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Top Ten Holiday Travel Tips

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Over the hill and through the woods to grandmama’s house we go!  

It’s that time of the year, where we load up the car and prepare the turkey and head to a Thanksgiving feast!   And, Christmas is just around the corner so the gifts are ready to be wrapped.  But, wait… hold up!  Before we go, there are a few things to consider for less stress and more good times!

1.  Plan ahead!  This is always on the list, but is one tip that allows you to get everything in order before leaving.  Your home, the pets, plants, automobile, travel routes and your list can go on and on.  Thinking things through and planning exactly what you want to do and what needs to be taken care of while you are away is less stressful in the long run and you’re not worried while away.

2.  Prepare a list of telephone numbers, addresses and route you are traveling and share that with a neighbor, friend or family member who is watching your home while you are away.  Also, leave a list of important photocopies for those just incase situations.  Make copies of:  passport, credit cards, driver’s license and other identification.  If you need to replace them it is much easier with copies.

3.  Pack lite and organized.  No need to bring that extra outfit for just incase.  Check with your host/hostess to see what activities are planned and pack accordingly.  Also, pack those must have items, i.e., prescriptions medicines and glasses a day before to make sure you don’t forget them.

4.  Holiday shopping is part of the fun of the season!  Being safe is easy to do with a few quick steps:  Avoid carrying handbags that are open and be aware of what you have in any outside pockets; on clothing, bags and backpacks.  Carry bags with a strap that can be worn across your chest.  Leaving valuables in the car is hard to avoid, so place them in the trunk and make sure other valuable items are not visible in your car.

5.  Ship gifts and food items ahead of time.  It takes a little extra time to ship gifts and food items, but doing so accomplishes tip number three and also you’ll avoid excess and over weight baggage charges.  Food items that we do not think of as being potential danger items are on the list of things that can not be in your carry on.  For a list of food items that fall into the 3.4 ounces go to the TSA website:  http://www.tsa.gov/traveler-information/traveling-food-or-gifts

6.  Traveling during the holiday season is something 54% of us like to do. If you are going by air purchase your ticket as soon as you  know when and where you’ll spend the holiday.  Purchasing tickets ahead of time saves money and allows you to book seats together.  Purchasing tickets early for bus and train travel is equally important.  Although you have purchased your train ticket ahead of time, you should plan to arrive early to the train station.  Trains are late from time to time, but you can not count on that.   

Also travel on off-peak days.  The Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving and the day before Christmas are the busiest travel days of the year!  If possible travel on the actual holiday or several days prior; saves money, hassles and keeps you away from the crowds.

7.  Don’t forget your pets.  Are they traveling with you?  Book kennel or pet sitters early.  They are busy this time of the year too.  Purchase a special treat for your pet, bring along a blanket with scents from home and don’t forget their special food and, bowl.

8.  Do you have relatives traveling by air who have medical conditions or need assistance?  Check with your airline and with TSA to plan a smooth check-in and security clearance.  The TSA (Transportation Security Administration) offers TSA Cares a help line open Monday – Friday from 8am – 11pm EST and weekends and Holidays 9am – 8pm EST.  Call them toll free at 1-855-787-2227 prior to traveling.  Have your questions ready and check with them for information about policies, procedures and what to expect.  You want your family member’s experience to be seamless and smooth.

9.  Unaccompanied minors and teens travel without their parents all year, but the holidays mean more people, more delays and more possible cancelations.  Contact the company you are traveling with twenty-four hours before departure to ensure the records show your child traveling alone.  Also, make sure your child knows where they are going.  Just knowing I’m going to grandmama’s house isn’t good enough.  They should have a complete address, a telephone number and name to help ensure there are no mishaps in case of an emergency.  Another good idea is to give them a cell phone loaded with telephone numbers for you and their destination.

10.  Hit the road Jack!  Are you driving over the holidays?  Well slow down and take it easy to your destination.  Have your car checked prior to starting your journey and plan your routing, especially if you are traveling a new route.  If traveling in inclement weather pack your car with items for the “just in case”  –  a pair of gloves, weather-resistant pants and/or coat, an old pair of boots (waterproof), a blanket, jumper cables, a flashlight with some extra batteries, and a windshield scraper, de-icer,  snacks and water.  Drive safely and defensively.

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