To help you minimize airport holdups and navigate the the flocks of people, check out these three tips that might make your trip a bit more pleasant.
1. Don't Check Bags
Roy Ramsey, director of operations of Betty Maclean Travel, spoke with Inc. about how best to navigate the airport during this time of year. His number one tip? Don’t check luggage.
According to Ramsey, checking luggage is bad for two reasons--the first is that most airlines will charge you even for just one bag. Ramsey added, "Second, you're delayed leaving the airport [because you have to wait for your bag at baggage claim], and it can get really busy with a lot of other bags, and that delay can be quite long."
If you plan on being away for a while and the thought of cramming all your stuff into one bag seems impossible, turn to a couple classic packing tips. Another Inc. article highlighted how rolling your clothes instead of folding them can save space in your suitcase. If that fails, air-compression bags are another at option, it added.
If neither work and you have to your check bags, do it ahead of time online to cut down on long lines when you are at the airport.
Another tip: Don’t try to bring wrapped presents through security. You may have to unwrap them. Ramsey suggested shipping your presents before you leave to save both time and money.
2. Get organized
Organization at the airport is always key but around the holidays it is essential to your sanity--especially if you are traveling with family.
David Ourisman, an independent travel consultant from San Francisco stressed this in an interview with Inc."When you get to the security line, be organized," says Ourisman. "Wristwatch, wallet, cell phone--stick it in your carry-on. Put any toiletries into a bag next to your laptop so you're not bumbling for stuff."
He added that it is important to be aware of all the new policies and regulations before you get to the airport so your packing reflects that. This will be even more pertinent during the holidays when the body count is up and the security is increased.
An Inc. article quoted The SmarterTravel blog: "Give up squeezing your favorite face wash into tiny tubes. Buying travel-size items of your favorite products -- and laundry detergent -- and keeping them at the ready in a Ziploc under your sink might seem indulgent, but it will save time, product, frustration, and your skin. 3Fl.Oz. is our favorite source for these."
But, if possible--ditch liquids all together. If you are staying at a hotel, keep in mind that it should have everything you need. Staying with family? Hey, it’s the holidays--maybe they will share.
3. Plan for the unexpected
With unpredictable weather around the holidays you never know what can happen to your plans--so be prepared. Be sure to research your options ahead of time so you have a Plan B in place. Leave plenty of time on either end of your travel plans, just in case you do need to switch your plans.
In an Inc. article, Joel Spolsky stressed how important it is to make sure there is another non-stop flight later in the day that will get you where you need to be on time. Look at train schedules and rental car options as well, just in case your flight gets grounded.
If your travel plans are with family, be sure to think ahead and bring along some crisis management tools such as snacks, bandaids and some extra distractions for any children in your party.