For many of us, traveling to see family over the holidays is a must-do. And in that case, traveling involves flying. This makes the holiday travel season an unavoidable hassle. While traveling during this time may not be relaxing necessarily, you don't have to arrive at your destination feeling like you've been smashed into a million pieces.
1. Know when to fly
If you haven't booked your tickets yet for the holidays or if you've been trying to decide if you should make that last minute trip you might still find seats available. They might even be cheaper and at times when the airport will be less crowded. Thanksgiving morning is a prime example. Traveling on Thanksgiving day might not work for longer trips; however, if the flight is only a couple hours, you could leave in the morning and arrive in time for turkey dinner. Sure, this will make for a long day but avoiding the crowds sure seems worth it!
2. Traveling with kids
If you have young kids, giving them special toys and treatment while traveling can help keep them distracted and stress-free. LittleJetSet.com is specifically dedicated to toys that will hold your kids attention on long trips. Of course some kids might just be content to watch the airplanes take off and land, but if not, you're going to need a little extra help!
3. Dealing with the dog
If you're leaving your pup behind for the holidays, it's best not to leave the task of getting them where they need to go until the last minute. If you're having someone watch them, boarding them or taking them to day care, it's a good idea to get this taken care of the day prior. You'll be more focused and able to make sure they have everything they need for your time away. Then you can turn your energy to your own preparations.
4. Pack light
I never check baggage I'd gladly tote my rolling suitcase through the concourses and have to find a spot in the overhead bin than wait to check it, wait to pick it up, and all the while worrying it might have gotten lost. I highly recommend this option especially over a short trip such as Thanksgiving weekend. It will drastically cut down on the time you spend in the airport. But if that's just not possible, make sure you're under the weight limit of your airlines and consider checking curb-side. You'll usually have to tip a few bucks out of courtesy, but time is money (and sanity!)
5. Do it all online
I also never stand in line at the airport (well, except for security). If you check in online, pick your seat assignment, and don't check baggage, you can go right through security and to your gate. It's (relatively) a breeze! Even if you are checking luggage, checking in online yourself makes it easier in that nowadays there are typically separate check-in counters for e-tickets and those who have already checked in online, enabling a bypass of lengthy lines.
Even when holiday travel situations become stressful, try to keep in mind that spending time with family is more important that an airline snafu here and there!