When it comes to the holidays, fewer signs of cheer are as heartwarming as those subtle moments when we resist the urge to kill someone nearby. Sure, you know places to hide the body, and club soda does wonders on blood stains. The truth is that you simply don’t have the time. Sadly, it’s because the holiday season is, in fact, a vacuum that sucks both time and money, much like a cross between an Oreck XL and Vin Diesel’s “acting.” Also, the holiday season brings about the most emotional rollercoasters* since “Old School.” While “all we are is dust in the wind,” without caution the holidays have the potential to blow at some point. That point, more often than not, is when you are trying to move from point A to point B. Time for a closer look at getting the hell out of wherever you are.

First, there is the drama of choosing a departure date/time. If this is for Thanksgiving, the popular date is Halloween. Seriously, every year people leave earlier and earlier for Thanksgiving. Whoever is in charge of scheduling for the Universe has really dropped the ball because no family I’ve met has ever had coordinating days off for Thanksgiving. Much like the hot dogs to buns packaging ratio, few families ever find their schedules synching up for the holidays. Sure, this helps the airlines provide more options. The only problem is that people take off extra days anyway. With that in mind, it’s time to look at your syllabi (I know. Who else uses that word?) Why the newfound interest in the course? Well, because 1 out of every 3 college students has some form of grade/soul-crushing professor with a project/quiz/test/hysterectomy scheduled during the week of Thanksgiving. I could go into ways to bypass this, but I don’t condone murder. However, it’s true that you can’t have manslaughter without laughter. Once you’ve checked your schedule and consulted your probation officer, you’re now free to move about the country. Almost.

Getting a ticket is also a process. Some hunt for hours using sites like Orbitz, Expedia, and Priceline. For those seeking shorter distances or optimal conditions for singing “The Wheels On The Bus,” I recommend going Greyhound. Money is not an object, unless you are buying the ticket. In that case, it’s probably the object that was used to incur blunt trauma to your wallet. So, however you travel, book your tickets early. If you’re flying, aim for 21 days in advance. If you’re doing greyhound, 14 days provides some good fares. If you’re driving, buying gas in 1927 is the only affordable means.

Now that you’ve gotten a ticket and/or time-traveled for gasoline, you’re ready to pack and get going. Okay. Here is where a majority of the “rookie” mistakes are made. The following are some preflight suggestions appropriately entitled:

What You Should Do (WYSD)/What You’re Going To Do (WYGTD)

WYSD: Hang out with your friends and see if someone will go with you to the airport/shuttle pickup.
WYGTD: Hang out with your friends Jack Daniels and his retarded cousin Evan Williams and their pal Jim Beam. You’ll still want that help getting to your shuttle and will get pissed when the only person making an appearance with your hung-over ass is Captain Morgan, the bus driver.
WYSD: Do your laundry no less than a day before you fly out and pack ahead.
WYGTD: Do laundry here? That’s part of why you’re going home! Your new motto: Why pack now what I can always pack later. You’ll put off the packing process until you realize that your shuttle is on its way.

There are numerous other suggestions and mishaps that may occur. Feel free to leave a comment with your personal wisdoms of the holiday travel that’s sweeping the nation…annually.

*Not to cause you any excess panic, but if you weren’t panicking about the holidays, you should start now just to get it over with. Think of Thanksgiving as a warm-up.