The holiday period from Thanksgiving through New Year’s can be stressful for many reasons: shopping, entertaining, cooking, and decorating. Travel by air can add more anxiety. But a little advance planning can help you arrive at your destination relaxed and ready for a delightful holiday visit with family and friends.
· Book a non-stop flight to avoid possibly missing a connection or dealing with lost luggage.
· Fly early in the day to avoid delays that can happen, especially with unpredictable weather, and the possibility of getting bumped from an overbooked flight.
· Charge electronic devices before leaving. You want music players and cell phones to be fully charged (even if some planes have docking stations) so you don’t have to worry about them cutting out when you need them most.
· Pack a couple of days before your flight—keeping it to carryon bags, if possible. That will leave you free to get plenty of rest the night before you leave.
· Ship gifts prior to leaving. If you must take them along remember that gifts must be left unwrapped, or TSA will do that for you.
· Take an extra tote bag to bring home gifts you may have received—preferably one that can be stored in the overhead bin on your return flight.
· Check-in online and print your boarding pass or send it to your mobile phone. This option is typically available 24 hours before flight time and will save you waiting in line at the airport.
· Sign up for alerts from your airline, so you will be notified of any delays. Many airlines provide email or text messages, but if not, you can check the carrier’s website prior to leaving your home.
· Arrive early at the airport. Crowds are larger during the holiday season, both on the road driving there and in the airport itself. Security lines back up quickly (make sure you don’t hold up the line by not being ready), so allow plenty of time prior to departure. Arrive two to four hours early to avoid the tension of waiting in long lines and decrease the likelihood of getting bumped if your flight is overbooked.
· Be prepared with snacks, medications, and reading material in your carryon in case your flight actually is delayed by bad weather or other causes (I’ve been caught by a baggage-handler strike on Christmas Day and a pilot timing out after a rain storm had passed).
· Keep a sense of humor and share some holiday spirit. Smile, and wish fellow travelers a safe and happy journey.
Photos from free sources