Holiday Travel Tips

by Sally Lewis

Everyone Sing along to the "Twelve Days of Christmas"

Twelve flights are cancelled
Eleven people screaming
Ten crying children
Nine bags are missing
Eight security check ins
Seven slow old ladies
Six first class upgrades
Five party animals!
Four flights delayed
Three passports lost
Two hours in line
And one airline rep behind the desk!

Yes, trying to get "over the river and through the woods to Grandmother's house" can be quite a challenge over the busy holiday season. The first rule is to do your very best to have a sense of humor, keep yourself in good spirits and try to spread a bit of goodwill to other travelers. Remember that everyone is stressed and frazzled. Imagine if you were that airline employee getting grief from everyone!

Leave plenty of extra time for everything. Normally travelers are told to arrive at least one hour prior to departure for domestic flights, two hours for international flights. During the holidays, plan on doubling these guidelines. Check in early and avoid being bumped or missing your flight at the last minute. If it is at all possible, try to schedule yourself on the earliest flights out each day and avoid the last Flight out each evening. Sometimes with airline schedules if something does goes wrong, there is a domino Effect. In keeping with these thoughts, allow extra time for connecting flights. Be pessimistic and plan for the worst. This way if all goes well, you'll be pleasantly surprised. If the worst does happen and you do get bumped, delayed or miss a flight, make sure you know your rights. Go to and click onto the icon that says "Rules of the Air". Here you'll find everything you need to know regarding consumer rights and obligations with the airlines.

'Tis the season"… for gifts. Use common sense when buying presents for long distance friends and family. Do not buy heavy, oversized or fragile items. Smart Santas ship their gifts ahead of time via UPS, Fed Ex or the US postal service and save airport hassles. If you must bring gifts with you, do not wrap them. This is considered a security risk. Either plan to wrap them at your final destination or bring along decorative bags and simply slide your gift inside.

Pack light. Remember baggage space will be limited. Besides, you'll want to save some room for some of those presents that you're sure to receive . Be sure to tag and identify all luggage and bags. It's a good idea to tag your luggage with either a business or alternate address…why advertise where you live when you won't be home. Murphy's law says, "If there are 175 passengers on the plane, they will all have the identical piece of black luggage". To help identify your luggage at the baggage claim carousel, mark your bags with some stickers, tags or even holiday decorations.

Be prepared! Double check yourself. Make sure you have tickets, reservation numbers, credit cards, passports, Frequent flyer cards, State issued photo ID's ready and accessible. If you're going to be traveling with kids, the list gets longer. Snacks, stuff to do, baby items are the usual staples but things like zip lock plastic bags can make double as inflatable pillows for naps in airport lounges.

When all is said and done, "There's no place like Home for the Holidays". Here's wishing that your journey is easy, safe and happy one.

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