Q: We’re traveling for Thanksgiving and I’m starting to get nervous about crowds and delays. Help!
A: Dont’ despair, help is here! I used to give tips about holiday travel professionally (no, really, for both Fodor’s and Travelocity on TV, radio, and newspapers), and I’ve got you covered.
First, if you’re flying, do this:
- Download the app and social media handles for your carrier now. Use them to check on the status of your flight BEFORE you leave for the airport. If your flight is delayed or canceled, you can do as much, or more, from home to reschedule as you can at the airport (and from the comfort of your couch).
- Get the 800# for your carrier and keep it handy — if you’re at the airport and need to adjust flights due to delays, you may get better results calling then standing in the customer service line with dozens of other passengers.
- Leave yourself plenty of time to check in and go through security — 2 hours would be my suggestion for Thanksgiving week, but no less than 90 minutes. If you zip through security, then sit down, get a cup of coffee, and toast to your good fortune.
- Follow all the TSA rules. This is not the time to try and bring on extra toiletries or get stuck with extra pat downs because you loaded up on bangles and strands of metal necklaces to accesorize. Remember 3*1*1: One, 1 quart size bag with toiletries no more than 3.4oz. Use the TSA’s handy dandy Can I Bring It tool if you have questions about what’s allowed in carry on and checked baggage.
For tips on dealing with long layovers and flight delays with kids, read our guide here.
Also see our Family Flying Made Easy for tips on how to fly the sometimes-not-so-friendly-skies with kids.
Download traffic GPS apps such as WAZE to ease your ride. Consider a night drive when most folks will be off the road (I used to do this for East Coast corridor rides between New Jersey and Washington, DC, with great luck). And be sure to check out our Essentials for a Stress Free Road Trip guide.
Oh, and don’t forget to pack some patience whichever way you’re getting to your holiday meal.
Have a family travel question?
Email Melissa at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Image via Bulldogggrrl)