When it comes to travel, the aspect that people seem to enjoy the least is the actual traveling to and fro. Alas, until transporter technology becomes a reality, it is simply something that we’ll have to deal with! But there is some good news (other than the obvious things, like no longer having to worry about scurvy), and that is technology can be your friend around the holidays. With a little bit of advanced planning and the right tools, many of the headaches associated with holiday travel can be avoided or eliminated altogether. Here’s some sound tips for holiday travel.
The days in and around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Eve are peak travel days. If you are traveling for the holidays this year, avoid these travel times if at all possible. Consider traveling out a couple of days earlier to avoid large crowds. The simplest advice is often the best advice, and that is certainly the case here. To avoid stress, avoid people!
Book Direct Flights
Layovers are a headache – they extend your travel time, introduce additional complexities, and increase the risk of missing a flight or being caught out by a delayed flight. When it comes to air travel, non-stop is the way to go. Even in this day and age of hub-and-spoke air transportation, it is still possible to book a non-stop flight. Book a direct flight and your travel experience will be shorter, less stressful, and less likely to leave you stranded.
Book Cheap(er) Flights
Traveling around the holidays is expensive. With lots of people vying for a limited number of seats in a limited window of time, there is perhaps no better illustration of the supply-and-demand concept than holiday airline travel. Thankfully, apps and online sites like Hopper, Kayak, and Google Flights make it possible to find bargains, even during the busiest time of the year. Use these online tools to your advantage!
Enroll in TSA Precheck
With TSA Precheck, you don’t need to remove your shoes, liquids, belts, coats, or electronic equipment from your bag. And average TSA Precheck wait times are five minutes of less. Furthermore, the service is offered at more than 180 airports in the United States, and recognized by nearly two dozen airlines. Best of all, it costs just $85 for a five-year membership. Needless to say, you should apply today!
The odds are good that you won’t need everything that you pack for your trip. Consider paring down as much as possible. You will not only lighten your load; you may be able to avoid paying for baggage fees too. If you’re concerned about transporting your holiday presents with you to your destination, consider shipping them instead. The U.S. Post Office offers Priority Mail with flat rate shipping that is very affordable. Why bother packing gifts in your bag when someone can ship them for you?
Avoid Roaming Fees
If you’re traveling overseas or across borders, you may want to purchase an international calling plan ahead of time. Most carriers offer temporary international plans that allow you to avoid roaming fees while out of the country. For example, carriers like T-Mobile have several international packages, including their Mexico and Canada plan, which provides unlimited calls and data in those two countries. Call your carrier and see what options are available. After all, if you just bought an iPhone 7, you’re going to want to use it.
A Little Bit of Planning Goes a Long Ways
Your smartphone has everything that you need to plan the perfect holiday vacation. You can book flights, arrange hotel accommodations, hail a ride to or from the airport, navigate around your destination, and document your entire experience, all from your pocket. Do a little bit of planning in advance, use the right tools for your journey, and upgrade your phone plan, and you will find that you can avoid many of the stresses that are often associated with holiday travel. So go forth and conquer!