Tim and I both have a lot of experience traveling around the holidays. Whether it’s a last-minute trip home or a planned vacation, we think every traveler should know our top 5 holiday travel tips before they head to the airport (we think it’s good to keep these tips in your back pocket anytime during the year too).
Top 5 Holiday Travel Tips
1. Pack Light: The last thing you want to do while traveling during the busy holidays is to haul around a lot of stuff. Check the weather of your destination so you know what to pack. Think about what you will wear, so you don’t over pack. Bring layers so you can mix and match your outfits. If you are staying in a hotel, call ahead and ask what type of complimentary services they provide (such as hair blow dryer, razor or shampoo). It will be one less thing for you to pack. If you are staying with friends or family, don’t hesitate to ask if you can borrow things while you are visiting.
2. Be Early: With so many people heading home for the holidays, it is important to remember the airport will be busier than it normally is. The lines will be longer and it will take more time to get from one end of the airport to other. Give yourself plenty of time to check into your flight and get to your gate. The holidays are supposed to be fun. Don’t ruin it by feeling stressed about catching your flight.
3. Come Prepared: Double (if not triple) check when your flight takes off. We recommend checking online before you get to the airport. This will give you one less thing to do before you get on the plane. If you aren’t a frequent flyer, look over TSA’s guidelines so you aren’t surprised by anything. It is also a good idea to keep your Christmas gifts unwrapped. Even though wrapped Christmas gifts are allowed, some TSA security check points may end up having to open the gifts to ensure nothing dangerous is inside. Also, don’t forget to bring a snack (or in Tim’s case — lots of snacks). Traveling can make for long days and any extra boost will help keep you going.
4. Stay Connected: Like I mentioned before, check your flight status before you leave for the airport. Follow your airline on Twitter and Facebook to get the latest updates. If the airline has an app for your mobile device, download it and use it. Being from the Pacific Northwest, we travel on Alaska Airlines a lot. They have a great app for the iPhone. You can check into your flight on your cell phone in less than 45 seconds. There is no need to print off a boarding pass as the app will give you a bar code you can scan when you are at the airport. I love having the boarding pass on my cell phone because it is one less thing to keep track of. Also, don’t forget to bring a cell phone charger.
5. Remain Calm: Don’t let traveling around the holidays be stressful. Understand that something will most likely not go as planned. When we travel, we like to remain positive. Remember everyone else is trying to get someplace, too. Don’t become that obnoxious traveler who thinks they deserve special privileges because their flight was delayed. Stuff happens and its best to not let the small things get to you. Also, be kind to those airline employees. They’re dealing with a lot as well.
Do you have any holiday travel tips of your own? We’d love to hear them! Feel free to leave your tips in the comment section below. You can also connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, Instagram and YouTube. Happy holidays!!! — TT