The holidays are quickly approaching! For many of us, that means hoping on a plane to visit loved ones. Between the traffic getting to the airport and the long lines for security, traveling for the holidays can be a headache. But with a little extra thought and planning, the dreaded holiday flight doesn’t have to leave you feeling like the Grinch. Here are some simple travel tips that can help you get through your trip stress free:
Plan for traffic and delays
Getting into a major city, such as New York, is a headache even on the slowest of travel days, so the holidays are just going to add to the traffic. Whether you’re taking a car or train to the airport, delays happen and they can be devastating if not planned for. Give yourself a buffer and plan on leaving an hour before you would actually ‘need to’. If anything, you’ll be early to the gate have time to enjoy a drink to kick off the holiday trip!
Utilize the airport’s website for planning
Many people don’t know that most airport websites have wait time and parking availability dashboards. With real-time updates, it’s easy to check how backed up security is or if you’ll be able to breeze through. If parking seems to always be filled up, consider using a car service to save yourself the stress of finding a spot. Really working with a tight schedule? Some airports even list how long it takes to walk from security to the gate!
Know your airport
Have you ever finally gotten to an airport but then have no idea where to go next? Sometimes there’s a bus from parking to the airport, or an air train that connects different terminals. Nothing is more frustrating than scrambling trying to find out where you need to go so you don’t miss your flight. This is especially true for international travel where you might not even be able to read the signs! Before you leave for your trip, look at a map of the airport and plan out your route.
Mail the gifts
A lot of people traveling for the holidays want to bring presents for the family and friends they're visiting. While everyone appreciates the gifts, it can cause some potential headaches for you at the airport. For example, what happens if the airport lose your luggage with all the gifts? Or TSA wants to inspect a gift that you've already wrapped up so nicely? Instead of trying to bring gifts with you on the plan, just ship them to where you are staying ahead of time.
Avoid connecting flights
Flying direct is the easiest way to get to your destination, but often times direct flights are significantly more expensive; or depending on where you’re going, nonexistent. When booking a connecting flight, factor in the possibility for delays. If you only have a half hour in between flights and your first flight is late, you might find yourself stuck waiting for a later flight. Try to give yourself at least an hour between connecting flights. If your connecting flight is at a busy airport, such as JFK or LAX, you might want to extend that buffer to two hours.