Travel early, or late from How to Handle the Christmas Travel Rush Like a Champ Slideshow
How to Handle the Christmas Travel Rush Like a Champ Slideshow
Travel early, or late
If you can travel very early or fairly late on Christmas Eve or any time on Christmas Day, it will be cheaper and much less crowded. You won’t have to trip over fellow travelers at the airport, which can crank up the stress levels. Talk your family into delaying the festivities until you get there by promising to make them a great meal or take them to a movie.
Checking it out
Find out before you head to the airport if you can check bags for free. Southwest allows two free checked bags, for instance, but other airlines charge for checking. Be aware of weight restrictions and weigh your luggage before you get to the check-in counter and get a nasty surprise. You can buy a luggage scale for about $10.
Get there faster
Why don’t you have TSA PreCheck yet? Get it. You fill out a form online and make an appointment to have your fingerprints scanned and to make your payment. It costs $85 and it’s good for five years. It’s absolutely worth it if standing in long lines makes your blood pressure spike. After you are approved, you get a traveler ID number that you plug in when you book your flight. Use the PreCheck line at the airport and when you get to the X-ray area, don’t remove your shoes or belt. Laptops and small liquids can stay in your bag. Don’t wear lots of jewelry; you don’t want the hassle of removing it if the metal detector goes off. Breeze to your gate.
There's an app for that
Bring your laptop, cellphone or iPad and don’t forget the charging cord. If your flight is canceled or delayed and you need to book a new flight, don’t head to the counter with all the other frustrated passengers. Many airlines have rebooking features on their apps in case of “irregular” operations. You also can look for a new flight on the airline’s website, if need be.
Legroom is yours
If you got a less-than-ideal boarding number on Southwest, take a middle bulkhead seat up front that no one wants. Put your small bag and coat in the overhead bins right above you. You can squeeze them in with a little effort. You’ll be among the first passengers off the plane and you’ll have more legroom. Other airlines will give you a seat with more legroom for a small fee. If you are tall and you have a long flight ahead of you, this can help ensure you will arrive at your destination in a good mood.