Now that it’s November, the holiday season is quickly approaching. This means that the roads, rail, and air will be heavily crowded with travelers. While you can’t predict every snowstorm that might cause a snag in your travel plans, there’s a lot you can do to improve the holiday travel experience. Here are both new and time-tested tips for head-ache free travel from mid-November through January 2nd:
1. Avoid Traveling on Peak Days
It doesn’t matter if you’re in Atlanta or LA, peak travel days are the worst days to travel! Traveling for Thanksgiving or Christmas? You’ll want to avoid traveling on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the Sunday afterward. For Christmas, avoid traveling on the Tuesday before and the Saturday and Sunday after. If you’re shopping out flights, play with the days to see which travel days are more affordable.
2. Don’t Rush It
The day you leave, give yourself lots of extra time so you don’t have to rush last minute. Leave your house earlier than you would if it wasn’t the holiday season. If you run into traffic congestion, crowds, or long lines, you can be relaxed. You won’t panic that your plans for later in the day will be ruined.
3. Plan to Spend More Time at the Airport
And we’re not talking about in lines! The airports of today are very different than they were 20 years ago. Many modern airports have restaurants, bars, shops, spas and more. Instead of arriving one hour before your flight departs, arrive three hours earlier so it can be a more pleasant experience. Maybe you can read a good book over a cup of Starbucks coffee, savor a glass of wine, or enjoy a nice meal while you calmly wait for your flight.
4. Pack Light When Traveling
Pack light by only bringing one carry-on bag, even if it means you have to leave a couple outfits at home. When you make the small sacrifice, it could be a big timesaver if your flight ends up being canceled. It makes it easier to score another seat if your flight is canceled and you don’t have to worry about not having your luggage if the airline has to put up in a hotel.
5. Have a Plan B
When you’re driving, you never know when you’re going to run into freeway construction, a snowstorm, heavy traffic, or a car accident. Since you can’t predict travel hiccups, be like a Boy Scout and make sure you’re prepared for anything. When you’re going on a road trip, make sure you know of alternative routes so you can adjust your plans if you run into heavy traffic. If you’re taking a plane, be aware of connecting cities and alternative flights in case the airline delays or cancels your flight.
6. Be Prepared
You may have a full meal before you leave, but hours later, you may be starving and nowhere near a restaurant or grocery store. Prepare for the long trip by bringing snacks, water, books, magazines, a laptop, etc. to help you pass the time in case you’re stuck at an airport or sitting in traffic for long periods of time. This is especially important if you’re going on a road trip with kids!
7. Avoid Fatigued Driving!
Fatigued driving can be just as dangerous as drunk driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), “Drowsy driving kills – it claimed 795 lives in 2017,” so be sure to avoid driving while fatigued. To avoid drowsy driving, follow these tips:
- Get a full night’s rest before you hit the road.
- Do not drive late at night. Instead, get a hotel and restart in the morning after you’ve had plenty of sleep.
- If you are tired, drink two cups of coffee, pull over and take a short 20 or 30-minute nap in a well-lit, safe place.
We hope you found this advice useful. At Jones & Swanson, we want to wish you a safe and happy holiday season. If you find yourself needing to file a personal injury claim, contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation.