Travel Tips for the Holiday Season
by Jennifer Jordan
Ah, holiday travel. The packed airplanes, the crowded airports, the high ticket prices: there’s nothing quite like traveling in December to make you long for January. From waiting in a long security line to having your luggage filled with the Christmas presents for your new in-laws delivered to Ohio as you land in Oklahoma, traveling over the holidays can be a real pain. Tis’ the season to go crazy.
However, holiday travel doesn’t have to be a nightmare. With a few tips and a little effort, things may go smoother than you thought possible. So, put your tray tables up and heed the following advice on traveling during December.
Be Nice to Airport Employees
As soon as you enter an airport, democratic values fly out the window; here, the airport employees have absolute power. It may be easy to get angry with them – you’re already running late and you don’t have time to wait – but keep in mind that they are doing the best they can: they want you up in the air and out of their hair as much as you do. Being nice and courteous to an airport employee or being rude and unfair could mean the difference between an upgrade and a cavity search.
Fly During Odd Hours
The holidays are the busiest time of the year for airports: everyone has somewhere to go. While there is no way around this fact, there is a way around the majority of the crowds: fly during non peak hours. Flying very early or very late may seen a bit inconvenient, as you could arrive at your destination in the middle of the night, but it will save you so much hustle and bustle that it might just be worth it. The tickets will probably be cheaper too.
Bring a Book or Ten
One of the things that is most stressed at the airport during the holidays is patience: there will definitely be waiting involved. While some people pass this time by tapping their fingers on escalator railings, glancing at their watches, and growing increasingly agitated, one of the best ways to practice patience is with a new book. You’ll still have to wait, but with something to engage you, you just might not mind as much.
Give Security a Break
Security lines at the airport can be frustrating. From taking off your shoes to bagging your liquids, it may seem as though the security lines are walking a fine line between safety and privacy. However, keep in mind that airport security was put in place for one reason alone: to save people’s lives. Saving lives trumps inconvenience, as it well should. So, give the security people a break and help them out by not wearing objects that will trigger the alarm, removing your coats and jackets, turning on your laptops, and wearing shoes that can be easily removed and placed back on.
Bribe Your Children
The only thing worse than traveling over the holidays is traveling with children over the holidays. When it comes to kids, patience is not a virtue. Because of this, children become easily agitated, upset over having to wait in lines or being stuck in an airport with nothing to do. In order to keep your kids happy – and keep them from driving you crazy – keep them entertained. For younger kids, something as simple as a coloring book may suffice, while the older kids may need a handheld video game or an IPOD to keep them appeased. When all else fails, remind your kids that Santa is particularly observant at the airport: itâ€˜s in their best interest to behave.
Ship Your Presents
Many people have an aversion to shipping their holiday presents, afraid that the post office will send the wrong package to the wrong house. But, placing presents in luggage and checking your bags can also cause these gifts to travel to the wrong destination. If the present is small enough that you can carry it on, then do so. But, for presents that are too big to be carried, ship them beforehand. Not only will you not have to make room in your suitcase for a present – asking the contents of your bag to “suck in” as you attempt to zip it shut – but you also won’t have to deal with the gifts at the airport: you’ll have enough to deal with as it is.
Holiday travel is enough to make anyone think that the sky’s the limit when it comes to their temper. But, with a little planning and a little patience holiday travel doesnâ€˜t have to be that stressful. Just relax, think ahead and remember that Santa knows when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, and he knows when you’re flipping off the man behind the registration desk at Delta.