Getting into the holiday spirit is tough when it comes to holiday travel, especially when more than 28 million people are expected to flock to airports in the United States for Thanksgiving alone. With enough preparation, it’s possible to minimize the frustration that comes with traveling during the busiest time of the year, so keep these tips in mind to get through the holiday travel season stress-free.
Don’t Wait To Book Your Flights
The holidays come around like clockwork every year, so the earlier you book your tickets to fly to your destination, the better. Try to book direct flights whenever possible to avoid potential delays from connecting flights, and remember that being flexible about your travel dates can help you avoid the crowds that always fly the day before and after the holiday.
Fly On Thanksgiving Or Christmas Day
Helping with cooking on Thanksgiving morning and waking up with family on Christmas Day are both special parts of the holiday season, but insiders know that the best day to fly home for the holidays is on the day itself. If your loved ones don’t mind having Thanksgiving dinner at night and are willing to open Christmas presents later in the day, flying on the holiday will save you stress (the airports tend to be less crowded) and money.
If you’re lucky enough to get through holiday travel without delays, you’re winning at life, but for many travelers, weather and mechanical delays can and will happen. The best way to get through a delay is to mentally prepare for it before it occurs. Keep a change of clothes and items in your carry-on that will get you through a night at the airport if necessary, and keep phone numbers for hotels, shuttles and car rental companies handy in case you need to make adjustments to your reservations.
It can be tempting to want to stuff gifts for your family in your suitcase or carry-on, but the extra items are only going to weigh you down or get in the way when you’re shuffling through crowded airports. If you must bring non-essential items, keep them small, and be sure that they are unwrapped in case there are issues with getting items through security.
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Much of the stress that comes with flying during the holiday season is simply not knowing how long it will take to get through everything. Set reminders to leave home early before heading to the airport, keep an eye on My TSA to stay up-to-date about security wait times and download your airline’s app for the latest on the status of your flight. The more information you have, the better you can plan.
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