Thanksgiving is the time of year to reconnect with loved ones, and spend quality time with friends and family. But for many, spending time with loved ones means traveling, which makes the Thanksgiving holiday the busiest time of year. It can be a week filled with frustrating transportation delays, traffic and travel snags, and if there’s an early snowstorm, all bets are off. But if you take a few moments to prepare for contingencies, you can ease the stress of holiday travel and enjoy a happier holiday.
These Thanksgiving travel tips can help you get where you’re going while mitigating any situation that could trip you up on your way home!
Book Your Travel Early: Sometimes it’s difficult to make plans in advance due to busy work schedules, but the sooner you book your travel, the more likely you are to save a bundle on lower fares and have your choice of seating. Also, sign up for airline email alerts to get a jump on deals, and make a habit of checking out discount travel sites like Priceline, Kayak and Trip Advisor. Just remember: the early bird gets the best travel deals!
Pack Light: Save money on airline bag check-in fees and keep your luggage to a carry-on. Or consider shipping your bulkier clothes and presents ahead of time–you’ll save time at the carousel, reduce the risk of lost baggage, and save wear and tear on your back and shoulders, too!
Avoid Key Travel Days: Book your Thanksgiving trip on a Monday or Tuesday, or even Thursday (Thanksgiving) morning to avoid the dreaded Wednesday travel rush. Book your return flight for either Friday or Monday afternoon to avoid the Sunday crush.
Tap Your Smartphone Apps: Always arrive at the airport at least two hours before your departure time, and take advantage of phone apps and mobile sites to avoid snags and bottlenecks at the airport. Check in online to avoid long lines, confirm seats and keep track of your flight status, and then use apps like GateGuru for maps and info on airport restaurants and airline gates.
Consider Driving: If the thought of a crowded airport is enough to give you a panic attack, consider a road trip to your Thanksgiving destination instead. If your schedule permits, take scenic routes and avoid more heavily-traveled interstates and highways. Using your phone’s GPS, you’re sure to find your way with no problems. Just pack a cooler full of snacks and hit the open road!