Best Tips for Air Travel This Holiday Season

Best Tips for Air Travel This Holiday Season

There are many fun holiday movies, but few are as iconic as the original Home Alone. One of the most iconic scenes of this movie is the family dashing through the airport to catch their flight. Now that we’ve got that image in your head, you can probably agree that it’s not exactly what we’re looking for when it comes to our own holiday air travel. The good news is that by following the tips below, you can keep that chaos right where it belongs – in the holiday movie you might watch with your family once you reach your destination.

Make a Packing List

A seamless trip begins with packing like a pro, which is why it’s so helpful to have a strategy when you pack. Once you’ve booked your tickets, carve out some time to jot down a packing list. This is especially important during the holiday season when you have more going on than usual – your office holiday party, the gift exchange you do over dinner with your gal pals before leaving town, and all of your usual obligations to top it off. During this somewhat hectic time, it’s important not to leave packing until the last minute, and if you do have limited time to pack, having a list to cross-reference will mean you don’t accidentally leave anything behind.

Before starting your packing list, make sure you know the ins and outs of the holiday plans to be prepared. For example, if you’re going on a family trip to visit your in-laws, touch base about any holiday traditions you should prepare for.

Maybe the plan is to open presents on Christmas morning in matching family pajamas, or perhaps they have a fancy dinner booked for one of the nights of Hanukkah, which you’ll want a nice outfit or a special occasion dress . Knowing these details in advance means adding the right must-haves to your packing list. If you’re traveling with kiddos, this can be a fun activity to work on with them in the lead-up to your trip while instilling helpful packing and travel tips for them, too!

Bring the Right Travel Bags

Once you have sorted your packing list, it’s time to get to packing. Before organizing your bags, double-check the guidelines for checking bags and carry-ons listed on your flight reservation. Especially if you booked your flights through a third-party website rather than directly, there can often be stipulations that will be essential to know before you pack your bags.

Whether you’re checking bags or not, having the right carry-on can make all the difference for your travel day and your flight. Backpacks make great carry-ons since they’ll free up your hands as you navigate the airport, and they don’t take up too much space in the overhead bin (you might even be able to fit them under the seat in front of you, depending on the airline). That said, if you’re trying to avoid checking travel bags, then you might want to opt for a small, carry-on-sized rolling suitcase instead. If you go this route, be sure to double-check the dimensions of the bag and the airline’s website for any specifics, so you won’t end up having to check your carry-on.

If you aim to skip checking your luggage, you’ll also want to double-check that your holiday gifts fit in your carry-on. If they don’t, consider shipping some of your gifts to your destination instead of traveling with them. If you bring them in your carry-on, don’t wrap them in advance. Instead, wait until you arrive to wrap them.

Head to the Airport Extra Early

If you remember Home Alone, you’ll also remember that one of their biggest mistakes was sleeping through their alarms – hence that airport sprint that's burned into all our minds. So, first and foremost, be sure you set multiple alarms, and ask everyone in your household to set alarms, too (if you have a morning flight, that is!). Make sure your cell phones are also charged so your alarms will go off and be ready to use while you’re getting to the airport and navigating the airport.

While it’s always good to get to the airport with enough time before your flight, this is especially true during peak holiday travel times. Head to the airport even earlier than you normally would since it’s better to have time to kill at the airport than to stress when you see that inevitably long security line.

By following these holiday travel tips, you’ll be set up for a smooth experience both at the airport and once you arrive at your destination. Leave the chaotic airport scenes for the movies where they belong! And have a great flight!


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