Tips for Enjoying Hassle-Free Travel during the Holiday Season
Every year without fail, news outlets run several stories about crowded airports and busy highways during the holiday season. With wide swaths of the country driving and flying to be with family and friends, it’s little wonder that the busiest travel days of the year occur at this time of year. However, with just a bit of planning, making the trip to be with your loved ones can be as easy as traveling at any other time of year.
First, regardless of whether you plan on driving or flying, book tickets and accommodations early. You can often get a good deal by shopping around and looking for good early-bird prices. If you are driving, you can’t do anything about the season’s higher gas prices. However, you can make sure your vehicle is in good condition and use your smartphone to map out a flexible route. Avoiding traffic during this time of year is as easy as any other time. Drive early in the morning and late at night to have the road to yourself. Just be sure you understand your options in case you need to make a detour to avoid traffic or weather.
Flying during the holidays is a different beast entirely. You’ll have the most luck booking flights outside peak travel times, like the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. Ideally, you want to schedule a direct flight early in the day to improve the odds of leaving the gate on time. If all available flights have a connection, choose a longer one, as it is harder to make tight connections in a busy holiday-season airport. If possible, pack light. Losing your luggage over the holidays is especially unpleasant. Finally, remember to leave gifts unwrapped or in gift bags. The TSA will need to open wrapped presents to conduct safety inspections.