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Holiday Travel Tips

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.

Useful Resources

How far do your miles go on different airlines?

Tips for getting the most out of your frequent flier miles

Airline and airport on-time statistics

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