Are you flying home for the holidays? Or are you making the annual trip to your in-laws' home that requires a layover or two?

If that's the case, you may feel like pulling your hair out as that dreadful day of travel creeps closer. According to Smarter Travel, the best days to travel this year are December 24, 25 and 28. The worst days are December 21, 22, and 29. But even if you have to grit and bare a middle seat on a packed flight, here are a few tips from Travel and Leisure to keep you calm, collected, and maybe even cheery as you navigate holiday flights.

Bring a spare set of clothes in your carry-on. Lost luggage can stick a real rut in your holiday plans, especially if you only have the pair of underwear you're wearing to get you through until you're reunited with your checked bag. Just pack a set of essentials and bring them on the plane with you. While hopefully you won't end up needing them, you'll be thankful you packed extras when you're left waiting for your bag.

“I think lost bags on busier travel days of the year have a 50% increase over the mean, so the chances are greater on your Christmas trip that you’re going to get a lost bag than on your March trip,” Andrew Zimmern from the Travel Channel said. “I always make sure I have a change of clothes.”

Be kind to your airline staff. You want to get to your destination as quickly and easily as possible, but so do they. Think about this. While you're flying and travelling to spend time with family and friends, they're working, and it's undoubtedly the most stressful time of year.

“They always receive disproportionate anger from people nearby, and it can really brighten someone’s day just to be nice to them,” Kate McCulley from the Adventurous Kate blog said. “It’s always nice to bring, say, a bag of candy bars or something for the airline staff. If you do that, they will take care of you beautifully.”

Prepare yourself for some speed bumps. Sometimes, no matter how hard you try to plan accordingly and avoid the crowds, you have to accept that it's the holiday season and airports are just pure craziness. Things are bound to go a little different than planned. Take deep breaths and just take the hits as they come. Be adaptable. Your travel experience will be much more enjoyable if you're flexible and smiling instead of grouchy and impatient.

“Just be ready, and when it happens, you’ll be able to sit there smiling sweetly,” Richard Quest from CNN Business Traveller said. “When you travel on Christmas, for you as the traveler — whether you’re in 1A or 39D — there is a mental state that you have to put yourself in, that you’re traveling at the busiest time of the year and you’re going to take whatever comes your way."

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