If you’re like many of the 103 million Americans that AAA reported traveling last year, getting to your final destination can be stressful. But traveling during the holidays doesn’t have to be a chore. Kim Floyd of Boca Raton Travel & Cruises shares her best tips to travel stress-free this holiday season.
1. Travel during early morning or late night hours.
Although catching a flight at noon sounds way more relaxing than catching the early bird at 4 a.m., try to book flights early morning or late at night, especially during the holidays. “You’re going to miss that rush,” Floyd says.
2. Avoid Sunday travel if possible.
Floyd says that Sundays are incredibly busy travel days. “If you’re talking about holiday travel with Christmas and New Year’s, it’s always best to avoid that Sunday, because everybody is going to try to fly home in time to go to work the next day on Monday,” she says. If traveling on a busy day is unavoidable, consider using a smaller, domestic airport. “It’s going to have fewer flights, fewer delays,” Floyd says.
3. “Fast track” the airport experience.
Floyd says there are several easy hacks travelers can use to streamline their experience. First, download the app of the airline you’ll be flying, so that you’ll be alerted of flight delays or gate changes and have digital copies of boarding passes, she says. Passengers should consider TSA Precheck, too.
“The TSA Precheck is valid for five years, so it’s worth it if you feel like you’re going to be traveling at least once a year,” Floyd says. Some airlines also give passengers the opportunity to pay a fee to have a priority lane through security. Without Precheck, she recommends allowing at least three hours to get through security lines during holiday travel season.
Another suggestion Floyd makes to clients is upgrading seats, which makes catching connecting flights easier. “If they’re in economy, upgrading to a seat at the front of the cabin will help expedite that connection,” she says.
4. Prepare gifts ahead of time.
“We now live in the wonderful world of Amazon Prime,” Floyd says. If possible, ship gifts to their final destination rather than taking them with you. If that’s not an option, she says commuters should leave gifts unwrapped or put them in gift bags, to make security inspections simpler.
Floyd says that having a positive attitude and being flexible are really important during holiday travel. Follow these guidelines, and enjoy the journey this holiday season.
Kim Floyd has been in the travel industry for 24 years, starting as a tour operator in 1993. “I was encouraged by my mother and grandmother to travel, and once I dipped my toe in the travel water, I got the travel bug, and it’s been with me ever since,” she says. Floyd has plenty of experience helping clients plan holiday travel; skiing and tropical destinations remain popular vacation spots.