I am not a fan of traveling during the holidays – flights are full and lines are long making travel downright unpleasant. For those who have to travel during the holidays, here are my tips for surviving holiday travel:
1) Consider flying or driving on a less busy travel day. For example, instead of flying on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving fly on Thanksgiving morning.
2) When booking connecting flights, make sure to allow a sufficiently long connection. I prefer to allow for at least an hour and half connection on domestic flights. Even though a shorter connection might be legal, if your first flight is delayed even a bit you might not make the second flight. If you have a few choices of cities that you can connect in, choose a city with better weather to minimize weather delays or cancellations. Here is a guide on how to stay comfortable on a long layover.
3) Book early morning flights if possible. Flights that depart first thing in the morning are less likely to be delayed because the airplane is already at the gate from the night before.
4) Sign up for TSA Precheck or Global Entry (which includes TSA Precheck). TSA Precheck makes going through airport security faster and easier because you do not have to take off your shoes, liquids, belt and light jacket. The security lines for TSA Precheck are usually shorter than the regular lines.
5) If flying Southwest, make sure you check in exactly 24 hours before your flight or purchase EarlyBird check-in in order to board early and have best pick of seats.
6) Arrive to the airport earlier than usual. Since more people are flying, security lines will be longer than they usually are.
7) Consider purchasing airport lounge access if you are not entitled to it for free. Some lounges offer day passes for $50 dollars but access includes free food, drinks and wi-fi. You can also find discounted day passes on ebay.
8) Fly with only carry-on luggage. That way you don’t have to worry about lost or delayed luggage and can avoid long waits at the baggage claim. Check out my printable carry on bag essentials list to make sure you pack what you need in your carry on bag.
9) Program your airline’s phone number in your cellphone. That way if your flight is cancelled you can quickly call customer service (while also waiting in line at the airport) and have a better chance of being rebooked on the next flight.
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