It has always struck me as "crazy" when I see the insane TSA security lines and hear stories about the airport traffic and lack of parking around the busiest flying time of the year, but I also realize that some people have no choice but to brave the elements to make it home for the Holidays. If you do have to travel during the "season of crazies", here are some tips to help you retain a little bit of your sanity:
1. Plan Ahead and Do Your Research! Make your reservations well in advance and pick your flights carefully...if you have to connect, try to pick a connecting airport where the weather might cooperate a little better...in December, ALWAYS choose a connection in Dallas or Atlanta over Chicago or Minneapolis! It's just smart! Be sure to make your seat assignments at the same time you buy your ticket if the airline's policy allows. And, this is a time when spending a little bit extra to have pre-assigned seating is worth the investment.
2. Pack Light, Pack Light, Pack Light! You guys already know how I feel about packing light, but over the holidays it becomes even more important. The less you have to worry about shlepping through the crowded airports, the better. Plus, you can save huge amounts of time, money and stress by fitting your things into an easy-to-maneuver carry-on bag. If you do check luggage, be sure to keep the essentials like medications and important documents with you - just in case!
3. Don't get "Hangry" When your tummy is growling, your mind can't think straight, and you could unknowingly get in the wrong line, take a wrong turn, or annoy an innocent flight attendant! Pack some healthy snacks so you and your family will not have to rely on the kindness of strangers if you end up sitting on the tarmac for hours. You will thank me later!
4. Ship gifts ahead or give gift cards this year TSA suggests to always ship wrapped gifts to your destination, or wait until you reach your destination to wrap them. They will have to unwrap and inspect any gift that they can't identify in your carry-on luggage. Plus, you don't want to have to struggle with a heavy suitcase full of gifts through the airport if you are forced to run to make a tight connection.
5. Plan ahead and leave plenty of extra time Leave home for the airport at least an extra hour ahead of time to allow for traffic, parking, check-in and security delays. And, when booking your flights, try to avoid any super tight connections. If you only have 45 minutes between flights in the Atlanta airport, you could be in big trouble if your first flight is delayed a little. It's much less stressful to find a nice bar or coffee shop in the airport to kill some extra time.
6. Inhale and Exhale! The chatty neighbor on the airplane who takes up your armrest, the cancelled and delayed flights and the luggage that disappeared between airports will all make for great stories over dinner when you finally make it to your destination and are surrounded by your loved ones. Just breathe, keep your sense of humor and try to let the frustration go....
Holiday travel is just as much of a tradition to many as pumpkin pie, ugly Christmas sweaters and re-gifting...so use these tips to avoid your own Frosty the Snowman sized meltdown! Deep breaths and Happy Holidays to everyone!
Consider the Gift of Travel
Most people don’t remember the gifts they received last year. How about giving them something that comes with lifelong memories?
Have you thought about giving the gift of travel this Christmas? There is no gift like it! The whole family gets to enjoy the trip together, and they return with amazing memories. Can you imagine the surprise on their faces when they open your package? Instead of a present from Amazon, they receive a cruise or an island getaway.
How do you deliver travel? Gift certificates are a great option. Your loved one can use this towards a destination of their choice, which is especially helpful if you aren’t sure where they would like to go. Your travel agent will be able to provide gift certificates for future travel.
My favorite option is a travel package to an exciting destination. Wrap the gift with subtle clues using tags and stickers that hint about their trip. A friend of mine did this for a trip to Disney World. Her kids were ecstatic, and they still say it was the best Christmas present ever. Find creative ways to surprise them with a journey they’ll love.
Let’s start looking at some vacation gift ideas. For someone who’s a beach lover, you can’t go wrong with Turks and Caicos. With its powdery white sands, superb diving, and its turquoise blue water, it has some of the world’s best beaches. The islands are just a short 90-minute flight from Miami. It boasts world-class resorts and restaurants, which makes it a favorite celebrity rendezvous. The temperature is typically in the 80’s, so it is a great year-round destination.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.