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  • Writer's pictureJulie Prusak

Holiday Travel Made Easy: 12 Tips for Stress-Free Air Travel

The holidays are a time for family, friends, and fun. But for most people, holiday travel can also be stressful. There are so many things to worry about - will your flight be on time? Will your luggage make it through security? Will the kids behave on the plane? Relax! We've got you covered with 12 tips for stress-free air travel this holiday season.

Tips for better flight booking:

Tip #1 - Plan your flights with some "buffer time"

If you are departing on a cruise, plan to arrive two nights before the ship sails. If you must be home for Christmas, try to leave a day early or at least as early in the day as possible.

Tip #2 - Book all flights on one itinerary

Ensure that your flights are booked on one itinerary. If you book two itineraries, for example, JFK-CDG RT on Delta and CGD-NCE RT on EasyJet, the airlines cannot assist with rebooking the itinerary.

Tip #3 - A “legal” connection is not necessarily a smart one

Allow at least two hours between domestic connections and three hours for international departures in case of flight delays.

Tip #4 - Book everyone traveling together on one itinerary

Try to book everyone traveling together on one itinerary to facilitate seat assignments. This also helps flight crews identify people who are traveling together. Airlines will try to keep families together for seating and rebooking if possible.

Tips for a better airport experience:

Tip #5 - The holidays are going to be busy

The holidays are going to be busy...busier than ever before. Plan to arrive at the airport long before your flight departs. Check with your airline. Some airlines recommend passengers arrive five to six hours before international flights and three hours before domestic flights. Cut-off times for checked luggage have also increased.

Tip #6 - Print your boarding pass

Do not rely on your airline or travel app. Print your boarding pass and itinerary. You'd be surprised how often phones run out of battery between leaving home and arriving at the gate.

Tip #7 - Keep your documents in order

Ensure that your passports are in order and not within six months of expiration after your return date. Make sure there are enough pages in your passport if visas are required. Check entry requirements directly with the countries you will be visiting. Pack vaccination records and test results as currently required.

Tip #8 - Weigh your luggage at home

Baggage restrictions and fees vary by destination. Pack for your most restrictive flight. Carry-on restrictions will likely be strictly enforced as most flights are fully booked.

Tip #9 - Be kind

Be kind. Airline employees are doing their best to do their jobs. Escalated conversations or rude behavior will not serve you.

Tip #10 - Expect delays

In these days of canceled flights and frequently changing airline schedules, be prepared to be delayed. Pack your patience, some snacks, and fully charged phones.

Tips for handling a flight delay or cancelation:

Tip #11 - Know your rights

If flights are delayed, the operating carrier is responsible for hotel accommodations, food vouchers, etc. Know your rights for compensation based on your destinations. If your flight is delayed or canceled, you will likely be compensated with travel credits. Travel credits are easy to get but hard to redeem. Once they expire, they are worthless. To make sure to get full value for your travel dollar, read the fine print to understand the carrier’s terms and conditions.

Tip #12 - Hire an expert

Consider booking an airport Meet & Greet service for international flights. The ambassador meets the passengers at the jet bridge, fast-tracks them through customs and immigration, collects their luggage, then escorts them to their driver. Costs money but saves time and hassle.

The best tip? Book your holiday travel well in advance with a professional travel advisor so you can relax and enjoy your time with friends and family.

Ready to plan your holiday vacation? Reserve your complimentary consultation call with me to begin!

Let's get started planning your vacation!

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