We could all learn a lesson from these festive travel mishaps.

The most wonderful time of the year has finally arrived—which means it’s time to revisit your favorite holiday films. Despite bringing us all sorts of warm, fuzzy feelings and Christmas cheer, some of these movies remind us that traveling in December can be anything but easy. Flight delays, missing luggage, rushing to make it home in time for Christmas Eve—sound familiar? Here’s a list of our favorite holiday travel mishaps from the classics.

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

So technically this movie is about Thanksgiving travel, but it’s also famous for the cringe-worthy (and side-splittingly funny) travel mishap scenes: grounded flights, broken trains and car-rental nightmares—this movie sums up pretty much anything and everything that could ever go wrong during holiday travel.

Love Actually

The moment during this feel-good classic when little Sam breaks through airport security (totally believable) and runs through London Heathrow to kiss his one true love, Joanna, before she boards a plane is enough to jerk tears from even the Grinch himself.

Home Alone

Between the first and second Home Alone, plenty goes wrong at the airport—and at home. Things we can learn from this movie: don’t leave your kid at home when you leave for vacation, don’t lose your kid in the airport, don’t get onto a plane by yourself to New York City if you’re eight years old, etc.


It’s impossible not to laugh during the entirety of this movie, but especially during the scene when Buddy the elf tries to navigate his way through New York for the first time—and almost gets hit by a taxi.

The Holiday

Have you ever tried rolling your massive suitcase down a snow-covered dirt road in England while wearing stilettos? Cameron Diaz’s character in The Holiday shows us sensible shoes (and maybe an Uber) are a must.

Four Christmases

When all outbound flights are canceled at the San Francisco Airport due to a fog bank, this unmarried couple (who happens to disdain Christmas celebrations) is forced to attend four difference Christmases and face their crazy families.

The Polar Express

Being on a train that loses control of the breaks is pretty much a holiday nightmare—but this movie just makes it look like a fun roller coaster ride.

A Christmas Story

There’s nothing like a flat tire that needs fixing on the side of the road in the freezing cold after a trip to pick up the old Christmas tree!

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

If there’s one thing we can learn from this movie, it’s to not be a Grinch during the holiday season—and to pack lightly.

National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Even Chevy Chase can’t keep his cool during this Christmas road trip scene, in which everything goes wrong (including getting stuck under an 18-wheeler and driving into a snow bank).

Safe travels!