticipated lack of stress, and attempt to travel with family. The 2022 holiday airline backups were more pronounced than usual, leaving many travelers entirely frustrated, often stranded, and ready for the season to be done.

Makayla Martindale, Editor-in-Chief

Whether watching the iconic “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” or Lifetime’s “Snowed-Inn Christmas”, holiday movies centered around the idea of traveling are some of the most popular. Naturally, they wrap viewers up into the idea of traveling to achieve a picturesque holiday season with family, and force joy that supposedly arises from the journey. But in reality, traveling during this time of year only diminishes the reason that people celebrate in the first place.

Don’t get me wrong, traveling is one of my favorite hobbies—venturing anywhere from the Scottish Highlands to trekking through New York City to roadtripping back to my hometown of Bell Buckle, TN—but doing so during the holidays has only proved to lessen the camaraderie between family members and dim the spirit, at least in my experience. It seems like anytime we try to go on a family vacation during a break from school, every plan that is made goes wrong.

Spring Break of 2020, my family planned to visit Washington D.C. and go on a private tour of the White House, but it was entirely canceled after the onslaught of Covid-19. The following year, we intended to go up to our cabin in North Georgia during Christmas…until half of my family got sick and all six of us were stuck in an uncomfortably small cabin with the closest store being a Walmart eight miles away. Call it bad luck, but traveling during any sort of holiday tends to end up disastrous, as it consistently leaves everyone exhausted and lacking excitement for any kind of holiday celebration.

Aside from these trips, most of the vacations I have taken during the holidays have ended up being highly stressful because of transportation. Most recently, I visited Atlanta, Georgia right after New Years and, even though airports are notoriously bad during Christmas and the start of the year, my friend and I decided to book a six A.M. flight on Jan. 3. Little did we know, the airline that we chose to travel on (primarily because of its reputation) would end up having the most cancelations and delays after Christmas Day; accounting for approximately 75% of the holiday backups. We arrived two hours prior to our boarding time, yet the TSA line took over an hour and a half to get through, the tram left while we were in the middle of security, we had to sprint to our gate with no shoes on, only for the flight to be delayed for three hours. The added stress of being alone in an airport for the first time and fighting through security lines significantly dampened my first vacation alone, as I learned nothing more from the “journey” of traveling during the holidays than to simply not travel.