Traveling during Christmas and New Year’s this year isn’t going to be especially easy, as they both fall of weekends, making the holiday an extended one.  Airports are going to be especially crowded, so I’ve put together five quick tips that should help make the experience a bit more bearable this season.

  1.  Pack lightly.  If you can, try and get it all in a carry-on.  That will save you time at your destination.  For those in doubt about what liquids you can carry-on, the TSA says: One quart-sized, clear, plastic, zip-top bag; one bag per passenger may be placed in screening bin.   If you check your luggage, place a brightly colored luggage tag on it – something unique – for easy identification.
  2. Travel early in the morning or in the late evening; try traveling on the actual holiday.  The major airports report that they are less crowded during these times. 
  3. Check in online.  By doing so you can print out your boarding pass making check in a little faster.
  4. Know your airport.  Plan where you are going to park ahead of time.  If you are going to need parking shuttles, park as close to a pick-up location as possible. Find out what terminal your airline is in ahead of time as well.   Most major airports and airlines also have Facebook and Twitter accounts that tweet flight delays and airport information.  Sign up and get up to the minute alerts sent directly to your phone. 
  5. Arrive early.  Each airport is going to be more crowded than usual.  With tighter than ever security measures in place, the TSA is recommending that you give yourself at least an hour to get through security during peak travel times.  LAX is saying the same, with an estimated 3 million passengers expected to fly in the next ten days.  So including check in, give yourself at least 1 ½ hours to get through.

Smile and grin and bear it.  When you arrive at your destination, it will be all worth it!

-Jana Gersten

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