Planning any holiday trips can be hectic especially trying to get through the gates with everyone without finding yourself in your own Home Alone movie. Not to mention the over-crowded airports and train stations that will leave anyone with jet lag to last a week. But, having the secret holiday travel tips might just save you the time and jet lag you need to keep everyone together and your holiday running smoothly. I’ve put together some of the much needed to know travel tips for the holiday season to help you get through it in grand time. After all, traveling to be with loved ones or taking that special vacation shouldn’t be a job it should be relaxing.
- Avoid Peak Travel Times
Now, this might seem obvious but, there are too many people out there that do not realize there are certain times you really do not want to travel. Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day are four of the busiest days for travel in the entire world. Try scheduling your travel for before or after these dates to avoid over-crowded stations and longer wait times for connecting flights or getting through the gates.
- Shop Around for Tickets
A lot of times, the cheapest places are harder to find. For example: name my price flight, now if you are up to leaving at any time that day you can get your flights pretty darn cheap. Saving money helps you spend it on other things you might need, want or for a rainy day. After all, we all have rainy days some times and a little extra cash can help.
- Familiarize Yourself with the Airport
Not knowing the airport is going to slow you down and take even longer for you to get through. Choose an airport you are familiar with or take a day before the holidays to get familiar with where to find everything. Know where their information desk is, check in, what gates are located where. It can truly save you even more time knowing where you can be. Also, keep in mind smaller airports will have less traffic, smaller crowds and will be easier to get through.
- Choose Your Connections Carefully
This is one that leaves people stranded for hours or days during the winter months. Not because they did not choose their connections properly because, they did not leave time for icy run ways, freak snow storms, or some freak crazy delay. When you are planning a holiday trip always take into consideration everything from weather to how long your connecting flights are. Will you be in a snowy city for five minutes or 45 minutes, the difference could mean a longer delay than expected.
- Always Leave Early
Even if the airport is five minutes away, give yourself an hour to get there. In some area’s you need even longer because the road ways will be packed as well. After all, the extra time means you can be safer and not feel like you are in a rush. We want everyone to arrive safely at your destination. Plan what roads you are taking to and from the airports in advance. Map it out for the shortest routes with the least traffic but, plan for heavy traffic. That way you will make it where you need to be on schedule.
- Pack Smartly
With airport rules and regulations constantly changing check with the airline and the airports first. Make a list of what is allowed and what to avoid. Packing the wrong thing even by accident could delay your travel plans for hours. Take time to check out the TSA rules on liquids and lotions because those are the trickiest to get right. I know, just a huge headache already but, remember why you are traveling in the first place.
- Shortcuts Are Your Best Friend
Travel shouldn’t be headaches and long waits. It should be an adventure you are ready to tackle no matter what comes down the pipe. Check local road crew websites and news sites for any delays, accidents, blockages or any road issues that might slow you down. Print your boarding pass in advance and have your passport or license ready and waiting before you get to the gate. Cut down on luggage by buying your gifts in advance online and have them shipped to your destination in advance. Take advantage of the gift wrapping services many of the online stores offer.
- Early & Late Day Travels Are Best
A rule of thumb, when most people are sleeping is the best time to schedule your travel take off. The airports will be less busy but, keep in mind less busy means less staff. Plan on longer check-ins for early and late travel plans. Take advantage of the fact that the airports will be less insane with people and it will be easier for you to get a family through.
- Package Your Travel Plans
It is known that package vacations can save you tons but, did you know you can save even more during the holiday seasons by packaging your hotel, flight and car rental into one deal? That’s right! You can save a ton of money by packaging everything. Just be sure to shop around for the cheapest deals.
- Keep Calm You’ll Get There
Losing your cool in the airport probably is not the wisest decision to get through the gates faster. There is nothing you can do to make the experience any faster than what I have already listed here. Take something that will keep you calm and collected. A smartphone with a relaxing game or some psp’s for the kids. Keeping your calm might mean the difference between pulling out your hair and getting through the gate in fashion.