The holiday season will be here before you know it, and families everywhere are finalizing their travel plans. Whether you’re going to visit relatives or planning an epic Winter escape, there’s a lot to do before you set off.
You need to make sure you pack the essentials, make all your reservations, get the appropriate documents, and plan your itinerary. While traveling is fun and exciting, it always comes with some inevitable stress. Here are seven tips to help you fly through the holiday travel season.
Avoid the Busy Travel Days
While this depends on your work schedule, to save time and money and dodge long airport lines, try to avoid driving or booking a flight on peak travel days. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is notoriously bad for travel, as is the Sunday after Thanksgiving. Check out the best and worst days to travel and plan your trip accordingly.
While it’s less than ideal to travel on the actual holiday, you will find a much less crowded airport on Christmas and Thanksgiving, and you are more likely to find a cheaper flight.
While we all love the scene from “Home Alone,” where they’re racing to the airport to try and get to their gate, no one wants to be rushed and miss or barely make their flight.
Plus, times have changed since then. Nowadays, travelers need to account for increased airport security like inspections and time-consuming full-body scans. Increased airport security measures may add lengthy wait times to your trip, but they aren’t going anywhere anytime soon. In fact, according to this survey, 41 percent of Americans support airport security measures and feel they increase public safety.
Heavy holiday traffic can also slow you down on the way to the airport. Put yourself at ease and give yourself enough time. You may have a longer wait at your gate but you can use that time relax, read, watch a movie, listen to music, or get some work done.
Compare Prices Before You Book Your Trip
With so many travel websites and price comparisons at your disposal, there’s no reason to settle for an outrageous fare. You may be backed into a corner of high-priced fares if you wait too long, but if you give yourself enough time, you can comparison shop and find better rates.
Tip: Look for one-way tickets. In some cases, booking two, one-way tickets can save you money versus booking a round trip.
This one is easier said than done, but if you can strategically pack everything in a carry-on, you can avoid the baggage claim or the hassle of lost luggage. Just remember the liquids rules when you pack your carry on.
If you have to check a bag, make sure to check rates online. While some airlines still allow free bags, you don’t want to have to deal with an unexpected fee at the airport. Also, if you’re bringing gifts in your suitcase, wait to wrap them until you arrive at your destination. If security has to inspect your bag they will most likely remove any wrapping paper.
While you probably already know you can check your flight status, check in, or print your boarding pass online, there are several travel apps you can use to make your life easier or have an even better trip. You can download an app to find the cheapest gas, keep track of your connections and plans, discover new places, share photos of your adventures, and more.
Remember, airlines charge for just about everything now and while some airports have some great restaurants, food prices can be pretty outrageous. If you’re not in first class and don’t have a complimentary meal, bring some easy-to-pack snacks in your purse or carry on. This is especially important when traveling with little ones.
Another one that’s easier said than done, but try to relax while you travel. Try to get some rest the night before so you feel less stressed the day of your flight. Pack earplugs to drown out loud noises on the plane and make sure you stay hydrated.
If you get nervous when you fly, try to take a few minutes to get quiet or practice deep breathing. If you have enough time before or in between flights, take a walk.
You want to relax as much as possible so you can feel refreshed when you reach your destination and make the most your holiday trip!
Where are you headed for the holidays? Safe travels!