Posted by Denise on 11 20th, 2009 | 279 responses

Holiday Travel Tips

10 Tips For Stress-Free Holiday Travel

After reading this article, I decided this was very good advice for holiday travelers.

With a little advance planning, journeys during these peak travel times can be smooth and worry-free. Here, we’ve compiled some tips to ensure you arrive at your destination rested, relaxed and ready for an unforgettable holiday.

One Morning Travel Is Best – If delays occur and flights start stacking up, the later your flight, the more likely you will get bumped from an overbooked flight.

Two Non-Stop Flights Rule – Direct flights have multiple benefits. Fewer connections decrease the risk of delays and the possibility of lost luggage, and result in less wear and tear on the traveler.

Packing BagsThree Charge Your Batteries – Both internally and externally. Make sure electronic devices such as music players and cell phones are full charged, allowing you to have both a source of entertainment and communication on your journey. Try packing your bags at least 2 full days before your flight. This will let you enjoy an event-free evening prior to your flight, as well as the opportunity to get plenty of rest.

GiftsFour Wrap Not – If traveling by air and bearing gifts, remember to pack your gifts unwrapped. Otherwise, the agents of the TSA will unwrap those packages with the sheer abandonment of a 5-year-old on Christmas morning. It is far better, and less of a hassle, to ship gifts to your destination prior to your departure.

Collapsible ToteFive What…a Gift for Me? – When planning a trip over the holidays, it’s important to remember you may be receiving—and thus bringing home—gifts. One option is to ship them. Another great idea is to purchase a collapsible tote that fits in your luggage and expands to hold your new treasures. These totes can be easily checked or stowed overhead.

Carry-On  DimensionsSix Carry-On Rocks! – Savvy travelers know the best way to avoid those pesky checked luggage fees and to sidestep the nightmare of lost luggage, is to only bring carry-on bags. In general, carry-on bag dimensions are restricted to a total of 45” (length + width + height needs to add up to no more than 45”). However, these regulations are not consistent among airlines and they often change, so be sure to check our frequently updated Carry On/Check In Luggage Guidelines.

Seven Check In Online – Not all airlines offer this service, but if yours does, take advantage of it. If you check in online, you may be able to avoid one of the longest check-in lines you will ever see. You can print your boarding pass, request an upgrade, and even select seats from the comfort of home. Typically, this service is available 24 hours before your flight, up to 2 hours before departure for domestic flights, and 4 hours before departure for international flights.

Eight Check for Delays – Check with your carrier on the day of your flight regarding delays due to inclement weather or other factors. Many airlines also offer automated voice, text message or email alert services, via their websites, to let you know if and when there are delays.

Nine Arrive EARLY for Your Flight – Due to the large crowds of travelers anticipated for the holiday season, you may encounter delays on the way to the airport, at the parking garage, and in line for both check-in and security. Avoid the stress by arriving a minimum of 2 hours before your flight and for certain destinations, as much as 4 hours before your departure. You can bring a book, have a leisurely meal and start your vacation on the right foot. Arriving early will also give you a better chance of getting on an overbooked flight. Check with your airline for its recommendations.

Ten Be Prepared for Security – Get ready to pass through the TSA security checkpoint before you get to the front of the line.

  • Take everything out of your pockets (coins, keys, PDAs, phones, wallets, etc.) and put it in your jacket, bag or purse, which you can put in the checkpoint bin
  • Remove your belt and watch
  • Place jewelry in your carry-on bag
  • Have your photo I.D. and boarding pass in hand
  • Remove your shoes

In General

Hope for the Best, but Be Prepared for the Worst – Occasionally, holiday travelers may be delayed by bad weather. To prevent crankiness if this happens, make sure you fill your carry-on bag with some snacks, any medication you might need (do not put these into your checked luggage), a music player, good book and crossword puzzles. You might want to include your toothpaste and toothbrush, too – just in case.

I also carry a shaker and ziplock baggies with Shaklee’s Performance to combat dehydration and Cinch Soy Protein for extra energy.  Both can be used with water. This has helped me many a times waiting in the airports and on planes.

Have a safe and happy holiday season.  Denise


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