Traveling in general isn’t always fun, but it’s especially miserable during the holidays. Long lines, long drives to the airport, and frequent delays make the process hard to endure. Here are our top ten tips and tricks for surviving holiday travel.
Actually Get to the Airport On Time
Leaving early is really the only surefire way to get to the airport on time without issue, but there are a few other things you can do. First of all, if you can avoid checking luggage you should. Checking bags can add around 90 minutes to your trip (in total), so avoiding checked luggage really cuts down on time. Printing your boarding pass online as soon as possible is also extremely helpful, especially if you haven’t already been assigned your seats. If, despite your best efforts, you don’t make it on time, make sure you know if your airline has formal or informal policies for late check-ins or missed flights. Sometimes, rules-be-damned, you’re not as screwed as you may think you are. For more tips, check out how to always get to the airport on time.
Don’t Drive Yourself
When the holidays roll around, lots of people are traveling and this makes for congested roads. If you have to go by car, it’s best to have someone else drive you for a couple of reasons (whether it’s a friend, family, or a taxi). First—assuming your driver is responsible, it’ll help keep you on a schedule and feel obligated to be ready on time. Second, you won’t drive as well if you’re nervous about getting to the airport on time. Better to leave that job in the hands of someone who has less at stake and will drive responsibly in the Winter weather. Alternatively, you should consider taking public transportation if it’s available to you. While most days you’ll get there faster by car, on holidays you can sometimes save some time by taking the train or even the bus. If you’re not sure what will be faster, check public transportation schedules online and you should be able to estimate the time it will take so you can compare.
Make Good Use of Your Smartphone
Your smartphone can be your best friend when traveling during the holiday. Basic functionality will let you access itineraries via email or your airline’s mobile web site. For an overall better experience, however, you should be using TripIt (for iOS, Android, and Blackberry). It’s a free web app and smartphone app that manages your itinerary and makes getting your boarding pass much easier. In some cases it can even help you get a digital boarding pass so you don’t need to print one at all. You can also use your smartphone as a way to look up gate information, as it frequently changes at a moment’s notice during the holiday season.
Get a Free First Class Upgrade
Traveling during the holidays is never a pleasant experience. You need to arrive earlier, security takes longer, and you’re more likely to experience delays. If you’re going to be stuck with a longer travel day, you might as well get comfortable. VideoJug offers some interesting ways to get yourself a free first class upgrade. While these tricks might not work so well for the entire family, if you’re traveling home by yourself or with your significant other you might just be able to pull them off.