Spending time with family and friends during the winter holidays is wonderful, but the travel required to be with the ones you love can often be challenging. From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, the holidays are one of the year’s busiest times for travel. You can’t control the crowds, but you can take steps that will help you move as smoothly as possible through the airport. And, preparation begins at home.
A week or two before you leave, think about the routine around your home and make arrangements accordingly. For example, do you need to stop mail delivery, or can a trusted neighbor collect it for you? Think about plants that may need water, snow that may need shoveling, and putting a light or two on a timer switch so that your home looks occupied.
Inspect your luggage and make sure it’s in good condition for travel. Any seams should be fully closed, latches and buckles should work properly, and zippers and wheels should move smoothly. If not, repair or replace it.
Pack as lightly as possible. Leave some room in your luggage for things you may pick up during your travels. Don’t wrap gifts that you’re bringing with you, as security personnel may open the packages. You may even consider shipping those gifts ahead of time so your bags remain as light as possible.
Follow the Transportation Security Administration’s guidance on liquids, gels and powders: most are OK in checked baggage, but if they are in your carry-on bag they cannot be more than three ounces each and must all fit in a quart-size, transparent plastic bag.
Check in online within 24 hours of your departure and print your boarding pass at home. This will re-confirm your seat (remember that many planes are overbooked during the holidays). Some airlines have mobile applications that will let you store your boarding pass on your mobile phone.
On the day you leave, dress simply – you don’t want to deal with layers of sweaters and jackets, lots of jewelry or complicated shoes at the airport security checkpoint.
Just before you leave home, check your flight’s status to confirm that it’s on time.
Finally, if you’re taking your own car to the airport, investigate parking options. Consider using an offsite lot where you can make a reservation so you won’t have to waste time looking for an open parking space.
Knowing that you’ve prepared well, get excited about your trip!
For more pre-flight travel tips, talk with your travel professional.