The Twelve Days of Christmas haven’t begun quite yet. But starting today, millions of holiday travelers will begin embarking on their (hopefully) jolly journeys, marking the start of the year’s busiest Twelve Days of Travel. The madness that is the holiday travel season will last just into the New Year, from December 21st to January 1st, and has already been projected to be one of the busiest in years (as if travelers needed another reason to stress).
But fear not. With the right preparation and anticipation, travelling from school to home or from home to hometown can go as smoothly as a reindeer-flown sleigh trip. Or something like it, at least. To start your preparations, check out these tips.
Don’t be the person hauling a Santa-sized bag of gifts across the country. It’ll only cause headaches. Avoid absurd baggage fees as well as airport security agents unwrapping your gifts by shipping presents, giving smaller gifts (think envelope-sized), and keeping gifts in checked-in luggage where they’re more likely to be x-rayed instead of unwrapped; unless of course TSA agents made your nice list this year (doubt it).
Any smooth travel experience takes a bit of research. Make sure you’re clear on your airline’s luggage weight limits, baggage fees, and carry-on restrictions. Also, consider using one of many flight-tracking apps to stay up to date with flight information, as wintery weather can make departures unpredictable. Also, always arrive at the airport at least two hours before departure for domestic flights, and three hours for international.
Carry the essentials with you
The craziness that is holiday travel means it’s more likely than usual that your airline misplaces your luggage, or has to ship it separate from the flight you’re on. Keep all medication and important documents with you in your carry-on to minimize stress in the event of lost luggage. Also, never be caught without an emergency $40 on you. You never know when getting a cab or paying a surprise fee will be your only option.
If driving, play it safe
Road trip traveling could be an article in itself – there’s a lot to think about. Plan your route beforehand, even if travelling with a GPS. You never know when you’ll lose service or run out of battery. Drive slow to avoid the many road hazards that winter brings and make sure your car is tuned up before you leave (and that it will have ample oil and tire tread the whole trip through). Also, pay attention to all road rules, as they differ between states and, not to mention, police officers have been known to have a nose for out-of-state plates.
Everyone involved in holiday travel is stressed. But stressing out or letting the madness get the best of you will only make it worse and can even put you in harm’s way. So listen to some music to get through that traffic jam and don’t get too annoyed when airport security asks you to take off your shoes. You’ll get where you’re going eventually, and it’s better to get there safely.
Got any more holiday travel tips? Share them with us on twitter at @ACISpecBenefits or post them on our facebook wall. Also feel free to contact ACI Specialty Benefits at (800) 932-0034, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.