Holiday traveling can sometimes be more of an adventure than the actual adventure you are going on. As I have traveled for the holiday's MANY times, I hope to share some quick tips for successfully venturing about with the least amount of stress possible.
- PLAN AHEAD! Figure out where you are going at least 4-6 months ahead of your trip. If you are going home to family or friends great, if not, begin researching and asking around for things to do in the area you will be staying.
- Research the climate. If it's home, well, you'll be familiar with the weather, but if it's abroad, check out the seasonal temperatures so you can plan your luggage accordingly.
- Purchase those plane tickets! The best time to buy airfare for the holidays is 5-7 weeks before your departure. Thanksgiving travels, between the 1st & 3rd week of October. Christmas, between last week of October & second week of November. Sunday is the cheapest day to buy, Wednesday is the cheapest day to fly!
- PRACTICE PACK! I cannot stress this enough, mostly because I am a yearly offender of the overweight bag. A month or so before your trip, grab the bag you will be traveling with and all the items you plan on packing. Fold them nicely, play a little suitcase tetris, and weigh your bag. If you under the allotted weight (50 lbs is the normal maximum weight) good for you, if you're like me, you'll need at least one more try. Put the absolute necessities aside to be packed and re-look at what might not be as important to travel with. Hopefully you are able to take a little weight out of your bag. Maybe even wear your bulkiest jackets and boots to the airport to save space in your bag.
- Getting ready to leave. Wear shoes/boots and jackets that are easy to slide on and off because you will be taking them off in the security line and there will be hundreds of impatient people behind you attempting to scurry through and be on their way. There is nothing more frustrating than being behind someone who takes a billion years to undress and load their belongings on to the conveyor belt to be scanned.
- Heading to the airport. Leave early and plan to arrive AT LEAST 2-3 hours prior to your departure time. The holidays are the busiest days for air travel which means the people, lines, and times double at the airport. If you think you'll get special treatment because your flight leaves in 30 minutes and you're in the back of the line, you wont. Air port staff have more important things to do then worry about your late arrival to the airport and they cannot make exceptions for security reasons. I have heard this multiple times from grumpy, late travelers and believe me, it's not worth the arguments with security.
- Getting to your gate. Congrats, you made it this far and you're on time (I hope)! Head straight for your departure gate before even looking for food or bathrooms. Once you are at your gate and have confirmed that it is, in fact, actually still your gate, (gates change a lot with delays from other planes around the holidays) look around for snacks or restrooms or something to do while waiting for departure.
- Departure time. LETS GO! Listen for your zone, and DO NOT try to sneak in with other zones as it's rude and the ticket takers won't let you through anyways. Get your carry-on into the overhead bin A.S.A.P. because they fill up quickly and you'll want as much legroom as you can get on these stuffy flights.
Are you heading anywhere fun for the holidays? What are some of your favorite airport tips & tricks?