Traveling during major holidays can be stressful and exasperating to say the least. However, there are several ways you can mitigate the worst of it and make the experience much easier – and maybe even have a trip where the ‘getting there and back’ portions become positively ordinary!
First, when planning a trip that requires flying during notoriously busy travel times such as Thanksgiving or Christmas, consider flying on the day of the holiday, at off-peak times during the surrounding days, and/or from a secondary airport near your departure or arrival location. When possible, opt for non-stop flights so you’ll be less affected by delays.
It’s best to book as far advance as possible for holiday travel, as flights will undoubtedly fill up and you want to be assured a seat on the flight(s) of your choice. Confirm your seat assignments when you book for the best possible seats. Be sure that your name on the travel documents matches your ID (license, passport, etc.).
A little organizing before the trip can reduce stress at the airport. We recommend creating a master checklist based on your travel needs that you can simply pull out and customize for each trip. It may include “things to do”, such as get mail stopped, arrange for pet care, get vaccines, check passport, etc. and “things to bring”, such as medications, sunscreen, hiking shoes, camera, etc. This Traveler’s Checklist from the U.S. Department of State summarizes some of the more official travel needs, while the easy (and fun) Travels’ Checklist tool creates a customized list based on your travel plans.
Before leaving for the airport, go ahead and check in online. If you provided an email address when the flight was booked, the airline will send you an automated message with very easy steps to follow to check in online. Even if you can’t print the boarding passes, this will still expedite your time checking in. In fact, you can go paperless for the entire process by having your boarding passes sent to your smartphone. In addition, you can download apps or check on the airline’s website to know the status of your flight.
Once you arrive at the airport, be prepared to wait! This is no revelation to anyone who has flown in recent years, so the best thing to do is use the time to catch up on reading, watch videos, play games, etc. Bringing a few snacks may help!
To get through security a little easier, we recommend you make sure carry-on liquids are packed according to regulations (see TSA 3-1-1 Liquids Rule), wear shoes that are easy to slip on and off, and wear socks to avoid walking barefoot through the security checkpoint.
Planning ahead and being prepared can reduce holiday travel stress, making the time spent at your destination more enjoyable. If your holiday travel plans include choosing a vacation destination, contact Travelong of Summit to learn about the best places based on time of year, weather, special offers, and more.