School is back in session and as summer comes to an end we’re becoming more and more aware of the winter holidays edging nearer by the minute. It should be a time to reflect on what’s important in life and enjoy it with family and friends – at least that’s what we see on television…
Unfortunately, for most of us the holidays have turned into one of the most stressful times of the year. We spend weeks cleaning the house and preparing for the arrival of family and friends. Most of us have to travel far or have relatives traveling to us to spend the days together. How many of us dread traveling over the holidays???
We know it will be crowded, it will be noisy, there will be delays along the way, the kids will be tired and cranky and we will eventually give in to the chaos, lose our heads and arrive at our destination completely exhausted.
With all this in mind, we can make this hectic and even painful travel time more enjoyable if we all follow a few rules.
- Plan Ahead
Remember, the early bird catches the worm… or however this saying goes. Call your relatives and create a game plan. Buy your airline tickets as soon as possible. If you plan ahead, you can schedule extra vacation/sick days for this time of year and travel 2-3 days before and return 3-4 days after the holiday.
2. Layover time in airports
For most of us a non-stop flight to our destination is wishful thinking. In most cases we have to deal with stop overs and plane changes. Over the holidays our airports will be more crowded. Winter weather can have a huge impact.You might want to double the required layover time, just in case.
3. Don’t book yourself on the last flight of the day
Always give yourself a fall back option. If you’re the last flight of the day, there aren’t many alternatives to spending the night in the airport.
4. Book the entire family on one reservation
Overbooked flights are nothing unusual over the holidays. Being booked on one reservation, rather than multiple, reduces the risk of being bumped to the next flight or being split up onto multiple flights.
5. Is it worth paying for my seats?
Absolutely! Get a seat and the likelihood of you actually flying on your desired flight is much higher.
6. What about your ground transportation?
Reserve your rental car, transfer, train ticket etc as soon as your flights are confirmed. Even though it seems unlikely, the airport can in fact run out of vehicles. Trains and buses can only be filled to a certain capacity and have you ever tried to hail a cab on Christmas Eve?
7. If you like your personal space, book your hotel now!
Do not expect to show up anywhere on a holiday and find a room. Same goes for dinner reservations if nobody wants to cook this year.
8. Let’s do something different this year!
Spontaneity is great! But not over the holidays. If you want to take the family away for the holidays and celebrate on a cruise, at a resort or on an island you better start panning 11 month out. Unless you own said island of course…
9. Not sure where to take the family?
Your travel consultant can help. We take care of the entire organization of the trip and make sure all details are taken care of. Contact one, it’s worth it.
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10. Purchase travel insurance!
While travel insurance can’t patch the traditional family holiday dispute, they can take care of most other problems you could encounter along the way. Click here to find out “Why to purchase travel insurance”
11. Be courteous to your fellow travelers and especially to the personal working over the holiday.
Smile, wave, take a step back and remember the joyous reasons why you travel in the first place. Someone feels the urge to skip a spot in line – just wish them happy holidays. They’re obviously so excited, they can’t wait to get where they are going.
Employees working that day won’t get to spend time with their family. Make a point of saying THANK YOU, be patient and wish them a HAPPY HOLIDAY. Maybe bring some chocolates or flowers as gifts for your flight crew.
Wishing you all safe travels and a very Happy Holidays!