Long lines, lost luggage, weather delays, children screaming, in-laws waiting, credit card balances rising, it could only mean one thing. Love it or hate it, the holiday season is here again and along with the cheer, there’s bound to be some moments you wish you could have avoided, especially at the airport.
The holiday season is full of reasons to smile and be thankful for, but getting through them without a bump along the way, is well, it’s tough. More than likely you will be joining the millions of others who have to pack up and take their families elsewhere this holiday season by way of the skies.
It’s hard enough to get through the season with your sanity in tact as it is, but hopefully these 10 holiday travel tips for those traveling by air will help keep a smile on your face and the season as memorable as you hoped.
Top 10 Holiday Travel Tips for the Airport:
- Overpack patience and a sense of humor: Above all, this has to be number one. There’s undoubtedly going to be something that goes wrong along the way. Instead of bursting a bubble, have a laugh instead. Getting mad has never proven to be a winning solution to solve a problem, but patience and a sense of humor will show your true spirit this season and your family will be more than grateful.
- Ship the gifts ahead of time: It’s more expensive to check a bag than it is to ship through the mail these days. So plan ahead and ship your packages before you leave. Besides, it’s one less thing to worry about when your trekking through the airport.
- Download movies to watch ahead of time: Downloading movies from iTunes or Amazon onto your smartphone or tablet can take hours depending on your connection speeds. Make sure you download them the day before to ensure you will be able to watch them on the airplane. However, depending on your device, there are new kiosks popping up in airports everywhere that will allow you to rent or purchase and then download a movie file in a matter of seconds.
- Get dropped off at the airport: Parking at the airport is a hassle and expensive. It’s cold out and the last thing you want to do is drag your luggage and family around in the airport parking lot shuttle. Try a friend first, but if that fails, there’s plenty of services that will pick you up and drop for a lot cheaper then it would’ve been to park.
- Show up early: This goes for just about anytime of year at the airport, but especially during the holiday season. Leave early to avoid any traffic congestion or long lines through security. Getting there a little early and having to wait for your flight is a lot better than sitting around on stand-by all day because you missed your original flight.
- Pack snacks: Obviously this has limits due to TSA rules, but there are still plenty of items you can bring along with you to snack on throughout your travels. Besides, airport food is expensive and on most flights nowadays, you’re lucky if you get a second bag of peanuts.
- Know the TSA rules before the security checkpoint: The TSA has a can I bring my… through the security checkpoint website that allows you to search anything you might question bringing with you. There’s a lot of common sense items that are a no-go, but if you have any doubt, don’t wait until your being patted down to find out.
- Wear shoes that can easily be removed: You already know you’re going to have to remove your shoes when you go through security so you might as well wear shoes than can slip on and off easily. You don’t want to be the one holding up the line because you wore your boots that take you ten minutes to take off. Also, don’t forget to wear socks!
- Don’t check bags: Depending on your other half, this one can be tricky, but it can be done. Pack smart and only take what is absolutely necessary. If you’re staying with family, chances are they will have some of the “essentials” you can’t live without.
- Bring a neck pillow: Unless your sitting in first class, sitting on an airplane can be extremely uncomfortable. Neck pillows can be a life saver and help you get some much needed rest on the flight. Just remember to buy them ahead of time to avoid overpaying. I recently picked up and inflatable one that works very nicely for less than $10.