|Fun Facts & Figures
Ten Tips to make your Holiday Travel Easier
After several months of 16-hour days, you’re more than ready for a short break—maybe to visit family for the holidays, or just to get away for a few days. Here are 10 tips culled from the experts to make your travel easier, less stressful, and, hopefully, less eventful. These tips may seem like simple common sense, but it’s easy to forget things when you’re as busy as most 1st year associates.
- Make reservations early—The earlier you make your reservation, the more likely you are to get flights, hotel rooms, car rentals, etc., at the best possible prices. It’s easier than ever to book in advance using the many travel-related Web sites, such as expedia.com or travelocity.com, as well as airline Web sites that often have discount prices available only online. Plus, if you order your tickets online, you’ll receive an electronic ticket. This will save you time at the airport by letting you bypass the lines at the ticket counter.
- Schedule non-stop flights where possible—This may not be possible if you live in a non-hub city that only has flights to major cities that are hubs. In this case try to minimize connections and be sure to allow enough time between connecting flights in case your initial flight is delayed.
- Travel during the least busy times of the day—Generally, the busiest airport times are early morning and late afternoon. If possible, plan your trip for mid-morning to mid-afternoon. Not only will you have a better choice of flights, but you’re also less likely to run into long lines and heavy traffic at the airport.
- Pack Lightly—The corollary is to pack smart. Think about what you really need and then try to pack less. Many experts recommend that you keep a little extra space in your bag so that you can accommodate things you purchase on your trip. Some items, like sweaters and socks, can be packed in sealable plastic bags that allow you to compress the item and fit it more neatly in your bag.
- Pack only necessities in your carry-on bag—Typical items include wallets, passports, jewelry, cameras, cell phones, keys, cash, and laptop computers. You might also want to pack a change of clothes and basic toiletries in case your check-in luggage is lost. However, it should go without saying that you should avoid packing anything that can be viewed as a potential weapon, including razors, nail files, and clippers, and scissors. And remember, all liquid items you intend to carry on must be put into containers of three ounces or less and packed in no larger than one clear, quart-size, zip-top plastic bag. Before you try to pack everything you need, think about dragging your entire wardrobe behind you in an airport and then trying to stuff it into an overhead bin on the plane.
- Put your contact information on the outside of your check-in luggage—Consider using your business address so that potential burglars can’t get your home address at a time when they know you’ll be away from home. Also place contact information, along with a copy of your itinerary, inside your bag so that airline officials have as much information as possible to connect your bag to you in case it is lost. Put some kind of identifier on your bag such as a piece of colored tape on the side or a ribbon tied to the handle. This makes it easy to identify your bag and less likely that someone will pick it up by mistake. You should also use something other than a lock to secure your luggage. You might use plastic pull closures or a key ring to make it easy for inspectors to open the bag if necessary.
- Minimize the cash you carry—Use traveler’s checks and credit cards as much as possible. Keep enough cash on hand to handle tips, taxis, and miscellaneous expenses, but remember—traveler’s checks can be replaced and credit cards can be canceled. If cash is lost or stolen, it’s gone.
- Arrive at the airport early—This is one thing that all the experts agree on. Given security concerns, long lines are inevitable, especially around peak-travel times during holidays. Airlines suggest you arrive at least 60 minutes early if you aren’t checking baggage and 90 minutes early if you are.
- Minimize hassles at the security check—Have a photo ID available at all times during check-in. You will be asked to show it several times starting at the ticket counter. Dress neatly or in a way that doesn’t draw undue attention to you. Wear shoes that can be removed easily and wear as little metal as possible. Pack metal objects, like keys and jewelry, in your carry-on bag and you can always retrieve them after you clear security.
- Be flexible and willing to adapt—If something does go wrong, be ready to roll with it. Be friendly with airline staff and make sure they investigate every alternative, but stay firm. You may receive anything from vouchers for meals to a discount on a future flight. At the least, carry a good book with you and maintain a positive attitude. Remember, you’re on vacation!