Survival Tips for Holiday Travel

AAA Mid States

Let’s face it, at least for some, travel can create anxiety at virtually any time of the year. However, with increased roadway and airline traffic, the possibility of inclement weather and the probability of associated delays, many consider holiday-season excursions to be the most stressful of all.

But they don’t have to be. In fact, a little advance planning can go a long way in soothing the concerns of even the most worrisome traveler.

AAA offers the following tips for Happy Holiday Travel.

When flying…

  • Book flights as early as possible to have access to lower rates and flexible schedules. Those waiting until the “last minute” in hopes of finding a “sale” or “deal” are more likely to pay a much higher price than if they had purchased their tickets a few months in advance.
  • Avoid peak travel dates. The day before Thanksgiving and the two days prior to and after Christmas are extremely busy. Consider flying on the actual holiday itself; a time in which airline traffic should be minimal.
  • Arrive at the airport earlier than you typically would to allow extra time for parking, security clearance, etc.
  • Check-in as soon as you possibly can to minimize the chances of being bumped off an overbooked flight.
  • If you plan to bring gifts with you, consider shipping them, and even non-essential items for yourself, ahead of your departure date. You’ll cut down on luggage-related headaches at the airport and will have significantly less to carry around. Plus, shipped items can be insured and tracked so you’ll know exactly where they’re at and when they’re expected to arrive. If you must fly with a gift, keep it unwrapped in order to expedite security screening procedures.

When driving…

  • Have your oil changed, check tire pressure, inspect belts and hoses and make sure your vehicle battery is strong, prior to departure. Preventative maintenance practices can go a long way in minimizing the possibility of a roadside breakdown.
  • Utilize trip-planning and mapping services available at your nearest AAA Travel office where specially-trained agents can help with hotel bookings, car rentals, and the avoidance of construction-affiliated roadway delays.
  • Allow additional time for your commute. With increased traffic, chances are pretty good it will take you longer than it typically would get to your point of destination.
  • Keep gifts and items of value in your vehicle’s trunk. If they won’t fit and must be stored inside the vehicle, make sure they’re covered and not easily visible.
  • Have your AAA membership card handy in case an unexpected breakdown occurs.
  • Stock up on non-perishable snacks and drinks. Granola bars, beef jerky, dried nuts and fruit, and other protein-rich items can prevent the need/desire to spend money on vending machines while at rest stops.
  • Take a break every two hours in order to prevent drowsy driving and to allow passengers to stretch their legs.

Haven’t booked your holiday travel yet? Contact your AAA Travel Agent at 1-800-222-1469 or go to