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Tips For Navigating Holiday Travel

Updated: Sep 13, 2023

It's almost that time of the year. That festive time when family and friends gather to share food, laughs, and joy. It's a beautiful time! Unfortunately, with everybody and their mama either heading home to visit loved ones or jetting off to take advantage of their PTO, the holidays make for the busiest and most hectic travel conditions. Traveling during this time can be extremely stressful, but it doesn't necessarily have to be. Here are a few useful tips to help you navigate holiday travel and make your journey more manageable.

Choose Your Travel Days Wisely

When traveling for the holidays, most people plan to arrive before the actual holiday. However, if you can travel the day of (Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Year's Day) you will encounter significantly fewer crowds and also lower prices. If this is not an option for you, avoid flying on the weekends, as these will definitely be the days with the highest ticket prices and largest crowds. You'll also want to avoid traveling the day before Thanksgiving and the Sunday after it, the few days before Christmas Eve, and the second day of the new year. These are some of the busiest travel days of the year! Interestingly enough, the days that are busiest for flight travel are also the busiest for road travel, so keep this in mind if you are planning to drive somewhere for any of the holidays.

Plan Ahead Planning ahead will help you save time and avoid unnecessary headaches. There's nothing more annoying than arriving at the airport parking lot and finding it full. Parking garages fill up faster around the holidays, so be sure to reserve your spot in advance if you plan on driving to the airport. Leave your house with plenty of time to spare to account for delays and long lines. Skip the airline ticket counter, if you can, by checking in online and printing your ticket in advance. Track your flight's status so you can be aware of any delays. You can do this on your airline’s mobile app or apps such as FlightAware. Pack Light If you can avoid checking luggage, that is ideal. Airlines losing passengers' luggage is becoming a serious issue with occurrences of it continually increasing. And, unfortunately, U.S. airlines are some of the biggest culprits. In April of this year alone, U.S. airlines had more than 220,000 instances of lost, damaged, or delayed checked luggage. That's a 135% increase from last year's figures. Thus, many travelers are now opting to bring carry-on luggage only, when feasible. We know you want to spoil your loved ones with amazing gifts but they can take up a lot of luggage space and can cause issues with TSA if wrapped. Consider shipping or having your gifts delivered to your destination in advance or even giving out gift cards instead.

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