It’s a myth that the busiest travel days are during Thanksgiving and Christmas. According to the U.S. Travel Association, that distinction goes to Fridays in June, July, and August. But the holidays do have their share of stress with shopping, family, and social obligations—if you add traveling to the mix, things get downright ugly. We asked our travel-savvy friends for advice on how to deal with the perils of holiday transport, and they had plenty of ideas. But there was one common theme: Whether you’re traveling by plane, train, or automobile, the key to holiday travel bliss is allowing yourself some flexibility. With these tips, you’ll remember why they say life’s about the journey, not the destination.

1. Travel On Christmas: It’s counterintuitive, but if you travel on a holiday, you’ll save cash and avoid crowds.

2. Pack Early: Start packing five days before your departure. Keep a list of items you still need to pack on your phone and add to it when things come to you. By the end of the week, all those little things will already be in the suitcase, and you won’t be making late-night trips to the grocery store to look for travel-size shampoo.

3. Keep Charged Up: If it’s a working vacation, make sure your laptop, iPad, and phone are fully charged. Pack your chargers in your carryon luggage. If you get delayed, you’ll still be in touch with the world.

4. Wear Comfortable Clothes: There’s nothing worse than having to remove your five-inch Jimmy Choos and a bunch of jewelry while everyone in the security line mutters under their breath about you (don’t ask how we know this).

5. Get grounded: Once you reach your destination, take off your shoes and let your bare feet connect with the ground. Squish your toes in the floor (or dirt) and massage pressure points in your soles. Watch the tension subside as you connect with your locale.

—Image Courtesy of James Nevious