Holiday Travel Tips Every Smart Traveler Should Know
Many Americans think about Smart Traveler during the holiday season. After all, we deserve it! The holidays can be a difficult time of year to travel, especially when you consider the logistical aspects of the covid pandemic. We’ve put together some tips to help you navigate this holiday season.
We have the best sanity-savers for holiday travel.
You’re planning to travel this holiday season. You are not the only one. Chris Davidson, a travel researcher at MMGY Global, stated that 53 percent of Americans are planning to travel within the next three months. According to Hopper, two million people will travel each day during the Christmas period. This is twice the level of 2020. It’s worthwhile to celebrate Christmas. However, you will need holiday travel tips to ensure that your trip is as stress-free and enjoyable as possible.
Traveling can be difficult, especially if you don’t have a lot of people to help you, especially in these times. Carol Mueller, vice-president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, says that if the past 18 months have taught us anything about travel, it is the importance of being prepared. The pandemic has added to the unpredictable nature of travel disruptions.
We asked top travel professionals to share their top Christmas travel tips to help you enjoy your holiday at your destination, not stuck at the security check or trying to find lunch at a highway rest stop. Here’s everything you need to know about booking a flight, driving to your destination and packing presents. This year, COVID guidelines will also be discussed. We are confident that you won’t be without this information. Are you looking for Christmas activities near you? These tips can also be useful when driving to the best Christmas light displays near you.
Fly the earliest flight possible
Molly Fergus is the general manager at TripSavvy. She says holidays can be a difficult time to fly. One cancellation can cause chaos on multiple flights, especially in winter weather. Bad weather at busy airports like JFK and O’Hare can cause widespread disruptions throughout the country, affecting millions. Fergus suggests that the best holiday travel tip is to book your first flight of the day. This will protect you from cancellations or delays.
Get in early
The holiday and winter travel seasons are poised for record-setting numbers. Experts recommend that travelers start planning as soon as possible, since hotel and flight prices are on the rise. Hopper, a travel booking website, recommends that you book Thanksgiving and Christmas travel before Halloween. After that date airfare is likely to rise by 40%.
Select the right date to get the best deal Smart Traveler
It is also important to choose the right holiday travel day. Hopper says Monday, November 22, is the best day to fly Thanksgiving. The magic date to get the best Christmas travel deals is Tuesday, November 22.
What is the worst time of year to Smart Traveler on holiday? According to Priceline, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving is the busiest day to travel, which is Wednesday, November 24, You can also add the Wednesday before Christmas (December 22) and the Tuesday between Christmas Eve and New Year’s (December 28). You can save a lot of time and money by leaving a few days early and staying a little later. Consider flying on the holiday, which is a time when prices and air traffic are less. You can compensate for the cost of traveling by celebrating Christmas Eve with special traditions.
Consider alternate airports
Flying to and from airports that are less crowded is a great way to avoid the crowds and reduce stress during holidays. For example, in Southern Florida, Miami flights may be full. However, less than an hour away are Ft. Lauderdale or West Palm Beach airports which offer flights all over the country. They may also have more seating and lower prices than the larger hub. These are the most reliable American airports.
Check out the weather
Winter holidays can cause delays. You might experience rain, snow, or ice. You should always check the weather forecasts before you leave for your trip so that you can adjust as necessary. Airlines often offer flexible travel policies that allow travelers to postpone or change their plans for free in the event of severe weather. Although you might be allowed to change your destination, you will likely have to pay an additional fee.
Even if it’s fine outside, be aware of your destination and keep your eyes open for weather conditions. Remember that if a weather event occurs at one of the busiest airports in the country, the ripple effects can reach all parts of the country. Follow these safety tips if you are driving during winter.
Always have a backup plan Smart Traveler
Make sure you have a backup plan in case of an emergency. Jacqueline Hampton is the CEO of Portico, a travel planning website. “This way, if anything happens, you have an outline and are prepared for it.” You can also use your backup plan to make a fun getaway in January/February if your dream trip does not happen.
Alexa LaBaw of Marchay Travel, a private luxury travel agent, says that it is important to have a plan B and a plan C. It’s always a good idea to consult resources such as the CDC and government/tourism boards websites. Working with your advisor to discuss alternative options is also a good idea. LaBaw says that travel is different these days. A trusted advisor can help you plan your trip and reduce stress in the event that something has to be cancelled or rescheduled.
Security at airports: Ace
The TSA will flag you at any time. Applying for TSA PreCheck can help you save time and avoid security-line headaches. TSA PreCheck will allow you to skip long lines at security, as well as allowing you to keep your shoes, jackets and belts on. You are covered for five years and your children 12 and under can enter the Fast Pass line along with you.
You don’t have the time or patience to sign up for PreCheck. To avoid security delays, be sure to familiarize yourself with the TSA rules. All liquids must weigh less than 3.4 ounces. They must fit in one 1-quart bag (the 3-2-1-1 rule). Are you curious about whether baby food and pie are allowed to fly? The TSA’s What Can I Take page has more information.
Wrap gifts before you fly Smart Traveler
Are you traveling with Christmas gifts? Christina Pedroni, Liberty Travel’s travel specialist, suggests that you don’t wrap your Christmas gifts, no matter if they’re in your checked luggage or carry-on baggage. If the TSA determines that they must inspect your items they will need to unwrap them. Pedroni says that if you are planning to gift wine bottles as gifts, they must be packed in checked baggage. They will exceed the liquid limit for carry-on bags, and may refuse to allow you through security.
Use the hotel concierge
Jeffrey Morgan, who has been in the hospitality industry for over 30 years, is now chief concierge at Conrad Washington DC. He says that a good concierge will always be up to date on what’s happening in the area, new restaurants and the newest museum exhibitions. They may be able to recommend better restaurants or have access to better dining times. They can make your family’s vacation unforgettable.
Hampton recommends that you use the concierge service at your hotel to get assistance with COVID protocols. She says, “They will know where you can get tested or call the pharmacy if your are traveling internationally.”
Before you leave town, make sure to research COVID requirements
Each state handles COVID precautions in a different way. Fergus says that in some cities, such as New York City you will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative result from a test within the past 72 hours before you can dine indoors. You will need to check the app list for your destination country before you leave. There may be additional requirements depending on where you live and what state you are in. These are some other items that you should have on your COVID list for holiday travels.
Hampton suggests taking a photo of your vaccination card and placing it in a Ziploc bag. To check in at an airport, you will need your actual card. However, most restaurants will accept a photo of it as proof. You can also download an approved COVID vaccination app, which keeps track of your status.
If possible, bring a home test. Hampton says that a home test can be very useful for peace of mind, especially since we are moving into the cold season. My partner got a cold while I was traveling recently. We wanted to make sure that it wasn’t a cold since we were visiting his parents who are aging. It is a good idea to order it before you travel and keep a few on hand in the winter.
Make sure you have hand sanitizer and masks with you when traveling. Don’t be afraid to go to these places if you are susceptible to contracting coronavirus.
Byron Thomas, the founder of Niarra Travel advises that you pack light and only bring your carry-ons. You don’t need to bring everything, even for longer trips, because most hotels and accommodations offer laundry service. It’s easier to get through airport security without having to check luggage. Also, it’s less stressful not to have to worry about keeping track of all your bags. He says that it is better to travel light and with only carry-ons. “Cargo and baggage add to the aircraft’s weight, which increases carbon emissions.”
Our experts agree that it is important to bring food on holiday, regardless of whether you are driving or flying. Fergus says that some airports and highway rest stops are still at reduced capacity. So pack your snacks and other essentials for your flight. She suggests that you also bring a water bottle, but remember to empty it before entering security.
Hampton always has a snack of protein (e.g. power bars or nuts) and a snack to help her feel energized (e.g. dark chocolate). She says that this will make it easier to be prepared in case of unexpected delays or long travels. You can also pick up a salad from Farmer’s Fridge. The salads are packaged and ready to go.
Megan Moncrief is chief marketing officer of Squaremouth, a travel insurance company. “The COVID-19 epidemic impacted almost every traveler on this planet and for that reason we expect the demand to continue to be high for insurance coverage,” she says. Close to 40% of our holiday travelers specifically requested coverage for COVID-19, which is the highest percentage since the outbreak of the pandemic.
Travel insurance policies do not apply to being quarantined or contracting COVID-19 before or during your trip. If a traveler is in quarantine at their destination and cannot return to home on time, then travel-delay coverage may be available. A standard cancellation policy does not cover things like missed flights due to long security lines, delays in getting your passport, a negative COVID testing not being done on time, and travel cancellations due to general health issues or vaccine requirements. This means that a traveler will not be reimbursed for cancellations due to COVID-related reasons.
You should also get insurance if your holiday trip involves driving.
Berkshire Hathaway’s Mueller says that even if you are only able to travel within driving distance, traveling insurance can be a smart choice. A comprehensive plan can provide protection for non-refundable deposits at hotels, resorts, and rental properties if you have to cancel due to a covered cause. The ExactCare Lite plan by Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection is specifically designed for road-tripping vacationers. It includes valuable coverages like $500 in trip cancellation and $750 in trip interruption. You also have medical-expense or medical-evacuation protection to pay for expenses incurred while traveling outside your network.
Pre-book your airport taxi
TripSavvy’s Fergus says that “in many places, availability of rideshare services such as Uber and Lyft is reduced or have very lengthy wait times.” You can use an app’s “book-in-advance” feature to arrange your pick-up at your destination and return trip from the airport. Fergus says, “You will have a (mostly guaranteed) ride that you can always cancel should your travel plans change.”
Get travel apps
You should also download rideshare apps before you go to the airport. These apps will allow you to follow flight schedules and provide quick booking assistance. You can also download a booking app for hotels, a rental car company option and a GPS option. Add YELP to your list for more restaurant options, and a weather feature. You can also use the right apps to plan your road trip, from booking last-minute hotel reservations to finding the best restaurants on your route to finding gas stations. These apps will transform your phone into a virtual travel agent when you need it most.