The year may be coming to an end, but the traveling season is just getting started. For many, the holidays mean family, love, and giving back, but the holidays can also have a negative connotation: traveling. It’s no secret that December is the world’s busiest traveling month, which translates to pure chaos. Missed flights, long delays, and endless security lines can sum up the experience, just to name a few. Whether you’re traveling across the country to visit relatives or traveling abroad to experience the holiday’s in a different culture, these five tips will make your holiday travels flow effortlessly.
Planning ahead is a smart tip for any traveler, but can make all the difference in avoiding the holiday mania. These two tricks will ease your headache before it even starts.
One: Avoid traveling on the holidays themselves (Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve & Christmas day, New Year’s Eve & New Year’s day.) These dates are the most likely to experience overcrowded lines, delays, and overall mayhem.
Two: The second you decide on traveling, look up airline tickets and book your flight. The earlier you purchase, the cheaper your tickets will be. It also helps to keep your travel window open. If you type in a broad range of travel dates on any airline site, you will be able to see which days are cheapest to fly.
Download your airline’s app
Most airlines have their own apps nowadays that make traveling a lot easier. The apps allow you to check in to your flight, be notified of any delays, and even download your boarding pass so you don’t have to wait in those treacherous lines. December also means bad weather and a lot of cancellations, so the app will allow you to track your flight and be aware of any canceled flights before arriving at the airport. These all may sound like minor details but can save you so much time, especially when the airport is packed full of holiday travelers.
Allow extra time at the airport
Typically, it’s recommended that you arrive at the airport at least two hours before your flight, but, when traveling for the holidays, you may want to add a little more time. After all, the holidays are the busiest times to travel and the most congested you will see an airport. Following the tip above and skipping out on check-in lines could save up to an hour before your flight, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Also, make sure your luggage follows all airlines rules to save any mishaps at security. Security is the reason it is recommended you allow plenty of time before your flight, so the more prepared you are, the less likely you’ll be to miss your flight.
Be cautious of airborne illnesses
If I told you how many germs and bacteria were floating around airports and airplanes on a regular basis, you might think twice about traveling. But, that’s unrealistic around the holidays so the best thing to do is to be cautious. If you go to your local drug store, you will find many different drinks and concoctions to boost your immune system before traveling. It’s also encouraged to keep hand sanitizer on deck, wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching your hands and fingers to your face. If you’re traveling with little ones, Clorox wipes and wet naps are your best friend.
Traveling with gifts
One mistake that a lot of people make when traveling for the holidays is packing pre-wrapped gifts. It’s a common idea to have your gifts wrapped before you make it to your destination to avoid the hassle, but unfortunately, a lot of times gifts are unwrapped while going through security. If an item sets off a metal detector or looks suspicious to a TSA agent, they will have to remove the gift from its wrapping. Another pro-tip when traveling with gifts is to simply not travel with them at all. Thanks to the luxury of online shopping and delivery services, you can have your gifts sent straight to its destination without any hassle. For a small fee, most sites will even wrap the gift for you so you don’t even have to deal with it.
Guest Author: Kara Straight
Hi! My name is Kara Straight. I’m a writer for a few different publications, and have my own lifestyle blog as well! My best friend and I love to travel, so we make sure to travel somewhere new at least every other month. My first time traveling out of the country was when I studied abroad in Costa Rica during one of my college semesters. And from then on, the rest was history! Check out her blog at Straight Livin’ With Kara.