Last week, I ranted and raved about one of my least favorite parts about the holiday season: indulgence. From the calories to the leftovers to the never-ending charade of parties (a.k.a. opportunities to overeat), by January 1st I’m happy to start that New Year’s resolution diet.

But as I prepare to make the long journey back to my hometown of Chicago for Thanksgiving this week, I’d like to nominate holiday travel as the second worst thing about the holidays. Here me out.


Every year, I vow to pack a single duffel bag for Thanksgiving. It’s only four days with my relatives in the comfort of my own home. I don’t need anything beyond sweatpants, right? Wrong.

First, you realize you haven’t done laundry in three weeks. Bring home that dirty underwear for mom. Next, the invites from high school friends start coming in. You need to dress to impress, two extra pairs of heels go into your suitcase. Then you look at the temperature, and realize it’s going to be a frigid 15 degrees and snowing where you’re headed. Winter coat, scarves, boots and gloves added.

Suddenly, you’ve upgraded from a tiny duffel bag to a full-blown suitcase that looks like you’re headed to Europe for three weeks. Here come the checked baggage fees.

High Prices

Speaking of baggage fees…

According to one report, travelers will spend an average of $434 per person for Thanksgiving-related travel and $926 per person for travel during the December holidays. Think you can snag that Bolt Bus ticket home on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving for $25? Think again.

Airlines and hotels hit you hardest for necessities. Does your bag weigh more than 50 lbs? Fee. Want wireless at your hotel? Fee. Parking? Fee. Fee. Fee. Fee. Fee. Fee.

Staying at your parents’ house suddenly sounds a whole lot more appealing.

Inexperienced Travelers

If you’re traveling this holiday season, you better get over to the busy airports fast. It’s the holidays, after all, and you’ve read the reports that Thanksgiving travel is up 9 percent from last year, while December travel is increasing from 22 percent in 2011 to 40 percent this year.

But one thing I can never get over is getting stuck behind inexperienced travelers in the security line. You know, those that travel once a year to visit their in-laws in Arizona. They aren’t aware that laptops must go in a separate bin at security. Or that you can’t have liquids over 3 ounces in your carry-on. Or that a metal belt buckle sets off the metal detector. Sigh.

Who’s looking forward to hopping on a plane now?