Travelling during the holidays is stressful. That is a fact. There are ways, however, to minimize the stress and enjoy what makes the special holiday truly wonderful . . . spending time with family and friends! Below are a few tips to get you started on your way to a joyous trip.
1. Book Early: If you plan on taking a plane to your holiday destination, then book early. Air fares tend to be high anyway during holiday peak periods, so the earlier the book – the better off you will be with decent air fare rates.
2. Ship Presents Ahead of Time: Overhead luggage space will be at a premium as most passengers will not want to risk storing gift items in the checked-in suitcases. If you can ship your items ahead of time, you may save money by avoiding checked baggage fees plus you’ll have peace of mind that your gifts have arrived safely at your destination.
3. Plan Extra Time: Whether you are leaving for an airport or embarking on a road trip, leave extra early to avoid any unforeseen issues impacting your travel. A highway accident on the way to the airport may cause you to miss your flight and the ability to catch another flight quickly during the holiday season is very low.
4. Use Uber or Other Car Service: Asking family or friends to take or pick you up from an airport can add stress to their schedules, especially if the ride to the airport is more than an hour. Do everyone a favor and schedule an Uber ride or other car service. Groupon and Living Social have great deals on car services so if you plan ahead, the trip costs can be minimized.
5. Email or Text Notifications: Most airlines like to notify passengers ahead of time if there is a delay or cancellation. If you have not provided a communication method, then update your information on the airline’s web site. There is nothing worse than getting to the airport and finding out your plane was cancelled!
6. Use Airport Lounges: If you are at an airport for more than three hours, checkout your airline’s fees for use of their lounge or club. If you are a frequent flyer with that airline, you may be able to access the lounge for points or pay a nominal fee. Relaxing in a quiet, comfortable environment beats the overcrowded waiting areas of most terminals and gates.
7. Pack Snacks: With airlines reaching maximum capacity during the holidays, there will be delays. Pack healthy snacks to keep up your energy and spirits during these delay periods.
8. Be Entertained: While waiting for a flight, bring a Kindle, Ipad or other devices to keep you entertained and relaxed during the downtime. A good book or an original Netflix episode can keep you engrossed and have time pass by quickly.
9. Download Map Apps: If you are on the road, have map apps downloaded already to help guide you to your destination, especially in areas that are unfamiliar or weak cell phone coverage.
10. Plan Wisely: Snagging a low air fare may mean an extra stop or two on your way to your destination. Did you check how much time you have for your connection? Several web sites assist travelers with connection queries such as Cruise Critic, so check them out. Also, look-up the airport’s layout and see if you have to change terminals for a connecting flight. If you do, this means going through security again adding extra time for you to make your connection.