PHOTO: Before you get on this for the holidays, check out these travel tips.
It’s that time of year again.
The leaves are turning, there’s a nip in the air and before long, the holidays will be upon us. For those with a less than rosy outlook, it also means time to back your bags, grit your teeth and endure the long slog home through countless security lines and airport terminals filled with temperamental travelers.
And because holiday travel brings with it its own set of challenges, it’s also time to make like a Boy Scout and be prepared before booking your Delta Vacations trip.
Following these tried and true tips can mean the difference between a miserable flight delay and the opportunity to enjoy some of the country’s best travel lounges and maybe even work in a massage or two–because spending holidays with your Great Aunt Mildred can be stressful enough without the added stress of travel delays.
Pre-check, people. Pre-check. If you haven’t already, sign up for TSA’s Pre-check. Run, don’t walk. Do not pass go until you have. It won’t spare you the aggravation that comes when your flight is delayed, but you will be able to zip through security with your shoes on, your laptop still in its case and your sanity intact.
Check and double check. Before you leave for the airport, check to see that your flight is on time. Make it easy on yourself and sign up to receive travel alerts from your airline, notifying you of flight status and changes to gates or flight times.
Plug in, and tune out. Create your own private oasis. Treat yourself to some great headphones, download your favorite tunes, movies and audio books and look at your travel time as some “me” time well spent. If nothing else, this song has been scientifically proven to reduce stress by a whopping 65 percent. Travel delays? Bring ‘em on.
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Pack your A game. When it comes to holiday travel, it’s best to pack as light as possible and wear the bulkiest items on your flight. If you can get it all in a carry-on, all the better. If you’re traveling over the December holidays, a single carry-on bag might not be feasible. In that event, be sure to pack your essentials (medications, mini contact solution bottle, chargers and cords, etc.) in a carry-on lest your bags be lost or your flight delayed. And gifts? Leave then unwrapped in case TSA wants to take a peek or consider shipping them ahead.
Get the 3-1-1. The 3-1-1 rule for liquids still holds. Three ounces. One 1-quart bag. The rest goes in your checked baggage.
Time is on your side. Take a page from Mick Jagger, and allow plenty of time to get to airport, plenty of time to check your bags and plenty of time for security. Some savvy travelers allow for additional 90 minutes.
App it to me. There are some great travel apps out there that will give you the location of every eatery, bar, shopping venue and traveler lounge in the airport. Good to know. Even better, some airline apps have a rebooking feature in the event of flight delays and cancellation.
Fly direct. Direct flights, especially those early in the morning are best. Direct because you don’t risk missing or having your connection canceled. Earlier because in the event either of the former two things happen, you still have the chance of getting on a later flight.
Don’t book direct. Flying direct minimizes the odds of something going wrong, but in the event it does, you’ll be glad you booked with a travel agent. That way you can be enjoying the splendors of a shoulder massage or manicure in Terminal A, while they do the leg work to get you re-routed and home in time for turkey dinner.
Follow the Golden Rule. Be kind. Be generous. Be the person your mother raised you to be. Remember that everyone else is struggling to get home as well, and in the event of delays, airport employees are also under fire.