I have always been a morning person. By morning, I mean my eyes open typically at 5 a.m. This is just how my internal clock was wired. Believe it or not, there are benefits to waking up with the “roosters,” as I put it. One benefit is better efficiency and ease when it comes to travel. As we launch into the height of the holiday travel season (which is a code word for unbearable crowds), I’d like to share my experiences of how this approach gets you where you need to go, with less fuss.
Actually, starting an excursion by car in the early-morning hours is a good thing any time of year. Living in New Jersey, images of the endless bumper-to-bumper traffic going south to the shore on a Friday afternoon come to mind. What can take three or four hours to make the pilgrimage can be cut in half if you leave the following morning.
My sister, who also is an early riser, follows this logic each year herself. She and her husband take to the streets before most are done with breakfast to beat the congestion when she treks from North Carolina to New Jersey for Christmas. This has saved several hours of sitting in traffic jams outside of the major cities on the East Coast.
Taking early flights are also a benefit. I generally prefer to travel before 9 a.m. The reason is that I often beat heavy traffic getting to the airport, deal with fewer crowds at the airport check-in, and zip through security due to smaller lines. This methodology is also helpful in the summer months, when early morning flights are less likely to be canceled or delayed due to thunderstorms.
You can also apply this early bird approach once you reach your final destination. There is something so nice about sightseeing in the quiet hours of the morning just after the sun comes up. The tranquility of a beach at this hour or the unobstructed photo opportunities of monuments or tourist attractions is priceless. Trust me, if you are planning to visit New York City in December and want to visit St. Patrick’s cathedral or take a picture near the Rockefeller Center tree, set your alarm and head out by 7 a.m. to enjoy it crowd free!
As always, I wish you all the happiest of travels this holiday season.
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