Top 7 Holiday Travel Tips
For many, the holiday season is a time of travel. People travel across the country in November and December to visit family and have destination holiday celebrations. An estimated 109 million people will travel this holiday season, making December the busiest month to travel. If you have plans to get out in the weeks to come, follow these 7 tips to ensure your trip goes smoothly this holiday season.
1. Book trips early
As the holiday season amps up, more people look to purchase last-minute tickets, jacking up prices and leading to shortages. Staying ahead of the holiday rush will ensure you secure your tickets at the best price. The best time to book a flight is one to three months before the departure date.
Try to book flights for early in the day. Especially in the North, bad weather can cause cancelations and delays that will create a ripple effect throughout the day. Getting out early will ensure your plane misses the rush of people looking to secure a spot after a cancelation. You can count on a quick trip to the airport early in the morning before rush hour. With fewer travelers flying in the morning, you can breeze through the airport.
Hotels and other accommodations can also fill up this time of the year. Even if you are not flying, booking ahead of time is still important.
2. Apply for TSA PreCheck
Security checkpoints at the airport can cause a headache. Sometimes lines can take a long time to get through, leading to stress for holiday travelers. If you know you might get to the airport late or at a peak, busy time, applying for TSA PreCheck ahead of time could save you precious time that would be spent standing in line.
3. Pack light
Whether you are flying or driving to your holiday destination, packing light can save you time and stress later in your trip. Having to move a lot of luggage from the plane or car to the hotel will eat into your precious vacation time.
Believe it or not, it's easier to forget an essential when you over-pack for a trip. If you trim down your packing list to the bare essentials, you are more likely to remember to get them all. Plus, you’ll spend less time shuffling through luggage during your holiday to find your pajamas.
4. Have your car looked at
If you are planning a cross-country road trip as part of your holiday season, it's a good idea to have your car checked out by a local mechanic. A pre-trip inspection will make sure everything is in good working order, so you don’t have any unexpected detours.
Even if the car seems to be functioning well, commuting and driving around town puts much less strain on a vehicle than a multi-hour long drive. Unfortunately, the time when problems pop up are on trips like this. Get your car checked to avoid delays on the road.
5. Watch the weather
Whether you are flying or driving this holiday season, weather events can put a big bump in your holiday plans. If you see an adverse weather event coming on the day you are planning to be traveling, have a backup plan. Call your airline and ask about their travel policies. If you are expected to be on the road, have a list of nearby motels to spend the night if conditions get bad for driving.
6. Keep all your gifts in one place
Nothing could be worse than showing up for your Christmas and realizing some presents got left behind. Have a specific bag for transporting presents so all you have is one thing to grab and you’ll have everything you need. Be sure to label packages that are fragile so nothing gets broken.
Even though it may be tempting to check gift wrapping off your list, it's better to wait until you arrive to wrap presents especially if you’re flying. TSA may need to check wrapped packages, meaning all your hard work will go to waste. Leaving wrapping until you arrive will ensure nothing gets damaged along the way and your gifts are looking their best. If you are traveling with family, secure their presents in brown paper bags so theirs no peaking.
7. Have fun
Regardless of the success of your holiday travel, remember the most important part of the holidays is spending time with family. Don’t get so caught up in trying to get to where you're going that you forget to enjoy the journey. Holiday memories can be made anywhere.
What’s your favorite holiday tradition? Let us know in the comments below.
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