10 Tips for Stress-Free Holiday Travel

With the holiday season right around the corner, now is the time to start planning for any upcoming trips. With extra cars on the road and flights being booked, travel becomes hectic in November and December. But don’t worry, there are several steps you can take to make traveling during the holidays much easier.

Here are 10 tips for stress-free, winter-time travel:

  1. Talk to your AAA travel consultant at the beginning of the planning process—this can save you time, stress and money.
  2. Don’t travel on peak holiday travel days; they’re likely to have delays or cancellations. Try to avoid traveling the day before and the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
  3. Leave lots of extra time. You should depart much earlier in the day than you typically would, whether you are driving or flying. It’s better to be early than stuck in traffic or standing in a long security line. Relax or listen to music while you wait for your flight.
  4. Rethink the airport experience. An airport is no longer just a transit hub to be rushed through. Many terminals have been transformed into unique malls with art exhibits, shops, restaurants and sometimes even spas.
  5. Pre-book your parking spot. Airport parking often fills up during the holiday. During peak times you should call to pre-book your spot, or download the company’s app on your phone to reserve a space.
  6. Avoid airline ticket counters. Rather than waiting in line, print your boarding passes at home or pull them up on your smartphone. Bonus tip* use the skycaps at curbside for added convenience.
  7. Pack light for air travel. If possible, try to only take a carry-on bag. This will save you time at both ends of the trip. Plus if your flight is cancelled, you already have your luggage.
  8. Bring distractions. If traveling with children, bring snacks, games, books and/or magazines.
  9. Use your phone to your advantage. Sign up with your airline to receive flight status updates on your phone.
  10. Ship the gifts. Last but not least, think twice about hauling holiday gifts when traveling by air. Shop online and have them shipped to your destination. If you do take gifts along, make sure they’re small and packable.

And of course, once plans are finalized, contact your AAA travel consultant as soon as possible to arrange your airline flights and car rentals—flights tend to go up in price the closer you get to any holiday. Call your local AAA store or visit AAA.com/Locations to book a travel appointment.