It's important to be with your loved ones during the holidays. Many people also take advantage of the break to take vacations. However, traveling during the holiday season can be like hell on earth – but these 9 tips for holiday travel can definitely make it better!
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Naturally, the earliest you can book your travel plans, the better. You can lock in excellent rates, for one thing, plus you make sure you get the flights and hotel rooms you need. If you wait until the last minute, you're way more likely to discover that you're SOL and will have to recreate scenes from Planes, Trains, and Automobiles without John Candy to lighten the mood.
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If you aren't going far, have a lot of time off, or just really want to save money, there are a couple of inexpensive alternatives to flying. You can always drive, but traffic can be a killer if you go that route. If that's not worth it to you, think about taking the train. Speaking from experience, riding the train is fast, there are hardly any layovers, and almost nothing stops an Amtrak train once it's on its way.
Try not to travel during the most peak dates. With Christmas, three days earlier is better than two. If you are going home after New Year's, try to stretch it out. Go home on January 3 or 4 instead of the day after.
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There are so many travel sites on the Internet now that comparison shopping for the best deals is easy. If you use sites like Priceline, Travelocity, and others like them, make sure you check out every one of them, and don't forget that some airlines offer their own deals on their individual web sites. In the case of booking or bidding sites, however, always remember to read the fine print.
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If you are flying out of a new airport, try to visit the place ahead of time, so you know where it is you have to go. Failing that, get there even earlier so that you can map out where you need to be and how you can get there fast. If you are flying into an airport you're not used to, try to have someone who is familiar with it to meet you, so you don't get lost.
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Whether you're flying, taking the train, or bravely booking it on a bus, you will probably have connections to make. Make them very, very carefully. Your first instinct is to get to your destination fast, but it is vital to be sure you have plenty of time for all of your connections first. Always consider layovers, weather delays, and things like that.
It costs a lot to fly these days. I'm not even talking about the tickets, I'm talking about all the baggage fees. It pays to just pack a carry-on bag. Speaking as someone who always over-packs, that can be incredibly hard. Still, it pays to do it – and make sure you know airport policy on things like shampoo and perfume. Don't even get me started on those rules, either.
No matter what means of transportation you are taking, get there early. I mean, even earlier than the airport tells you. They tell you to get there, what, 12 hours early now? Get there 14 hours early instead. (I'm exaggerating. But just a little.) During the jam packed holiday season, airports and train stations are extra busy; you'll be glad for the additional time.
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If you are delivering presents, don't bring them with you. Instead, think about shipping them to your destination ahead of time. You won't have to make room for them in the car, and won't have to risk losing them when they're loaded on and off your planes.
Plus remember: once you are at your destination, all that travel hell will be well worth it. What are you guys doing for the holidays? Will you be doing a lot of traveling?
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