The airport is rarely seen as a place of excitement, but trying to maneuver through crammed terminals and backed up security lines during the holiday season can be downright demoralizing. While the aroma of oven roasted turkey or the tranquility of the family gathering around the fireplace may serve as your primary source of motivation for trekking through the airport during the end of the year rush, not taking advantage of a few key holiday travel tips may be more disheartening than opening a stocking full of coal. Here are some suggestions that could make your holiday traveling experience smoother than a festive mug of eggnog:
Don’t wait until the last minute
If you’re really pressed for money and finding that planes are all packed, your best option may be to fly out on the actual holiday date when rates can be lower, however this isn’t always the case. The best advice is, If you know that you’re going to be traveling for the holidays, you’ll encounter fewer issues by booking at least 2-3 weeks in advance. Should your flight be cancelled or delayed, an early morning flight will allow you to possibly catch another one later in the day.
Don’t wait until the last minute
Everyone has a lot on their plate during this time of year, but as the old adage goes, “the early bird gets the worm,” especially when it comes to booking a flight. You’ll be very hard pressed to find any good deals during peak travel dates, especially if they’re on the night before one of the big holidays.
Create a checklist
Nothing is more dismaying than getting all the way to the airport and realizing you left that vital something on the kitchen counter. Avoid this dilemma by organizing a travel checklist for yourself before you head out.No matter how tedious it seems, it’s never a bad idea to write a list of all the things you think you’ll need during your trip, then lay them out for packing the night before. Most airlines now allow you to present your boarding pass via your smartphone, which can be a great convenience. Just make sure your battery is charged so that you don’t have issues when you get to the airport. With so many other things to worry about during the holidays, it might be a good idea to just print those important documents instead of taking the risk.
Bigger airports aren’t always better
Many travelers tend to use the big metropolitan airports because of their convenience and size but larger airports are often more congested during the holiday season. Consider trying smaller or alternate airports during holiday travel if they are convenient. If you do have to fly through the larger airports, use all the competition that’s there to your advantage by reviewing all the airlines available to find the best deal.
One of the easiest ways you can slow yourself down at the airport is by what you’re trying to bring onboard the plane with you. If you’re trying to stuff all your belongings into a carry-on bag, you should be aware of the Transportation Security Administration’s regulations regarding certain gels and liquids. According to the official TSA rules, you are allowed to bring one small bag of liquids, aerosols, gels, creams and pastes through the checkpoint. Each container must contain 3.4 ounces or less, and if you need to pack something with more liquid in it, it must be stored away in checked-in luggage. This is one of the most common run-ins with security that tends to unfold. Please keep in mind when shopping for airfares as well that some airlines have begun charging additional fees for carry-on luggage in addition to checked luggage. The lowest fare may not always be the best one if it means you have to pay extra to bring your belongings. Airline websites will have this information and a travel agent will also help to make sense of airline fees.
Nothing can damper a child’s holiday spirit quite like not receiving a gift on time. If you know that you’re going to be cutting it close on your flight arrival during the holidays, you can always play it safe by shipping out all your gifts ahead of time. For starters, there’s the off chance that airport security may have to unwrap your present when going through security to thoroughly inspect it. But the biggest advantage you get by shipping ahead of time is that while your flight might be tardy, your Santa’s delivery will still be punctual.
Patience is a virtue
Traveling during the holiday can be an extremely anxious experience, especially when you’re really excited to get to your destination. But the fact of the matter is that weather delays, flight cancellations and general chaos are practically inevitable during this time. Remember that there’s nothing you can do to avoid these unfortunate scenarios, and be sure to find leisurely ways to pass the time so airport misfortunes don’t crush your holiday spirit. If you do encounter delays or cancellations, having an expert travel agent to turn to rather than waiting in line or on hold with the airlines can be a great advantage.