11 Holiday Travel Tips to Keep the Season Merry

11 Holiday Travel Tips to Keep the Season Merry
Anne Johnson
‘Tis the season for giving thanks, gift giving, and jumping on a plane to visit loved ones or go to a fun winter destination. But traveling can be expensive and exhausting. This is especially true during the holiday season.
Whether flying or driving, dealing with the crowds can be nerve-wracking. And since costs increase during the holidays, finding the best deals can be difficult. Here are 11 tips to make your Thanksgiving and Christmas travels easier.

1. Buy Early and During the Week

The latest you should be buying a holiday airline ticket for a deal is in early October. And although many think that booking on a Tuesday or Thursday would be a better deal, that’s a myth.
Booking app Hopper found after an eight-year study of 70 trillion flight prices there was no best day to book a flight that would give you a low price. That’s because prices change often. They depend on routes, travel dates, and more. 
Although, booking any day during the week instead of the weekend could offer some savings.

2. Fly on a Holiday

If arriving before Christmas or Thanksgiving isn’t a big deal, consider flying on those days. The airports will be empty, and prices will be low.
New Year’s Eve is also a great time to fly.

3. Take a Direct Flight or Early Flight

Try to take a direct flight to avoid canceled or delayed flights. If you miss a connection because of weather or even a mechanical problem, it can throw your trip for a loop. 
Make sure you take the earliest flight of the day. The holidays are the busiest time of the year to travel. One flight cancellation can trickle down and take out dozens of flights. 
But if you are on the first flight of the day, you can avoid late-canceled flights or delayed flights. It’s not the most fun to rise at four in the morning for an early flight, but it will save you headaches later.
You’ll be at your destination having eggnog while others are still at the airport.

4. Fly Out of Alternate Airports and Book Alternate Rental Cars

You may have less hassle and a better deal if you take a flight from an alternate airport. In other words, fly into an airport an hour or two from your destination.
For example, instead of flying into London, fly into Manchester. Take other transportation to your final destination.
Book your rental car ahead. They go fast. To save money, don’t book the rental car at the airport. Go to an offsite rental. Most of them will come to you, or you can take a taxi.

5. Ship Gifts or Don’t Wrap

If you’re flying, ship your gifts. It will help you avoid being charged for any extra checked bags. Shipping is especially needed if you plan on only carrying a carry-on.
Do you want to take the gifts with you? Make sure you don’t wrap them. If you do, Christmas may come early since security will unwrap them. Just carry pack some gift bags and tissue or, better yet, go to a store when you arrive at your destination.
Be careful about taking musical cards through security. Those sometimes show up on the X-ray, and they will be opened. If you do take one, don’t seal it.

6. Use Travel Apps

If you have a smartphone, use every travel and entertainment app you can. From streaming apps to watch on the plane to your airline’s app to hear the latest flight times.
If you have children or grandchildren, these apps will save the day when they’re restless and start asking how long it will take to the destination.

7. Make Restaurant Reservations Ahead

The holidays are not only a big travel time; people eat out more. This means you'll have to contend with crowded restaurants. Whether you’re flying or driving, make reservations early at your favorite haunts.
This is especially true if you’re taking a large group to dinner. Don’t wait until the night before or you may be out of luck.

8. Be Kind to Airline and Airport Staff

It may be your big vacation, but other people are working. Treating airline employees with respect may give you a more pleasant travel experience. 
One international flight attendant said that it’s appreciated when a passenger brings the flight crew a bag of candy. The giver often finds they receive special attention, and the crew is happy.

9. Pack Spare Change of Clothes

During the holidays, you’re flying when the weather can be volatile. Make sure to pack a change of clothes in case you’re stranded. 
With thousands of people flying, lost baggage is not uncommon. You might arrive at your destination without it. So, pack some clothes for a day or two while waiting.

10. Make Sure Phone Is Charged

Make sure your phone is completely charged. Yes, airports have charging stations, but there are also crowds, and one may not be available. You don’t want to be without a phone when traveling. 

11. Road Trip Avoids Flights

If possible, drive to your destination. You can wrap gifts and have that musical card without disruption. 
Be sure to take your vehicle in for maintenance to avoid mid-trip surprises. You'll be winter driving, so bring blankets. Once more, have your phone charged or a car charger. 
When driving, ensure you have an alternate route planned in case of weather or the road is blocked by an accident. If you have a smartphone, use your GPS if needed. But if you’ve never been along this route, take an old-fashioned map or written directions in case your phone doesn’t have reception.
The Epoch Times copyright © 2023. The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors. They are meant for general informational purposes only and should not be construed or interpreted as a recommendation or solicitation. The Epoch Times does not provide investment, tax, legal, financial planning, estate planning, or any other personal finance advice. The Epoch Times holds no liability for the accuracy or timeliness of the information provided.
Anne Johnson was a commercial property & casualty insurance agent for nine years. She was also licensed in health and life insurance. Anne went on to own an advertising agency where she worked with businesses. She has been writing about personal finance for ten years.
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