They say it’s the most wonderful time of the year, but the holidays have a funny way of showing it. Whether it’s embarrassing family members or unreliable airport delays, there’s always something there to stress us out. Avoid travel nightmares this season by following these simple steps to prepare for anything the airport throws at you.
Stay away from travel days
This year Christmas falls on a Wednesday, but remember that Christmas Eve is just as important as the big day itself. Plan smart by booking a flight a few days before Christmas Eve, such as the 22nd which can often be a slow flight day. This will give your feet (and wallet) a break by leaving time to get to your destination early and give it a good look around. Alternatively, try flying on Christmas day when prices are lower and fewer people are travelling.
Get familiar with airports
There are other airports than just those big international hubs with hundreds of flights a day. It’s okay to look other airports, not only at their flight schedules but also their layout and location, to make sure you are no stranger to travel security and care. Keep in mind that smaller airports have fewer flights which often means fewer delays and fewer queues. Remember that airport navigation is key too, it certainly isn’t a place to “trust your gut”, so ask for assistance when needed.
Before you depart, pack smart
Packing is the part of travel preparation that can make or break your trip. There is no happy medium and it’s a task you can’t escape. Plan your packing a few days in advance that way you can keep the essentials and toss the unneeded. Just remember to pack your medications in your carry on to avoid losing them if checked bags are lost or stolen.
Don’t rip the gifts!
We all know airport security can be a real Scrooge when it comes to the holiday season. Don’t bother pre-wrapping gifts before a flight. You might’ve done a great job with that Paddington Bear souvenir, but odds are security regulations will request inspection and unwrap any presents you’ve packed. Consider packing non-valuables in your suitcase and expensive items with your carry-on. The Grinch may have stolen Christmas, but that doesn’t mean he has to take your luggage too.
That “Oh no” moment
As with most things, the airport seems to have a mind of its own. Prepare yourself for the possibility of airport delays and heavy foot traffic because both are inevitable. Give yourself a reasonable timeframe; arrive early and quickly jump in line.