Tips for traveling around the holidays
Traveling during holiday periods can be stressful. Nothing is better
at putting you in a "Bah Humbug" mood like finding out your flight is
delayed for five hours right after a TSA security screener decided he
had to unwrap all of your family's gifts. Here are some time,
money, and stress-saving tips to making your holiday travel go as
smooth as possible.
Before you fly
Fly nonstop. Each additional flight that you book raises the chances
that there you will be delayed on at least one of them.
Travel out of a smaller airport. Flying out of a smaller airport can be
a more hassle-free way of traveling: the lines will most likely be
shorter, prices for parking will be lower, and your general level of
travel-induced stress will stay at manageable levels.
Avoid connecting through airports that are prone to bad weather. It
is better to pay a bit extra and go nonstop than to connect through
Chicago in late December, for instance.
Travel early in the day. Flights that are earlier in the day are more
likely to depart on-time. Traveling on flights that are earlier in
the day also gives you more chances to rebook on another flight should
yours be canceled.
Pack light. Different airlines have different regulations regarding
baggage and may impose limitations during holidays.
Leave gifts unwrapped. Those long hours you spent carefully wrapping
gifts may go to waste if a security screener needs to open the
wrapped packages. Gift bags are a great option.
Ship gifts ahead of time. This is an excellent way of avoiding
check-in lines, lost luggage, and back problems!
The day of the flight
Check in online before you go to the airport. If your airline allows
you to check in ahead of time on the website, you will be able to
avoid the lines for checking in.
Bring snacks, books, and games. If you are traveling with children,
you may end up needing to be their entertainment director if your
flight is delayed. Having some games and snacks on hand is a great
idea (and also helps avoid sky-high airport food prices).
And most importantly...
Be patient. Delays are often unavoidable, and if you relax and go
with the flow, you will get through the delays with your sense of
holiday cheer still in place.
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