How to Survive Airport Travel During the Holidays
Holiday travel is stressful. Flying through the airports during the busiest time of the year could turn even the merriest person into a scrooge.
To make your holiday travel a little less stressful, use these expert travel tips to keep your holiday merry and bright– even in the airports!
Ship Gifts and Luggage
Whether you are visiting family or having a lavish family vacation that you saved for all year, shipping gifts and even luggage is the way to go!
Not only are check bags more likely to be lost during the holiday rush, but checking a bag is expensive and heavy bags can become very costly. What’s worse, is TSA has the right to unwrap any of your gifts if they have to hand search your luggage. This could mean hours of wasted time wrapping gifts went to waste, or your kiddo’s may have Christmas gifts but nothing to unwrap.
Instead of worrying about lost luggage or unwrapped gifts, use a service such as Fed Ex and ship ahead. (I never trust the US Postal Service with anything of value). Fed Ex even has a special service designed to ship your luggage ahead of your trip directly to your hotel if you are able to have that packed up in advance as well.
If you sent your baggage ahead of you or have nothing to check, this can be especially convenient. Not only will this save time, but it will ensure you are ready to go prior to arriving at the airport.
Know Baggage Limits
If you are going to check a bag, be sure to know the baggage limits and policies on your carrier. An overweight bag can become very expensive, very quickly. On international flights they can be several hundred dollars.
Splurge on a Lounge Pass
During the holidays, arriving early is key. Security lines can have long wait times, and getting to your gate can take longer than normal. Security lines can be unpredictable and sometimes getting to the airport early means a long and miserable wait at the gate. Instead, get a lounge pass. With all of the screaming children and non-seasoned travelers at the gates, the lounge is a perfect place to escape the craziness. Entry can be complementary with certain credit cards, or can be purchased usually for around $50. Another great option is Priority Pass.
Watch This Video for More Holiday Travel Tips
Prepare for the Madness
Being prepared for the crazy travel day ahead. Pack efficiently so you are able to quickly reach any items you need in-flight. I am a huge advocate for Bose noise cancelling headphones, snacks, a sleep eye-mask, and a neck pillow are all great ways to prepare!
Sign up for Global Entry, TSA Pre-Check or Clear
There is nothing like flying by everyone who is waiting in the security line. If you apply for Global Entry, you will be able to have TSA Pre-Check for all of your future flights. This means shorter security lines, and keeping your shoes on, and laptops in bags (Think security pre-9/11). Clear is also a great program that will scan your fingerprints or retina to confirm your identity and escort you to the front of the security line. Not only does this save time, especially during the holidays, but it will save you stress as well!
Bring Activities for Kids
Children can get fussy on travel days, especially in the air. No one wants to be the parent with the screaming child (and none of the other passengers want to hear them scream)! Try letting your kids pick out new games and activities that are specifically for your trip, and don’t let them have them until your travel day begins. This way, if your holiday flight does get delayed, your children will be occupied and prepared for the long day. Also, bring some of their favorite snacks–– but avoid anything sugary so they don’t get that sugar high on the flight!
A few years ago when I asked my friend and travel expert Johnny Jet for his best overall travel tip for a Huffington Post article I was writing, it was to be nice. If you know Johnny, you know that he’s one of the nicest people on the face of this planet–– so this tip comes easily for him. This tip, however, isn’t always easy for all of us on difficult travel days, but it crucial for holiday travel. If you need something, you will always get more with honey than you will with vinegar.
When boarding a flight, I always make a point so give a big smile to the cabin crew, say good morning, ands how their day is while passing by. Sometimes, I even bring the flight crew chocolates or candy. The cabin crew appreciates it, and will treat you like first class—even if you’re in economy. They will probably even take care of a drink or two for you.
No matter where your holiday travels may take you, use these tips and you will no longer stress at the airport this holiday season!