5 tips for a stress-free holiday
While it may come as no surprise to many who have already traveled in 2022, this holiday season will be the busiest since the pandemic began. Therefore, many pre-pandemic vacation travel tips apply again, as planning ahead can prevent stress. Here are five tips to help you travel as stress-free as possible.
1. Avoid the busiest Christmas travel days
If your schedule is flexible and you haven’t booked a flight yet, you can try to avoid the busiest days of the season for flights which are December 22, 23 and 26. Flying from other airports also helps you avoid crowds. Plus, traveling during the holidays can help you meet lighter crowds, since most travelers are already home for the holidays.
Christmas Eve will probably be the busiest day to drive. However, Friday, December 23 can also be busy for people who get a head start on the holiday week by leaving work early. In addition to avoiding peak dates, you can also use these suggestions for the best time to book a trip to save money and get the best travel itinerary.
2. Expedited Advance Travel Options
Waiting to handle early travel check-ins when you’re at the airport can lead to surprisingly long lines and unnecessary delays. Consider pre-booking your parking spot at the airport and researching other ways to check-in in advance to save time. For example, you can skip the counter at car rental agencies or load your boarding pass onto your phone.
Another option is to use expedited airline security programs such as TSA PreCheck, Global Entry, and CLEAR to avoid long wait times at airports. Also, follow these steps to avoid airport security mistakes.
3. Know trip cancellation policies
Passenger peaks and the threat of winter weather can make flight delays and cancellations more likely. Illness and travel restrictions are other possibilities that can throw a wrench in your travel plans.
Read the carrier’s trip cancellation and delay policy before your travel dates arrive. Hopefully all goes well, but if you need to reschedule, get travel credit, or request a refund, you know your compensation options to avoid disputes.
Downloading the airline’s app may be the easiest way to keep an eye on your flight schedule and request assistance.
If you purchase travel insurance, you should have a copy of the terms of coverage readily available. You should keep them with your essential travel documents, such as your driver’s license, passport or REAL ID.
4. Track your luggage with GPS
Whether you are checking a bag or only pack hand luggage, the addition of an inexpensive tracking device provides peace of mind if your luggage is delayed. This practice can also help prevent baggage theft.
Many portable, coin-sized tracking devices can easily be concealed in a storage pocket or suitcase liner. If you have an iPhone, consider buying an Apple AirTag, which costs around $29.99 but can cost less when you buy a multi-pack.
While we’re on the subject of luggage, taking a photo of the contents of your suitcase before heading to the airport can be helpful if you need to file a lost luggage claim.
5. Beware of travel scams
It’s the season for travel scams whether you’re staying put or heading abroad for a European Christmas market or a warm, sunny Caribbean beach. Protecting your valuables and using reliable travel platforms is a great start, but you also need to be aware of your surroundings.
As a quick example, think twice before plugging into a community USB charging port that sweeps your device’s data or installs malware instead of bringing your battery life closer to 100%. Instead, bring your own charging devices or use a USB data blocker.
Most vacation trips will be successful by following these suggestions. Also, consider building a little extra time into your schedule to account for heavier traffic and inclement weather. Finally, be kind and pass the holiday cheer on to others.