It’s December 23rd, and all you want is to be home with your family in time for Christmas. Instead, you are stuck in an airport with thousands of other stranded travelers. Weather delays, crowded airports and planes, the potential of missing Christmas altogether – there are many reasons why travel can be the least desirable part of the holiday season. Fuses are short and tension is running high, often leading to conflict or rudeness between stressed travelers. But there is no reason for disrespectful behaviour; the holiday season should be a time to show extra kindness and joy. Here are few tips for traveling with courtesy and with style – certainly a wonderful holiday gift to your fellow travelers!

To begin, recognize that everyone around you is in the same situation. Everyone is in a rush to get home or to visit loved ones – and everyone has to handle the same crowds and the same bouts of ice and snow on the runway. So, don’t get flustered or angry with others in line in front of you, cramped next to you on a plane, or in your way as you try to speed-walk down the concourse. Take a breath and appreciate that all the other passengers have to undergo the same anxiety.

Be as efficient as possible when moving through lines and security screenings. Have your tickets and passport out of your bag and ready to present in advance, so that you don’t have to dig for your documents when it is your turn. Likewise, pack your laptop and electronics in a convenient place so that you can quickly remove them from your luggage when it is time to go through baggage checks. Wear jewelry and shoes that are easy to slip on and off for the security screening. After passing through security, gather your belongings and move to the side. Once you are out of the way, then you can organize your luggage and possessions. It is not helpful or courteous to stand in the way and repack while others are trying to get through security.

While it is important to be kind to fellow travelers, it is equally as important to be polite and respectful toward airport staff and flight crew. When flights don’t run as planned, frazzled passengers often take their frustration out on staff members. Yet airport personnel and flight crew are there to help out, and passengers need to remember this. Even if you seem to be stuck en route or need to rebook your flight quickly, do not raise your voice or use curt language with the employee assisting you. Keep in mind that the staff and crew are handling hundreds of anxious passengers and navigating all kinds of delays and disturbances. Pay them respect by acknowledging that they are working hard to help you along your way.

Finally, even though you are on holiday, it is still important to dress for success! Looking stylish and professional while en route is essential: airports are very public spaces, and travelers should dress appropriately and respectfully. Yet there is no reason why comfort and style can’t go together, especially in the face of long hours in the airport and on the plane. Low-slung heels or sleek black shoes with padding or in-soles are good choices for striding down the concourse. This sweater blazer from Banana Republic is just one option for a comfortable garment that still retains an air of business class. Pair it with your favourite set of professional black slacks that you know you can wear all day in comfort.

Travel is certainly a stressful part of the holiday rush. But if you begin to feel the stress, keep these tips for smooth travel in mind – and take comfort in the fact that you are almost with your loved ones and that the holiday is just around the corner.

Author's Bio: 

Diane Craig, President of Corporate Class Inc., is a leading image and etiquette consultant. For over 20 years she has provided corporate consultations, helping hundreds of men and women realize their professional and personal goals. She is a sought after speaker at national business meetings, regularly gives comprehensive workshops to corporate groups, and offers private consultations on business etiquette, dress and dining.