Holiday Travel Tips are great but when we usually first think of the holiday season, the taste of candied yams, collard greens, cream corn and roasted turkey comes to mind. Gathering around the table, with a crisp white, starched table cloth and all the family and friends and long steamed candles casting a glow around the room – this means its the holidays. But – before we start planning the big holiday dinner a plan for travel will be needed by most of the people sitting around enjoying the pumpkin pie.
As a child we gathered in the blue station-wagon with wood grain panels down the side, sitting on the back seat facing backwards. The perfect spot for making funny faces and waving to the passengers in cars behind us – laughing until we fell asleep, dreaming of popsicles and homemade peach ice-cream. My sister and I were overjoyed and excited to start the road trip to grandma’s house. Not much has changed! We still load up the car for a road trip or short trip to the airport. We’re heading to see parents, college kids, cousins and grandma’s house too. There are several holiday travel tips to make planning and enjoying a holiday trip easy and breezy!
Start your planning using these Holiday Travel Tips –
Holiday travel tip #1 – Shop early and shop around
The best deals are scooped up and booked early. Start your search as soon as you know where you are going and when you want to leave and return. If you like to use online sites, like Expedia, TripAdvisor or travel blogs, its best to research with pencil and paper to write down which site you found the deals and all the details. So often I have travelers tell me they forgot which site they saw something of interest; now they have to start over again, wasting time and possibility to snag a great deal. Look for packages while researching. For the holidays some hotels will include breakfast or maybe Thanksgiving dinner deals with your room. If you are traveling with folks who need to stay connected, look for packages which include wifi in the room vs. going downstairs to the lobby for free internet. Some package will include discounts for tours. Take advantage as a way to see the city and have time together before or after dinner.
Holiday Travel Tip #2 – Book early
When you find a great deal go ahead and book it. Click off the page to look for the next best thing could result in missed opportunities. I’ve been online looking for airfare deals and clicked off to look on another site, only to return to the great airfare rate already booked and missing from the search. The closer you get to the holiday you will find fewer deals, this is especially true with airlines. Another note: If you’ve waited to the last minute, still check for a deal you’re more likely to find them at hotels vs. transportation sites. Once you book, you can now move on to planning other parts of your holiday.
Holiday Travel Tip #3 – Review routing
While great fares for airlines, trains and buses look very attractive when we see them – a deal may be a dud! “Round trip for $325 – wow, I should book that!” Wait before you book and take a few minutes to look at the routing. There may be multiple stops which could mean changing airplanes and running through the airport from gate to gate in order to make your flight on time or worse – you miss your connection. Or it could mean a very late arrive on the bus, leaving you waiting in a dark area for family or friends to pick you up. Also, check how many hours the total trip will take. This is especially true with airlines. That really great fare may mean you are traveling for 15 hours on a trip that would take only 5 hours on a non-stop. Also, look at arrival dates. The fine print will let you know if you are arriving the next day. Look closely at the details – they will provide information if this trip includes an overnight. If so, this means a hotel stay. You do not want this surprise or extra expense. Some times the cheaper price is not worth the inconvenience.
Holiday Travel Tip #4 – Plan to leave early
Leave on the early! There are usually less delays and you can start your vacation early. The earlier you start your trip the less traffic there is on the road for road trips to grandma’s and if you’re flying, there are less likely to be delays caused by incoming flights. The aircraft for the first flights out are usually already in place and ready to start trips for the day. In most cases they will have been stationed overnight, checked and refueled – ready to go! Once the day starts, so do the rolling delays which can cause problems around an airline’s whole route system.
Holiday Travel Tip #5 – Reconfirm, reconfirm, reconfirm
Things happen so it pays to reconfirm your reservations after you have made them and a day or two before you travel is the perfect time. There could be mistakes, computer glitches which have deleted your reservation or somehow you or the reservationist booked the wrong date! Yikes – but it happens! Also airlines may switch aircraft resulting in a change in the seat you reserved earlier. Maybe you selected a window seat, but on the new aircraft that seat is no longer a window but beside a cold door. Aircraft can vary greatly in configuration. Once I had this happened where I thought I had a seat by the door for extra leg room, only to board the aircraft and find my seat is now one row behind the seat with extra room. The airline switched aircraft. On my five hour flight, I sat and watched someone else enjoy the extra space. Now I always check and recheck not only my reservation, but also my seat selection too!
And extra Holiday Travel Tip – Put pen to paper with important details
It happens, computers crash, smart phones are lost and those confirmation numbers, telephone numbers and tour information are all in an email. Write down all the important details and carry it in your purse, wallet or carry on. Better to be safe than sorry – that was always my grandmother’s advice.