This is a redux of the same post I did this time last year…it can’t hurt to be reminded again of ways to avoid the stress of holiday travel!
Will you be joining the millions of other Americans flying over the holidays?
Navigating airports, security lines and flying can be stressful any time, but dealing with all that on the busiest weekend of the year can turn into a nightmare very easily. Here are a few survival tactics to alleviate as much stress as possible:
Consider booking your flights in and out of smaller airports. The security lines will be shorter and air traffic control queues will be less of a problem.
Book your flight first thing in the morning. Air traffic won’t have had a chance to back up and flights are more likely to be delayed later in the day.
Try to book direct flights even if it costs a little more.
Do not check your bags if there is any way at all you can avoid it. Send gifts ahead. Ship your bags via a company such as Luggage Free.
If you are driving to the airport, keep in mind parking lots may be full. Check out your parking options before you drive to the airport.
Consider paying a little more for faster access through security. Many airlines offer priority lines if you pay an additional fee. If you are ever going to pay extra for this type of service, the holidays would be the time to do it.
Check the weather in both your departure and arrival locations. If the weather is questionable be prepared to make alternative arrangements. The airline may let you change your flights for free before you leave home if there is impending bad weather.
Bookmark airlinenumbers.com on your phone or laptop so you will have the information handy if you need it.
Install an app such as FlightAware on your phone or request text updates on your specific flight to stay on top of any gate changes or delays.
Day of Travel:
Get to the airport VERY early. It’s taken me my whole life to learn this lesson and, once I did, it was a game changer. Nobody likes to spend their day at an airport but it’s even worse to be standing in a security line watching the minutes tick by just knowing you are going to miss your plane. Arrive several hours early – if you breeze through security, consider yourself lucky and go grab something to eat, sit down and read a book or magazine.
Print your Boarding Passes at home (ideally 24 hours before you are traveling). I am always amazed that people don’t do this – it’s so simple to print your boarding pass ahead of time and eliminates one entire line at the airport.
Dress and pack your carry-on bags with airport security mind. Be ready with your plastic bags and containers under 3 ounces. Wear shoes that are easy to take on and off. Don’t wear a lot of jewelry and accessories that may need to be removed when going through the scanners.
Pack snacks for the airport and plane (just no liquids). Airlines rarely serve food any more and even if they do, if you are in a long delay situation, that bag of chips will not last you all day. Protein bars, apples and nuts are all things that are easy to toss in your carry-on just in case.
If your flight is canceled or it looks like you may miss a connection, call the airline from your cell phone rather than waiting in line at the customer service center (or call while waiting in line and deal with whoever you reach first).
Patience, Patience, Patience – A good attitude even in the craziest situation will help reduce your stress level considerably.
That’s a lot of information – I hope it helps! Do you have any other strategies for reducing stress while flying during busy times?? If so, I would love to hear them. I won’t be traveling this Thanksgiving or Christmas – MY number one strategy for travel over the holidays is to invite everyone to my house!!
The enchanted home says
This is SO good. I am going to bookmark this, we are driving for Thanksgiving but supposed to go to away right after Christmas and I know what the holiday chaos is like..maddening! Almost enough to make you just want to stay home and do nothing but eat leftovers:)
Great tips Sandy!
pve design says
Fantastic travel tips anytime of year!
Thanks so much for sharing.
The Buzz Blog says
We didn't travel until our boys could wheel their own bags and keep themselves occupied on a plane so it's been smooth sailing for a while. PVE is right – these tips are great all year long! Thanks for stopping by The Buzz and entering our book giveaway.
C + C
Elizabeth@ Pine Cones and Acorns says
Sandy, great tips for traveling for both the seasoned pro and the occasional holiday traveler.
pretty pink tulips says
Brilliant and always worth repeating!!! I am traveling twice during the holidays so I really need to take heed of all your advice.
Thanks, Sandy…this is great information!
I have a friend who says "If you've never missed a flight, you spend too much time at the airport."
I am much more in your camp on this one. I'd much rather get to the airport way early and have time to relax than be stressed out in traffic and in the security lines. Now that so many airports have wi-fi, I just spend the time playing on my computer or iPad.
Great tips, Sandy! See you on Monday for your link party!