Tis the season for holiday travel — a challenge simply because millions of other people have the same idea. Don’t let that deter you from a visit to your family or a getaway to one of your favorite destinations. If you plan ahead and keep these seven holiday travel tips in mind, it will be smooth sailing.
Apply For TSA Precheck Or Global Entry
One of the best holiday travel tips you can receive is to apply for TSA Precheck or Global Entry beforehand. In doing so, you will bypass long security and customs lines, which will be tenfold around the holidays. The Transportation Security Administration provides the TSA Precheck program and requires a one-time $85 fee — a great option for domestic travelers. The U.S. Customs and Border Protection has a Global Entry program that requires a one-time fee of $100 — great for international travelers.
Whether you travel via air or car, make sure you keep these holiday travel tips in mind. If you fly, book as far ahead as you can. The longer you wait, the less options you will have. You will also want to check out the possibility of flying to a different airport close to your destination so you can drive the rest of the way. This could save you time and money, depending on what’s available. It’s also good rule of thumb to try and travel early or late in the day to avoid holiday traffic.
If you plan to drive to your destination, check that your car is in good condition, and also plan your route ahead of time, including stops for gas and food.
Allow plenty of time to travel to the airport, check your bags, get through security and get to your gate. It’s best to check-in as soon as you’re able to, usually 24 hours before your boarding time. You should also go ahead and print a physical copy of your ticket in case you’re unable to pull it up on your phone at security or at your gate.
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Charge All Of Your Devices
Before you leave the house, make sure you’ve fully charged your phone, iPad, laptop, etc. You can’t be certain an outlet will be available at the airport or on the road, so it’s best to play it safe. It’s also a good idea to take two chargers with you in case you leave one somewhere or one of them loses its function.
Use Social Media To Track Your Flight
Social media is a great way to stay in the know, especially if you plan to travel. Most of us have had to wait at the airport, agitated because of a late flight, and unable to find out what’s going on. Sometimes you can find out if there are any issues with your flight before they hit your app or gate counter if you simply follow your airline and airport on social media. Twitter is the best social media outlet to follow, as most airlines keep their accounts updated.
Stay Hydrated. Stay Fed
Most everyone knows what it’s like to be hangry, and it’s not fun. Not only will it hinder your ability to think clearly and solve any problems that may arise, but it will cause total frustration and exhaustion. Even if you find yourself in a rush at the airport, on the road — wherever, make sure you keep yourself well hydrated and your brain nourished. Stash a few protein bars, snacks and drinks in your luggage to have with you whenever you need a pick-me-up. If your body tells you it’s thirsty or hungry, listen to it.
Transport Gifts Ahead Of Time
If you plan to travel a great distance to be with family or friends during the holidays, make sure you ship gifts beforehand. You will likely spend the same amount of money at the Post Office as you would if you were to check extra luggage. Another great solution would be to give your loved ones gift cards to their favorite places, and forgo larger gifts that require transportation or shipment.
Pack Something To Pass The Time
You may think you will have no down time while traveling. After all, you’ve chosen to travel during the busiest time of the year. However, holiday travel is probably the most important time of the year to prepare yourself for delays, cancellations and other flight issues that may arise. Pack a novel, your laptop, Ipad or anything else that will entertain you in the event you have to wait long hours, or even worse, get stuck at the airport.
Holiday travel does not have to be a nightmare. If you carefully think and plan ahead, you will lessen the stress that’s often inevitable when traveling. Keep the above seven tips in mind, and you will be on the road to a successful trip this holiday season.
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