By Mandy Wardlaw
Both traveling and holidays are beloved pastimes, but holiday travel can sometimes feel like the opposite. The unfortunate truth is that so many things can cause stress on you when you travel, however with a little planning, and a few deep breaths, you can once again look forward to heading home for the holidays.
Waiting too long to buy your tickets may result in paying higher rates, flying at inconvenient times, and seating assignments may not be in your favor. If you know you’re flying home, definitely look at purchasing ahead of time. Although it doesn’t always seem like it, airlines do have sales! If you have a preferred airline or website, sign up to receive notifications for sales and price alerts.
Fly direct if possible to avoid missing connecting flights due to delays.
Take advantage of Early bird services. Check in 24 hours beforehand online, print your boarding passes, and pre-pay any fees you know you’ll need to pay. Once you’re at the airport try using TSA Pre-Check to save you time going through security.
Plan for traffic. If you’re leaving Wednesday, leave before 2PM or after 7PM to avoid the largest rush. Download an audiobook, make a playlist, and make the best of it!
Gas – use a gas app, like gasbuddy may help you find lower priced gas stations. Remember the first stations off the highways are typically going to be higher.
Either way, consider your travel dates and times. If you have the luxury of taking a few extra days, check out flexible date options to take advantage of cheaper rates and less crowded roads.
Important items should always go in your carry-on. A change of clothes for you and family members are important in case checked bags are lost. Remember to pack any necessary items like medicine in your carry-on.
Pack light and carry on – it will save you space and could save you money on fees. If you have gifts or large packages, consider shipping them ahead of time.
Pack smart – understand the TSA rules. Attempting to board with prohibited items will hold up lines and may leave you with tossing your items in the trash.
Phones, tablets, laptops – make sure you’re fully charged! You may not have access to an outlet during your trip. Bring a charger for charging at the airport and at your destination.
Books, music, audiobooks, puzzles, or movies are a must. Download movies and tv shows to your tablet, in case you don't have WiFi. Headphones will make you a good neighbor. Prepare to keep you and your family occupied for long flights and delays.
Finally: breathe and enjoy the holiday!