How to Survive: Traveling Home for the Holidays

Downsize on seasonal catastrophes

by Nicole Chia | Wed, December 20, 2017

The winter mass exodus is upon us, and this year you and your family are packing those bags to head back home for the holidays!

Holiday packing

This can require more preparation than the summer, as you try to fit all of your bulky clothes, prepare gifts, and ready yourself for the inevitable jet-lag and short turn-around time. But don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here are some tips for how to survive traveling home for the holidays:

Start your Christmas shopping early

If you’ve missed the great 11/11 then you’re already behind! Now is the time to hit all of the markets to buy the latest and greatest things available that your friends and family back home are missing. Fidget spinners are SO LAST YEAR – now it’s all about miniature crossbows that shoot Q-tips at unsuspecting eyes.

world map

If your loved ones back home are over you shopping in the fake market, then turn your eyes on the grocery aisle at Carrefour. After a few preserved packs of chicken feet in their holiday stockings, people will be begging you for knock-off Hermes scarves.

Prepare in advance what to say to the kids about Santa Claus

And how he will find them, no matter where they go. Talk your kid down off of the proverbial ledge when they start asking for things like a “bike that transforms into something else” or a “giant ride-on Unicorn”. Sure, you can find those on Taobao, but they’re virtually impossible to cram into a suitcase en route to Melbourne. You might want to tell them that Santa is downsizing this year because of factory pollution rates and he can only pump out miniature My Little Pony toys.

My Little Pony

He’s also in a rush so it’s possible they may look a little strange (completely covering all your bases if your super cheap online toy purchase comes back looking more like My Little Phoney). Lower expectations by letting your older kids know that no, they will still not be getting the iPhone X in their stocking. Instead, buy them a knock off iPhone X and buy yourself the real deal, because Santa says you’ve been way better than your teenager this year.

Cover your necessities

If you’re going to a cold climate, pack every single item of clothing from your Shanghai wardrobe and resolve to wear them all in layers. You could buy a fake Canada Goose parka depending on how okay you are with it probably being 100% made from raccoon hair. Remind yourself that “snow is fun”, and that seeing family and friends is more than worth freezing your butt off. Then, look around on CTrip and instead book a flight to Thailand. Explain to your family that the agency messed up your tickets but you’ll totally have a drink for them and FaceTime on Christmas day from the beach!

No matter what, always keep in mind that going home for the holidays and spending special time with loved ones makes all the craziness of packing, navigating busy airports, and unsuspected layovers worth it. And if not, then you can always make the excuse next year that immigration at the airport seized your passports, and will only let you fly to tropical destinations. They can still send you presents via Amazon.