It’s the time of year when everyone (including us) will remind you how awful the upcoming holiday travel season will be. Yes, roads, trains and airports will be crowded and there’s always the chance that a last-minute snowstorm will mess up flights and travel plans. You can be as prepared as possible, however, with several holiday travel tips to keep you ahead of the holiday havoc!
Travel Smart this Holiday Season
Research & Plan Ahead
Once you know where you’re going, plan an alternative trip if the traffic becomes too overwhelming. Is there a different route or scenic drive that might have less traffic? For those who opt for road trips, break up long drives by seeking out stops that will give everyone a chance to stretch their legs and burn more of the kids energy than what a rest stop could. If you’re flying, always check the airline’s departure schedule and restrictions ahead of time, especially for rules about carry-on luggage and extra fees for checked bags. Always remember to plan for the unexpected!
If you are on your smart phone, check out the latest travel apps before you leave home. Travel apps like GateGuru can give you approximate times that you’ll spend in security. Going to be driving? Find gas stations and restaurants on the road, or get the best directions with apps like Waze. Don’t forget to check the weather!
Off-Peak Travel Days
Generally speaking, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the biggest travel day of the year. A better (and sometimes cheaper) travel option is to leave early on either the Tuesday before, or even on Thanksgiving Day and avoid the traffic the night before. As far as flying goes: Flying on the actual holiday itself helps avoid long lines. Travel Super Early or Late Planes traveling earlier in the day statistically have a better on-time performance. Plus, if your flight is cancelled, you will have a better chance of getting a flight later in the day. If you’re driving, the best time to hit the road is when every one else is asleep — early morning or late at night.
When flying, try to avoid checking bags altogether if possible. This way, you won’t have to worry about your dad’s Christmas present getting lost between flights. If you do check luggage, make sure you have all your important documents, medications, a change of clothes in your carry-on, and any special gifts (like rings and jewelry) just in case your luggage gets lost. Don’t forget your earplugs and phone chargers.
Gift Cards Travel Better
TSA always suggests to ship wrapped gifts ahead of time, or just wait until you reach your destination to wrap them because they might have to unwrap a present to inspect it. Also remember that gift cards travel better than anything else, and you can’t go wrong when getting your loved one a card to their favorite store.