AAA tells us that almost 100 million people travel during the holiday season, and this year will be no different. Follow these 6 simple tips to be the most prepared you can be, and hopefully ease a bit of that holiday travel stress.
1. Be weather-smart. If your flight requires a layover somewhere, try to make your layover in a southern city vs. a northern city. Minneapolis, Denver & Chicago are all popular airports to travel through, but also happen to be cities who receive the most snowfall during the holiday season. Some say, “Go through those airports; they know how to deal with the snow” and they’re right to some extent. But I say, avoid them if you can help it.
2. If you are traveling through a city that may get some adverse weather, pack appropriately. Be sure to include an extra change of clothes, a toothbrush & some snacks in your carry-on bag, just in case. You probably won’t end up needing them, but you’ll sure be glad you have them if you do.
3. Let’s face it, holiday travel can get expensive. When comparing flights to book (I use Kayak.com & Southwest), be sure to factor in those pesky luggage fees. I happen to be a fan of Southwest during the holiday season because of their no luggage fee policy. I usually have a haul of presents going both ways, and it’s nice to have that extra luggage room without the added cost. (Southwest also happens to be extremely flexible and fair when it comes to changing your flight, if that does come up).
4. Download your airline’s app. I do this each time I fly, because it’s an easy way to stay up-to-date with your flight information, and oftentimes you can use the app to check in for your flight and use your phone as your boarding pass. Who doesn’t want to eliminate standing in another line?
5. If you have miles available to use towards a flight, the holiday season is a great time to apply them. Like I mentioned above, travel can get pretty pricy this time of year, and if you can avoid paying double what you’d pay in March, apply those miles! (Check with your airline 1st before setting your sights on this. Some airlines will charge double miles during certain dates, and that may not be worth it either).
6. Keep an optimistic attitude. Be aware that you’re not the only person trying to make it home for the holidays, and the airlines are trying their best to get you there. Arrive to the airport early. Expect long lines. Expect crying children and that Grinch in the TSA line. It’s a stressful time of the year for many, but it doesn’t have to be for you. Keep your own holiday spirit and apply it when you can. Remember, Santa’s always watching 😉