The holiday season is simultaneously the most popular and most frustrating time of the year to travel. People are rushing to visit friends and family or enjoy the holiday abroad, so the airport lines are long and flights are full. Additionally, winter weather can interfere with your itineraries by causing travel delays and cancellations.
Flights around Christmas and New Year are bustling. For a more relaxed journey to your holiday destination, follow these three travel tips.
1. Gift guidelines
If you're planning on flying with gifts, The Huffington Post suggested comparing the price of checking luggage to costs of shipping the presents in advance. You may find that only packing a carry-on bag and sending the gifts through the mail is ultimately a better deal.
For people who prefer to tote presents on the plane, it's best not to wrap them, according to Travel Channel. They might be opened during the security screening process, so you should save the effort and materials and dress the gift up at your destination.
2. Dodge delay dilemmas
It's a good idea to be prepared for potential delays since the weather may be less than favourable. The first way to do so is by packing items that will come in handy during long waits. You should have snacks, or at least an idea of where you can buy some, to make sure you don't get grumpy. Keeping your blood sugar up will help you stay comfortable overall because you can avoid a stomachache and even lost concentration, Travel Channel explained.
You may also want to pack some form of entertainment, whether that's a book or your tablet. While the plane likely has an in-flight entertainment system, you can be stuck in the airport for hours before boarding. Make sure your phone and other devices are charged before you leave the house, since delayed flights mean plenty of passengers will be circled around the airport's available electrical outlets.
3. Plan prematurely
A lot of stress related to air travel can be avoided with excess planning. Find out what steps leading up to boarding you can take before even leaving the house, like checking in, printing your boarding pass or paying baggage fees. Certain budget airlines charge more for checked bags if you don't pay in advance, so be sure to check on that.
You should also have a backup plan ready in case your flights are delayed or cancelled. This means making note of alternative flights or modes of transportation. CNN explained that this preparation can give you an advantage if you need to find seats on a new flight after yours is cancelled.
There are a few ways your smartphone can be prepped for adventure. Download apps related to travel, such as Misery Map and GateGuru, which keep you updated on the weather and help you navigate the airport. You may also want to add numbers for your travel insurance provider, hotel and airline to your contacts in case you need to contact any of them. It can be helpful to follow the airline and airport on social media so you have up-to-date information.
Finally, don't underestimate the importance of arriving to the airport early. You should expect lines for check-in and security to be longer than normal, plus increased traffic in the parking garage and on airport shuttles. Although this plan could leave you with a surplus of waiting time before your flight, it's better to be early and bored for a flight than late and stressed out.