9 Tips To Navigating Airports During The Holidays
This week is one of the busiest travel weeks of the years but you can make it just a little bit easier with our 9 tips to navigating airports during the holidays.
The holiday season can be busy and totally hectic. Adding a flight from the airport into the equation can make it far worse. Travelers frantically trying to catch their flight, bratty children (that might be yours), bumped flights and blizzard-like subzero conditions might make it a holiday to forget. It doesn’t have to be like that. Here are ways to help you better navigate the airport around the busiest season of the year.
Get there Early
Traffic and security are two things that take a huge chunk of your time, so much so they could keep you from making it to your flight in time. Make sure you arrive at least 2 hours before your departure. Don’t forget about extra time for traffic close to the airport and finding a parking spot.
When to Book
Many people love taking advantage on huge deals on last minute flights. Yet around Christmas time with your family trying to catch a flight somewhere might prove difficult last minute. The best time to book a holiday flight is between October 8th and November 19th where travelers can save around 3 to 5%.
What to Bring to Be More Comfortable
Make sure you have a small bag or purse filled with things that will make your waiting experience at the airport more manageable. Have extra water bottles, chargers, entertainment, a small neck pillow, toiletries, and medicine to help your experience.
Avoid Checking a Bag
If you can, try to leave extra baggage behind and just have one carry-on suitcase. Around the holiday times, airports are stretched with a hectic schedule and mistakes unfortunately happen. You don’t want to be without clothing or your other essentials because of a bag you had checked. Leave behind soap and shampoos and other things that the hotel can provide for you.
Plan for Hiccups
Around the holiday season, many flights get delayed or rerouted due to weather and hectic scheduling. This can be aggravating, but at least now you’ve been warned. Be prepared and plan for the unexpected. If you have children, make sure you have plenty of entertainment, charged batteries, and little snacks to hold them over.
Getting an Earlier Flight
Travelers that are heading to holiday destinations have found that getting earlier flights in the day end up with the least amount of headaches due to flight delays and other nightmares.
Choose Less Crowded Airports
Traveling out of a busy airport with huge crowds bustling around might be a little too overwhelming. If you can, go with a regional airport that will get you to the same destination for just a little more of a price. You will avoid the craziness and the chances of your flight being moved.
If you get bumped involuntarily from your flight it might seem like the end of the world. If you are not put on another flight within 2 hours of your original flight, or 4 hours for international flights, the airport will have to compensate you. Trust me, they won’t want to do this so the will do everything they can to get you on a quick flight to your destination.
Loyalty Pays Off
Splitting my time between California and Florida, I fly a lot. It is not unusual to find me making 22-hour coast to coast trips so I don’t miss anything that my grandkids are doing or making multiple trips during the week and one of the ways I have been able to pull this off is because I try to stick to flying with just one airline.
My preferred airline is United and they have gone above and beyond for me. My frequent trips mean miles add up quickly which translates to upgrades and free trips and during these hectic times of the year, especially with weather delays, United has always gone out of their way to get me where I need to be. Check your local airport to see which airlines have hubs there and pick the airline that is right for you. For me, loyalty has paid off in more ways than I can ever say.
Following these tips will help you and your family better navigate the airport around the busy holiday season. Did you find these tips to be helpful? If you’ve been to the airport around Christmas time what other ways will help make a better experience? Whether you’re traveling to be with the family, or heading out on that once in a lifetime vacation, traveling during busiest times of the year doesn’t have to be stressful when you plan accordingly, and know to expect the unexpected. What are your best travel hacks for navigating airports during the holidays?