An influx of Holiday travel is upon us. And since many haven’t seen their loved ones over the holidays in a couple years – holiday travel this year is going to be filled with those who are a little rusty.
So to get you prepared for airport delays and extra road traffic, I have put together a Holiday Travel Survival Guide filled with reminders to help get you home to your families in good holiday spirits.
HOLIDAY AIR TRAVEL SURVIVAL TIPS
Whether the delays are weather related or just due to the influx in air traffic, the earlier in the day your flight is, the better chance you will have to avoid some of those delays.
Expect more people at the airport and more people means longer lines for check-in and security. Make sure to give yourself a little more time than normal to make it to your gate.
Weather delays could be a storm that delays your flight, but it could also be a reason you need to leave for the airport earlier than normal so you can drive slow.
If your gift gets picked for TSA screening, that pretty wrapping will be gone. Instead, bring the wrapping materials and wrap after TSA or just wait until you get to your destination for wrapping.
*And don’t worry about it taking up room in your bag – once you use the wrapping materials, it will free up room for any gifts you bring home.
Bring extra snacks, a water bottle, and power bank for your electronics. Download movies, TV shows and podcast episodes, and just be mentally prepared for flight delays.
In addition – don’t book layovers too close together in preparation that there may be flight delays on your first flight. If you can book direct, it may be worth paying extra during this time.
Air travel in general can play with your immune system. And colds are quite common in the winter, so give your immune system a little boost of Airborne or vitamins that work for your body.
Even if you don’t normally do this, this is the time of year to make sure your flight is covered for delays and/or weather cancelations. Or at least make sure to read the delay / cancelation T&C’s for your airline. Different airlines have different policies on what compensation you may be entitled to based on significant delays or cancelations.
Make sure to read ahead and know what policies are in place or what travel insurance you may get to cover holiday travel hiccups.
In addition to delays – make sure to check policies on if you are bumped from a flight due to “oversold seats.” With so many traveling over the holidays, a flight being oversold is a possibility.
Remember, at the time of writing this, we still need to wear masks on planes. And you may want to pack an extra just in case anything happens to your first one.
If you are traveling domestically within the US, you don’t need to show proof of vaccine or negative Covid test, but if you are flying anywhere internationally, make sure to have all your docs in order.
I would not wait until you get to the airport to try and find a rental car. There seems to be a crazy shortage of rental cars right now. This isn’t based on any news … just experience trying to get rental cars over the past year. Make sure you plan for this in advance because if you can’t find a rental car, you will want to make sure you have plans in place to get around.
In addition, Ubers and/or Lyfts may be in short supply depending on the area, so booking any of that in advance will save from the stress of not knowing if you will get one.
Just a reminder that the holidays are a stressful time to travel, for customers as well as anyone working with the airline. When there are delays and bumps in the road, remember to try to stay patient with the airline workers – they are doing their best to get you to your holiday soirees in a timely manner.
And if the lines are getting too long at the airline counter, you can always call customer service while standing in line – maybe you’ll get everything resolved quicker while waiting.
HOLIDAY ROAD TRAVEL SURVIVAL TIPS
Make sure your car is ready to hit the road. Replace your wipers (you don’t want to potentially hit snowy conditions and have your wipers not work), fill your fluids, check your headlights, rotate your tires, get an oil change, etc.
Make sure to have things like water and blankets in your car. Heaven forbid your car breaks down or you get a flat in cold temps – make sure you are prepared for the cold while you wait for a tow truck or to fix a flat tire
I use the app Drive Weather to check the weather along my route as far as a week out. This will give you an idea if you will be driving through any conditions that may cause delays.
While trying to just get to your destination, you don’t want to realize you are close to empty and miles away from the nearest gas station. If you are on a main highway, I use the app iExit to tell me what gas stations are at each exit and how many miles they are.
If you are on back roads, you can usually use your garmin / direction app to locate close gas stations. But, growing up in rural areas, I know that the closest gas station can still be miles away … and not all are set up to pay at the pumps and will close at night, so plan accordingly.
Make sure to stock up on those snacks so you don’t eat all the cookies you made for holiday presents!
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