While travel can be fun, rewarding, and even life-changing, it can also be very stressful for many people. Traveling during a busy season, such as summer or around winter breaks, can add more pressure. If you are traveling this holiday season, there are several tips to keep in mind to help make your journey as smooth as possible.

List Of Tips For Flights Around The Holidays

Let’s jump right into some tips to help travelers prepare for their journeys during the winter.

Give yourself plenty of time

Travel is subject to delays, regardless of whether you travel by car, train, or plane. There can be technical issues (like we saw with Southwest Airlines
LUV
at the beginning of the year), bad weather, or a delay from one part of the country that creates a domino effect. You also want to give yourself plenty of time to get to and from your destination. Plan for long lines to get through security, check luggage, and even get to and from destinations.

Fly early

If you can take the first flight out, go for it. Flying early might be a hassle and have more crowds, but it’s also less likely to get delayed due to a problem at another destination. Plus, you’ll have more time at your destination.

Sign up for alerts

Alerts can help you plan or readjust your travels, especially if you can move a connecting flight ahead of time. Most travel apps from airlines will keep you updated, but signing up for text and email alerts is a good idea. I’ve had the unfortunate experience of being on an international flight and finding out via a text alert that my connecting flight was canceled. Because I knew this before we landed, I was able to get a jump on moving my flights before it was too late.

Shop around

Everyone wants to save money on flights, especially around the holidays. When booking flights, take some time to check the surrounding airports in your intended destination. Sometimes, you’ll find special deals at smaller airports. It is also worth checking if flying one-way instead of roundtrip is cheaper. If you can, play around with the dates of travel as well. You’ll find that some days leading up to Christmas will be much more expensive than others.

Consider trip insurance

Because this time of year is more unpredictable, thanks to more people and various weather conditions, you may want to invest in an insurance policy. Consider if/what kind of coverage you need, and ensure it’s covered. For instance, check for weather coverage if traveling somewhere in harsh conditions. Checking for illness coverage is also a good idea, as more people tend to be ill this time of year.

Travel with only carry-on luggage

Traveling with only one carry-on bag isn’t possible for everyone, but if you can swing it, you can forgo long check-in lines and head straight to security. You also won’t have to wait around for your bags to arrive. Plus, you don’t have to worry about luggage getting stuck somewhere if you have several connecting flights.

How Can You Prepare For Delays And Cancellations?

Preparing for delays and cancelations is not fun, but it can save you should an unexpected event occur. One way to prepare is to store all of your trip information in one place, like in your notes app or somewhere else that is easily accessible and doesn’t require the internet to find.

Keep phone numbers, emails, and social media handles on hand to get a jump on contacting airlines. It’s also a good idea to brush up on policies for delays and cancellations, especially if you are traveling abroad.

How Early Should You Get To The Airport?

If you are flying domestically, aim to be at the airport at least two hours before takeoff. Many domestic flights begin boarding 30 minutes before the scheduled departure time.

If you fly internationally, you should aim to be there three hours before departure. Boarding on international flights usually begins an hour before the departure time. You may also check the airport’s website to gauge estimated security times to help you better understand what to expect at the airport.

Where Should You Pack Wrapped Gifts?

While TSA does allow you to travel with wrapped gifts, if anything looks suspicious, they may ask you to unwrap the package. If they end up unwrapping a gift, don’t expect it to get rewrapped. You may place wrapped gifts in your checked luggage (just be sure it doesn’t contain any prohibited items) to avoid any hassle during the security process.

But, if you are trying to save time and money and only want to travel with a carry-on, consider wrapping your gifts after you travel or placing the gifts in a gift box or gift bag that makes it easy to remove.

List Of Tips For Car Travel Around The Holidays

If you travel by car during the holiday season, there are a few things to remember. Here are a couple of tips for any holiday road trips:

Map out your journey

Planning out your route beforehand can help you avoid unnecessary toll roads and prepare you for closures or construction projects. It’s also a great idea to have stops planned along the way. Having a set of predetermined stops helps you stay motivated and can relieve stress about finding a service station. You may also want to share this itinerary with a trusted friend or family member.

Download apps ahead of time

Don’t wait until you’re on the road to download or try out a new app to help you navigate. Practice driving with the apps before your trip starts so you’ll be used to the system.

Prepare your vehicle for rough weather

Before any road trip, you should inspect your vehicle to ensure it is safe and ready for your journey. However, you’ll need to make extra inspections for driving in the winter months. Check your car to ensure you’ve got everything you need should you get caught in a snowstorm or other cold weather.

Keep wrapped gifts out of sight

Finally, don’t keep wrapped gifts where others can easily spot them. Try to pack your items so that they are hidden. You don’t want to show that you’re traveling with plenty of valuable goods.

Summary

Traveling during the holidays can be excellent as you can see places decorated and ready for the season’s traditions. It’s also a chance to see places in a new light. However, many people travel during this time of year. Therefore, it is wise to set a few plans before you take your journey.

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