The holiday season often means traveling to visit family and friends to celebrate. Here are a few tips to help you avoid hassles and arrive at your destination safely.
Check Your Tickets
Many people begin to plan well-ahead of the holidays to take advantage of lower prices. It’s easy to forget the details of your travel, so don’t assume anything.
Whether you’re traveling by air, train, or bus, pull out your ticket and confirm the details. Some cities have multiple airports and multiple terminals for departures.
Many passengers haul their gifts when them when they travel. Why not ship items ahead of time, including any bulky clothes you might need when you arrive? You can travel with a carry-on and stroll off the plane, train or bus, and without having to wait for your luggage.
Travel at Night
If you have a long road trip ahead of you, why not travel at night? The roads are almost empty and you’ll make great time. If you have children, they can sleep while you drive. Pack some snacks and games for them when they wake up.
Travel on the Holiday
Most people want to be where they’re going before the holiday. This means traveling on the day of the holiday is usually less busy. Flights, busses and trains are often half-empty and the crew are usually cheery because of it. They’re used to overflowing crowds and anxious passengers at this time of the year.
Weigh, Measure & Tag Your Bag
The rules of air travel have changed in recent years. Many airlines around the world now charge hefty fees for oversized or overweight baggage. If you can get away with a carry-on, do it. You’ll get through airports quicker and the airlines can’t lose your bag.
Check the dimensions and weight your airline allows. They can vary between airlines. Ensure your bag has an I.D. tag on it if you’re putting it into checked baggage. Those barcode labels the airlines slap on can go missing and you could arrive without your luggage.
Make It Easy To Get Through Security
Have you found yourself behind someone going through security that’s holding up the entire line? They’re wearing heeled shoes and a belt, they’ve got 10 pockets in their pants and they all have change in them, and they’re carrying more liquids than a CVS. Don’t be that person.
Wear flat shoes and clothes with few pockets. Put your toiletries in travel containers that hold less than 3.4 ounces and store them in a large, transparent Ziploc bag.
Don’t wrap your gifts either. Security may open parcels for inspection.
Check-In Online & Print Boarding Passes
It can take quite a bit of time to get through an airport at the best of times, but during the holidays, the lines can be huge. Check in online instead of at the counter, and print out your boarding passes ahead of time.
Review Your Essentials
Holiday travel can be very trying, so it’s easy to forget the things you need the most. Do you have the identification you need, and your visa or passport if you’re traveling abroad? Do you have your glasses, meds, and your charger for your phone, tablet, or laptop? Do you have earplugs to block out noisy kids or earbuds you can use instead of paying for cheap airline headsets?
You might have heard that you should arrive early a thousand times, but during the holidays it is more important than ever. Even if you’ve booked and confirmed your transportation you could arrive and discover something is amiss.
Airlines sometimes overbook or cancel flights, trains and buses break down, or you could get caught in a traffic jam on the way. During peak travel periods, arrive earlier than usual. If you’re flying, arrive at least three hours before an international flight and two hours before a domestic departure.
It’s not the events, but how you handle them that matters. If you approach holiday travel expecting delays, you’ll be less likely to lose your cool if it happens. Bring along something to read and treat delays as a mini-vacation. An extended delay could provide you with an opportunity to explore the area or catch a quick nap.