Here are 5 tips from a pro-traveler who has flown every holiday for the past…..too many years! Holiday travel doesn’t have to be stressful, here are some reminders before you go.
1. Check-in 24 hours before your flight online or with their app.
If you can, be sure to check in 24 hours before your flight either online or in their app. You should be able to print out a boarding pass at this point, which will save you time in line. Or for a more green approach, you can usually download the app for your airline to your phone and have an e-ticket on your phone.
This may be paranoid…but if I have an e-ticket boarding pass, I will take a screenshot of it with my phone. That way, even if my cell service or wifi craps out, I have the e-ticket available for TSA and boarding in my camera roll.
2. Do your prep work ahead of time and be ready to Breeze Through Airport Security.
In a previous article I laid out my simple, 7 step process in “How to Breeze Through Airport Security“. This starts with packing properly, wearing the right clothes, and getting to the airport on time. Holiday travel is even busier than usual travel, make it easy on yourself and those behind you by being prepared.
During holiday travel, I always get to the airport a minimum of 2 hours early. Yes, even for domestic travel. It is necessary because everyone and their mother is out at the same time and they all are checking bags while simultaneously trying to wrangle crying children.
3. If you know it’ll be busy, curb check your bag.
No, this is not a euphemism for violently stomping your suitcase…there is a wonderful service at most airports called “curb check” that is provided by your airline. You pull up to the corresponding airline’s door at drop-off, check your bag with the attendant, and waltz inside to security. With curb check you can completely skip the massive line to ticketing counters inside! I usually travel with a carry-on anymore, but when I do have to check (*cough* holiday travel means packing presents *cough*), I will curb check every time.
The curbside attendants work for tips, so please have cash ready for them! I usually give them about $5. You know what, you should always carry some cash when you’re traveling too…I’ll have to add that tip to one of these sometime…
4. Yes, you can put wrapped presents in carry-on!
A friend of mine was really concerned that his carry-on luggage would be flagged because it had wrapped presents in it. Don’t worry – as long as there aren’t any prohibited things or large bottles (over 6 ounces) of liquid in the packages, you are good to go. X-rays can see through wrapping paper. (Ha!)
I usually check my bag with presents, makes things easier. However, if you have a short visit and only one or two gifts, there is no need to pay for checked luggage, bring them through with your carry-on.
5. Be jolly! Make some friends, wish someone “Happy Holidays”!
The holidays can be stressful for so many, remember to be kind to others. You never know what someone else is going through, please be kind. It goes so far! Be jolly and enjoy your travel, after the craziness in the airport you will be with your loved ones.
When I have holiday travel, I love to wear something festive – maybe jingle bells or a silly headband with elf feet (See above! Ha!). It spreads cheer and will help alleviate some of the travel nerves and tension around you.
Deciding to travel super last minute and still haven’t booked your ticket? Be sure to check out these two helpful articles!
“Paying Extra for Seats: Travel Do or Don’t?” – Helpful advice when you book! Sometimes that upgrade really isn’t necessary.
“INDUSTRY UPDATE | Book Flights in January!” – The latest update recommends booking your flight in the first two weeks of 2018.