Don't panic, but Mercury retrograde could disrupt your holiday travel

If you've ever been online, there's a good chance you've heard someone complain about Mercury retrograde at some point. This astrological phenomenon has been blamed for everything from car accidents to relationship struggles to technology-related issues. And, unfortunately, this happens again during the holidays and can wreak havoc on your plans. Mercury retrograde can impact holiday travel, so if you plan on traveling home or visiting friends, make sure you're prepared first.

Mercury retrograde occurs whenever Mercury spins faster than Earth, and it will last for the last time in 2017, from December 3 to December 22. What can you expect? Mercury usually rules communication and clear thinking, so when it goes retrograde, these things tend to get a little confusing. It often leads to a lot of confusion, communication problems, and poor decision-making—all of which are crucial to a comfortable travel experience. This December, Mercury goes retrograde behind Saturn, which can actually make traffic problems worse.

According to Astrology King, Mercury retrograde on Saturn can bring about a lot of critical thinking and is best used for challenging mental work. If you don't have a productive outlook on it, it can easily turn into negative thoughts, which can lead to a host of other problems, such as communication difficulties. Both of these things translate into many common travel annoyances, like making bad decisions you wouldn't normally make, or causing you to miscommunicate with someone and potentially screw up plans. It might not even affect you directly – it might affect the people you travel with or with, which in turn affects you.

If you're traveling during Mercury retrograde, you'll want to be wary of unfortunate events that you have little control over, which means being as prepared as possible. Arrange everything now and make all important decisions before Mercury goes retrograde. You should also prepare for the worst and have a backup plan ready. Astrologers advise against making hasty decisions during this time, and a trip gone wrong could mean you have to make a quick decision - which isn't ideal.

What is one of the main disadvantages of this situation? Mercury retrograde can also severely impact electronics. If you rely on your GPS to get you home, book your tickets electronically, or plan to get work done on your computer during your vacation travel, be prepared. Go old-school and print or write down instructions in case something goes wrong. Keep spare batteries, chargers, and hard drives nearby. Print any tickets you order, just in case. Technical glitches can really disrupt your travel plans, so again, be prepared.

It's not all bad news, though. Mercury retrograde is a great time to reflect on the past, which is what the holidays are all about. So even if traveling becomes a nightmare, you'll definitely have more than one thing to look forward to. Hey, you can always use those long hours in the car or plane to do some much-needed reflection.

Additionally, this Mercury retrograde is supposed to be at its most severe earlier this month. Since most of us won't be heading home until a few days before our vacation begins, your travel plans likely won't begin until after this Mercury retrograde cycle is over. That's a good thing - while we're not quite out of the woods yet, we're certainly getting close. If you're traveling, try to make plans for later this month to avoid this astrological confusion as much as possible.